HomeBaseballFuture Sox podcast, TLR and a FINAL thought on a long walk…
Future Sox podcast, TLR and a FINAL thought on a long walk…
November 7, 2020
Last Saturday, the fine folks at FutureSox, namely Mike Rankin and James Fox were kind enough to invite me on their podcast for an hour discussion on Tony La Russa and other White Sox off-season topics. It was a very fun conversation where we went down a variety of potential paths for the 2021 White Sox. You can listen to that conversation HERE. During the discussion, I laid out 4 reasons why I think NOT having a full managerial hiring process could be detrimental to the White Sox and I wanted to dig in on those a little bit more here, followed by a FINAL thought I had about all of this while taking one of my many strolls through the greater Bridgeport / Armour Square neighborhood. Follow me through this journey, won’t you??
YOU MIGHT FIND A CANDIDATE YOU WEREN’T THINKING ABOUT
This is a story as old as time….who doesn’t know someone that “didn’t even want to go out that night” and then they ended up meeting their future spouse. Sometimes you gotta let serendipity happen. I was actually this kind of hire at my current job. My old boss (I got laid off due to the business struggling) contacted my new boss (they are friends) asking him to interview me, just because I was someone he liked at that prior job. I’m sure my new / current boss wasn’t thinking he’d be hiring me, but I interviewed and according to my colleague at that same job (10 years later), I was the only person they interviewed for that job. After one 90 minute interview, they knew I was the guy. #HUMBLEBRAG It happens, and not giving it a chance to happen is a mistake (sometimes a fairly large one).
YOU MIGHT IDENTIFY AN ORGANIZATIONAL WEAKNESS
I’ve written in the past about how I believe Rick Hahn to be of the Ted Phillips type of sports executive. He’s a lawyer by trade and he didn’t really cut his teeth in different organizations under different baseball people, it’s been an insular existence for Hahn. So, what’s the best way to acquire that knowledge? From the outside of course. Through the interview process, Hahn might have been able to find out specific processes of a manager that need addressing. Maybe you meet a candidate that has a great checklist style procedure for ensuring certain control measures with the game day prep or some shit. I don’t know, I only manage accountants, not baseball players, but there can be something to learn from the individual candidates and how they’d approach the job.
YOU MIGHT FIND A CANDIDATE THAT PERFECTLY MATCHES THE THINGS THAT YOU STINK AT
Maybe Rick Hahn would go into the process thinking he wants his buddy AJ Hinch to have this job and although Hinch would be an upgrade over Ricky Loco, he doesn’t quite do everything well that the White Sox sort of lack in a manager. Then you have a thorough and robust interview process and some other candidate more perfectly matches the weaknesses that he had identified and he goes with that candidate. BOOM!!! What a find that would be, what a great success of rigor. By skipping a process like this you lose optionality and that is a costly loss.
ORGANIZATIONAL KNOWLEDGE AKA BRAIN DRAIN
You just never know, in the interview process, when you’ll be able to “finesse” the candidate for organizational knowledge that is to your benefit. There is absolutely nothing wrong with finding out ways to do things that you didn’t realize before. Remember when Nick Madrigal l0lz’d about how he got better scouting reports at Oregon State than he was getting at Winston-Salem. DATS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!!! Learn wherever you can, however you can. Maybe you don’t learn how to cheat from interviewing Alex Cora or AJ Hinch, but you understand the vital mindset required to press every edge in a Bill Belicheckian way. That shit is valuable.
BUT THEN I WAS TAKING A LONG WALK AND THOUGHT “WHAT IF I’M WAY WRONG ABOUT THIS, WHAT IF I’M A COMPLETE IDIOT!?!?!?”
What if I am wrong? What if Tony LaRussa actually was the best candidate available? What if Rick Hahn was just going to fake the “robust” process because he only wanted to hire his friend AJ Hinch anyway? What if AJ Hinch isn’t all he’s cracked up to be, I mean nobody else fired their current manager to hire Hinch? Right?
What if the Chairman knew all of this and threw himself into the process to block this and have the White Sox make a better managerial signing. Could all of that be true? Could any of that be true? I guess I’ll never know, but it is fun to speculate.