MLB Managers don’t need to be MLB Players

We recently ran a poll to see who people thought the 2021 manager of the White Sox would be.

Omar Vizquel won by a mile and Justin Jirschele got crushed, but that was not what caught my eye. What did was that 2nd place belonged to “Other”. It beat out the current manager who does not seem in danger of being replaced any time soon. And when you look at the people mentioned, they were nearly all former MLB players and many were former White Sox. The exception was arguably the most successful, Joe Maddon. It made me think that maybe, just maybe, we have flawed ideas about who can be a MLB manager. Let’s break it down.

Baseball IQ

I often hear “he has a high baseball IQ” or “he was a smart player”. What I never hear is how anyone is actually calculating that. If I asked you what Rickey Henderson‘s basbeball IQ is, you’d likely say it’s low. But why? Because he refers to himself in the third person? Because you’ve heard he can’t recognize John Olerud if he’s wearing a different jersey? Because he once framed a huge check instead of cashing it? If so, you’re conflating his IQ with his baseball IQ. I once saw him on MLB Network explain what he was looking for from the pitcher when he was going to steal a base. I immediately thought “I’ve never heard that”, but when it was echoed by the MLB players standing around him my mind was blown. Honestly, did you ever have a coach tell you to watch the pitcher’s elbow? You know you didn’t, but you’re probably realizing how much sense it makes.

The point is, we rely on what we’ve heard about the player’s actual intelligence or what we’ve seen the player do in particular games that we happened to be watching. It’s nearly impossible to watch enough games to possibly determine this and it is flawed to assume that extremely talented athletes are the only people that could have a high baseball IQ.

Arbiters of the Game

The umpires and referees of the world are an interesting group when discussing this topic. They are almost never former MLB, NFL, NBA players. I mean, they’re not even always men. Pro sport leagues cast a wide net to find the best people for this very specific skill. You have to find someone that both has an exceptional understanding of the rules and the ability to react quickly and accurately on difficult, game-changing decisions. Almost sounds like a quality you’d like in a manager. Of course, it’s not the only quality they need.

Clubhouse Guy

You hear “player’s coach” or “great clubhouse guy” a lot. It’s the reason many consider Ned Yost a good manager, it’s why I’ve always thought Dusty Baker was a good manager. Do you think it was easy to control a clubhouse with Barry Bonds and his literal and figurative gigantic head? I would agree that commanding a clubhouse could be easier for former players with a great career to back it up. But we have tons of examples of that not being the case. Locally, we have Ryne Sandberg and Robin Ventura to show that it’s definitely not a given.

If you think about other industries, teaching comes to mind immediately. I had plenty of great professors who were not CEOs and CFOs of businesses. That was not the important factor. Look at Jaime Escalante, arguably the most famous high school teacher ever. Not only was this guy able to command respect in classrooms in East Los, he was also able to explain very complex mathematical themes in a way high school students could consume. He wasn’t some great business man or mathematician breaking codes for the NSA, he was a teacher. Maybe we need some of those in the clubhouse.

Other Sports

If you look at the NBA and NFL, the percentage of coaches that were former players in the those leagues is lower than what the MLB has. In fact, if you look at the gold standard in those sports, you’d likely point to Gregg Popovich and Bill Belichick. Neither of those guys played in the NBA or NFL. Yet somehow, which must seem unbelievable to MLB teams, these guys have succeeded at incredible levels. Is it easy to find that guy? Obviously not. However, I’d argue it is much more difficult if you confine your search to the small amount of people that have been exceptional enough at a sport to play it at its highest level.

Last But Not Least

For those of you that have argued with me about PED and drugs in general and the lasting negative effects they have on players: Why do you want to pick from a group of players from the most prolific drug years in MLB history? If the cocaine 80s and the steroid era is turning former players’ brains to mush, why would you want them managing?

If you’ve read to the bottom, your gift is this quick hit on bad baseball IQ:


On Yonder

Unlike Jon Jay, when Yonder Alonso was acquired, it was difficult to see where he fit. The Sox already have an established first basemen and Alonso’s contract would not make him a long term replacement. Also, his presence would definitely mean a reduction in ABs of younger, team controlled lefty bats. The only reason any of us could surmise was that he was here to sway Manny Machado, and now here we are. We Sox fans, like good wingmen, jumped on the grenade for our buddy Freddy and while he didn’t seal the deal we’re stuck with this aftermath.

The Contract

An important thing to note is that Yonder is not a bad player, he is useful. However, he does very little for you when you look at 2020 and beyond. And when you do that, you see that after opening day he is merely 520 plate appearances away from his contract vesting for 2020 and the Sox being on the hook for $9M. This is one place where I trust the Sox Front Office. When thinking of the vesting option, much like Rachel Phelps, they’re never gonna let that happen. So what do you do with this guy?


This is what I see the most when this discussion occurs. “Let’s see if he gets out to his usual hot start and trade him before he fades away. ” First off, if we know this, I’m pretty sure most GMs know this. Not to mention, the A’s just had an injury at 1B and I am guessing the Sox were on the horn about it. The A’s ended up grabbing Kendrys Morales instead. The fact of the matter is that what Yonder brings is not terribly special in this era and it will be difficult to move him for anything, even if the Sox eat the money.


This is much more likely what you’ll see, and while it’s not sexy, it’ll get the job done. This would likely give us more PAs for a guy like Jose Rondon who they really need to see if he can hit the way they hope. Unfortunately, it may also be guys like Ryan Cordell playing the OF while Eloy moves to DH. That’ll be rough. But won’t you be happy to save Jerry $9M? Seriously though, giving Rondon DH at bats may seem bad, but he’s a guy who may actually be here in a few years. If he hits 20 HR and can play 2B, that’s a guy you can get behind.

