I’ve been working a lot lately; hence the lack of original posts these past couple of weeks. In fact, I may have been working too hard, because apparently I just hallucinated in reading off of ESPN’s crawl the suggestion that Bob Geren is a candidate for the Dodgers’ managerial position.
This is an absurdity. It has to be a mistake, or the aforementioned hallucination caused by too much work. There’s no way in hell that Bob Geren should be allowed anywhere near an MLB manager’s job.
Geren’s managerial career with the Oakland Athletics was the epitome of lack of accomplishment. In 2007 he took over a team that made the ALCS the previous season, a team that had been very successful in the first half of the first decade, and promptly took them nowhere, finishing in four years with a .500 record only once–in 2010 when the A’s were exactly even at 81-81. Oakland never sniffed the postseason during Geren’s tenure, and when they stunk up the joint to start 2011, Geren was fired 63 games into the season. The A’s finished out a losing season under Bob Melvin in ’11, then promptly returned to winning baseball, taking two straight divisions in 2012 and 2013 before barely achieving a wild card in 2014.
Let’s recap: the A’s were winners before and after Geren managed them, and losers during his tenure (which he got for being Billy Beane’s buddy). Seems pretty cut and dried, doesn’t it? If Geren actually gets hired as the manager in L.A., then the “old boy” network is really working overtime in today’s MLB.
If it’s just “old boy” recycling, that would be bad enough; but there’s a dark undercurrent to seeing someone like Geren or Bud Black–another non-achiever in former management positions–being mentioned (if not actually offered) managerial positions. We’ve heard recent rumblings about the lack of non-white hires (or even candidates) for manager positions in MLB. That complaint bubbles up every so often, with more or less merit depending upon circumstances.
The current circumstances are not looking all that encouraging. Scott Servais just got hired to manage the Mariners without any previous managerial experience. Black was reportedly offered the Nationals job before turning down their cheapskate contract offer. Don Mattingly survived being jettisoned by the Dodgers to land in Miami and take the Marlins job (whether that’s a benefit or not remains to be seen, depending upon Miami’s notoriously fickle ownership). Even with Dusty Baker landing the Washington job, it doesn’t offset the unsettling appearance of the current raft of moves.
I say appearance because none of these hires are particularly or egregiously the products of racism. Participation in baseball by blacks has declined over recent decades; despite the best efforts of the RBI program, the numbers of blacks in the game has not appreciably risen lately. There certainly are a solid number of Hispanic players and coaches in the game, but not to an overwhelming degree. Asian players are more common now than in the past, but they still represent a sliver of the MLB population. In other words, one might expect the bulk of the managerial openings to be filled by white s, because currently they make up the bulk of the pool of qualified candidates. It may simply be a plain numbers game.
But if a proven non-quantity like Bob Geren gets another crack at being a major league manager, it won’t take much sniffing to smell a rat.