The tone of this Daily News article reflects the current order of things in Major League Baseball (and, I assume, the bushes as well), where the game is increasingly run by GMs and the computer geeks they’ve hired and not by field managers. Baseball men are increasingly being replaced by MBAs and number-crunchers. Spit cups are leaving dugouts in favor of laptop computers (more sanitary, but also more boring). Field managers are more den-mothers and corporate cogs than team leaders. No need to spend hours in your office worrying about tonight’s lineup. The front office will give it to you before you have to hand it to the home plate umpire. Just jolly-up the players (who, with what they make now, should be jolly enough already) and apple-polish with the press.
Exhibit one is Joe Girardi, whose Yankees finished one win away from the World Series this year and who was fired, if the coverage of the event is to be believed, because he was insufficiently touchy-feely with his players. The old baseball guys, to include John Farrell and Dusty Baker (late of the Red Sox and Nationals) as well as Girardi, are being replaced by younger guys with “communication skills” — extra points if you habla Español. God forbid a field manager should tell a young player with poor fundamentals to, “Sit down, shut up, and listen.” (If it happened today, I’m sure the player would file a grievance with the players’ union.) If Sparky Anderson or Whitey Herzog were available today, I don’t think they’d get an interview with anyone, though Dr. Phil might. It’s a sorry and less interesting pass we’ve come to.
At least this guy Meulins has the baseball-sounding nickname of “Bam-Bam,” though it’s not clear how a life-time .221 hitter gets a sobriquet like this.