Whack Him

This may seem extreme, but why not just cut him at some point this season. If you can’t move him and he’s just taking time away from young players, what value is he providing? It may make your on field product slightly worse, but you’re the organization telling us to look to the future, so maybe you should too.


#108Tourney Championship

Congratulations to White Sox Dave on defending his title this year! And to Beefloaf for an admirable fight to the finish.

58% 1 – White Sox Dave
42% 3 – BeefLoaf

For every result and comment from each match-up, check it out on Twitter:

Want to learn more about the #108Tourney? Check out the podcast and bracket reveal:

Quernzy’s 2019 White Sox Food Preview

Special guest post from Quernzy

News Flash at Guaranteed Rate: THERE WILL BE FOOD

I’m not really a Foodie — I’m more of a “Faux Foodie”. I’m kind of a picky eater and I can’t even eat spicy foods. So I guess it’s a good thing I’m writing a blog for @fromthe108… I fit right in as a Faux Foodie since I like food and I don’t have a lot of credibility.

I was lucky enough to tag along with @mysoxsummer and sample some of the delicious new food options at the park this season. I stuffed my face, took pictures and tried to stay out of the way of the reporters that were writing quality news stories.

Boozy Hot Chocolate and Boozy Hot Apple Cider – sections 144 and 538:  

I wrote about yummy coffee and Bailey’s previously, while rounding up the non-beer options at the park.

And while I do enjoy a shot of Baileys with my hot chocolate, I’m most excited about their new Boozy Hot Chocolate. Jim Beam, Patron XO and Monin toasted marshmallow syrup alllll mixed in with hot chocolate! The Patron has a subtle coffee flavor and the toasted marshmallow syrup is something I have to purchase for my own home bar. Delicious! When Spring finally arrives, I will switch to chilled cocktails and provide a cocktail update for inside the park.

The Savory & Sweet Stand at 110 is going to be my go-to stand.

Four different kinds of Dusted French Fries. Also a few dishes of fries topped with STUFF. Irish Fries, Greek Fries and Buffalo Chicken Fries. Excited to try the Greek Fries with gyro meat, feta and tzatziki. Another snack that will be a fan favorite can be found in the Revolution Tap Room — Bacon Popcorn. So cheesy and packed with bacon crumble. Between the Bacon Popcorn and the Dusted Fries, so much stuff is dusted with powder, you’d think Tim Raines is in the kitchen.

Nashville Hot Chicken

Here’s what Phat MSS had to say about the Nashville Hot Chicken – natural heat without being too crazy. All white-meat chicken. Even the pickles were good. 🙂

Antique Taco

Brand new at the park is Antique Taco from down the street in Bridgeport. 108’ers won’t have to walk far to find them at Section 109. The smoked brisket taco was too spicy for me (but I’m a wimp) and the chicken al pastor taco was delicious!

Notables available in the premium levels

Elote Nuggets – sweet fried corn nuggets that are so yummy. I’m a fan of fried finger foods at the park. Also, why aren’t they called Eloy-tes?

Triple Play Burger with beef, fried bologna and bacon.

Impossible Asian Appetizer Duo –  Now available for vegetarians and vegans alike!


Thank you Quernzy! Now here is what Little Miss Shortstop thought of the food items she got to sample! Note – LMS isn’t afraid of a little heat, but MSS decided that the chicken sandwich might be too hot for her. Oddly, the Chicken Al Pastor wasn’t. Ha.

That face you make when there aren’t options for little almost 1 year olds. She had some flavored rice husks.

Little Miss Shortstop was pretty amped to make the trip to the park. She was only slightly bummed that neither “Timmy” or “Palka” would be there and even asked “They aren’t playing?” She’s learning yo!

Waiting patiently as the food folks give us the low down before the chow down.

LMS started off with the Triple Play Burger. As noted in the podcast, she dropped the bun and dusted it off and ate it anyways. She’s a trooper.

As you can see, she isn’t the biggest burger fan. But loved the bun! She ate a couple bites of the Chicken Al Pastor taco from our neighbors to the west, Antique Taco. We’ve had them many times, always solid. She loves that fresh mozzarella cheese too, so that sandwich was made for her.

She was also very lucky that they brought around the Eggrolls from the Impossible Asian Appetizer Duo! It’s a meatless offering as noted above. She loves fake meat and eggrolls!

But by far and away her most favorite offering was the Bacon Popcorn. She had 2 samples! And you know what? Even though it is only in the Rev Tap Room, kids are allowed! Cause they have food and that is the location of the Sox Social Lounge. What’s that? It’s a place that if you check into the game (on the MLB Ballpark App), they give you all sorts of free stuff! Last year was a killer hat for your first check in.

So there you have it! An almost 3 year old can eat all day long with fancy new offerings at the park! Be sure to slam a taco at the game or grab a tub of bacon popcorn!


#108Tourney Regional Final Results

Round 4 – Celebs Region
69% 13 – Write Sox
31% 3 – Scott Merkin

Round 4 – 108 Region
49% 1 – MySoxSummer
51% 3 – BeefLoaf

Round 4 – Blogger / Podcast Region
65% 1 – WhiteSoxDave
35% 2 – Sox On 35th

Round 4 – Super Fans Region
76% 4 – Dylan Covey’s Burner
24% 6 – Bonnie

Want to learn more about the #108Tourney? Check out our most recent podcast and the bracket reveal: