How Not To Replace A Manager

There are lots of wonderful candidates to be the next manager of the Tigers. This man is not one of them. (Getty Images)

There are lots of wonderful candidates to be the next manager of the Tigers. This man is not one of them. (Getty Images)

Jim Leyland is out as Tigers manager and the Tigers will likely try to replace him with a good manager. As well they should. They want to win baseball games next season. But what if they wanted to test the very nature of what a manager brings to a team? What if they wanted to do that by making the worst hire they possibly could and then seeing what happened? Who would they hire then? One of these guys.

Bobby Valentine

Valentine is, by now, the anti-manager. He looks at what a good manager would do, carefully considers it, then puts it in a raft, sets the raft on fire, and shoves it out to sea. Then he holds a press conference to say he invented the burrito.

A Goat

There is no better stand in for a manager than a live goat. The manager’s credo should be that of a doctor: First, do no harm. So a goat would be perfect because, really, outside of chewing up the lineup card, how much damage could a goat do? A goat won’t call for a hit-and-run when the team’s best hitter is up. A goat won’t give the steal sign, or call for a bunt in the second inning, or intentionally walk the bases loaded with a wild pitcher on the mound. A goat won’t change relief pitchers incessantly, destroying his bullpen for minimal gain at best. A goat won’t do any of those things because a goat has no idea what those things are. A goat would just let the Tigers play baseball. And eat the lineup card.

George F. Will

Say what you will (get it??) about the man’s politics, but he knows baseball. He’s written extensively on the topic and was a subject of Ken Burns’ biopic Baseball. In other words, expect a stirring speech about the high-mindedness of the game’s very essence and it’s place in world history before each game. “Men, I know you are gathered here because it’s late August and you’re contractually obligated to face the Astros tonight, but I’d like to direct your attention to a higher purpose: Baseball.”

Dane Cook

LOOK DUDE. YOU DON’T THINK THE COOKSTER COULD HANDLE A MAJOR LEAGUE TEAM? THINK AGAIN! [insert childhood story about baseball that isn’t funny unless it’s shouted and even then, only marginally assuming you don’t think too hard about it]

Fozzie Bear

Sure, Fozzie Bear isn’t a real bear. But if you’re hiring a puppet anyway, why not hire a real one? The great part about this is that the puppet would do all the talking while the puppeteer hid behind furniture for an entire baseball season. For example, a grown man with a puppet on his hand would crouch behind the table when addressing the team on the first day. He’d hide behind the dais for press conferences. He’d lie under the bench during games. He’d hide behind the seat on the team’s charter. This would go on all year long. All. Year. Long.

If the Tigers hired any of the above, within a year we’d all know for sure how valuable a manager really is. I have no idea what the answer would be, but I know it’d be a fun ride.

4 thoughts on “How Not To Replace A Manager

  1. Great piece Matthew! Very entertaining, and actually kind of thought provoking too. (And made me realize why I hate Dane Cook so much yet most of my friends love him. Alas, it’s all in the volume. I’m sure alcohol consumption plays some sort of role as well, but I digress…..).

    Anyway, it’s the last choice that I found really interesting, especially because of who’s playing in the World Series this year. If it were any other matchup, I’m not sure Fozzie would’ve been the Muppet you thought of first for the article, but alas, he’s on the tip of everybody’s tongue this year. The World Series is practically an homage to Fozzie. Think about it- on the one hand, you have a bunch of fuzz leading a team to victory, on the other you have an ace pitcher who’s name is Fozzie’s catch-phrase (Wacha).

    -John C.

  2. …or they could hire John Gibbons away from the Blue Jays and give us a scrub infielder as compensation and watch as he tries to fight the entire team and ignores anything even remotely resembling strategic baseball.

    Bobby V looks good by comparison.

  3. Wait, did you just seriously drop a Dane Cook reference? In 2013? Tony Muser, Russ Nixon, Maury Wills and Frank Howard also think they’d make better managers than Dane Cook.

    Warmest regards,