Won’t be long until managers become endangered species

With MLB's general managers taking more control of the game, how long will the role of a manager last?

The world continues to change and evolve as we enter into another decade in two years.

We can learn things through YouTube. We rely on smartphones to get us through the day. We watch our sports highlights through our devices. Anything that was once taboo such as homosexuality has now become acceptable in this world. Anyone can run to be a government official with no political experience. Employers only hire people that are younger and cheaper.

Sports are no different. Players are extinct from teams once they reach the age of 30. Owners are hiring general managers based on how young and intelligent they are, not to mention they are hired more for analytic purposes. Scouting has been rendered as irrelevant by most teams. Managers don’t have much of a say in making the roster, creating a lineup or using players in the game.

This all started when the Arizona Diamondbacks hired Bob Brenly to manage their 2001 team from the TV booth in 2000, and it worked since he led the team to a World Series championship. Then, Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane decided that then-A’s manger Art Howe was not going to make decisions anymore in 2001 as he got involved in making the lineup. Other Ivy League general managers in baseball followed suit, and now managers really don’t do much in baseball.

The Yankees and Boston Red Sox hired managers that had no managerial experience this offseason. The Yankees hired Aaron Boone from the ESPN booth, and the Red Sox hired Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora despite not managing a day in his life. Both are flourishing so far in their first year at their respective jobs. This empowers general managers to believe managers don’t do much since it’s the players that do most of the work. In the mind of general managers, all the managers have to do is not mess it up.

It won’t be long until managers become extinct altogether. One can hire a parrot to manage the Yankees or Red Sox. The Yankees are doing well because they are hitting and pitching. It has nothing to do with what Boone is doing. Joe Girardi could have done the same thing. The game is about the players.

It’s hard to come up with a manager that makes much of a difference to his team anymore. No manager stands out when it comes to doing such a great job. There are not many managers that are baseball people to manage teams anymore. It’s either someone from the front office like Astros manager A.J. Hinch that is managing for his boss.

Boone’s success certainly will make general managers think more than anything. That’s a tragedy if managers don’t exist anymore. Managers used to be face of baseball such as Earl Weaver and Whitey Herzog making tactical moves to win games or the cranky Billy Martin doing all he can to make the most of nine innings to win games or Bobby Cox getting tossed. Now, those days are over.

Boone may have killed the role of a manager altogether. That is troubling, and that’s bad news for anyone that wants to be a manager of a team. There’s no question managers are worried about the position of the job.

It’s always been the case where players make the manager and vice versa, but there’s something about the manager that makes the game interesting whether it’s making a decision in games that would have fans discuss on social media, water cooler, sports bars or sports radio. The human element of a manager makes the grand ol’ game that much interesting.

If there is no such thing as manager anymore, the game becomes useless. The average baseball fan won’t care since he or she watch the games to watch the players, not what a manager is doing. The only time a manager matter is if he screws up. Quick. Name a manager who gets credit for winning games on his own. If you can’t come up with one, it’s hard to blame you since there really is not much out there anymore.

Baseball has become hard to watch these last few years. Part of it is the game is way too long for an average baseball fan to pay attention. So many bad teams. But what makes baseball unwatchable is managers don’t do anything anymore other than use the players that they are told to do by their bosses during the game.

Sure there may be instances where a manager mess up. We saw that Wednesday afternoon when Mets manager Mickey Callaway committed a cardinal sin of submitting the wrong lineup card by batting Wilmer Flores and Asdrubal Cabrera out of order, which killed the Mets rally in the first inning. But that won’t sway general managers to change their mind since their ego won’t allow them to admit their mistake.

It won’t be long until managers become extinct for good and be replaced by a bat boy.

We can thank the Yankees and Aaron Boone for that.

Leslie Monteiro

Leslie Monteiro is a syndicated sports columnist who writes about the Tri-State area teams for the Upstate Courier. He is based in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and can be reached on Twitter @MongoGoesInSane.

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