Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Manager-Organization Relationship

An excerpt from a October 20, 2006 article called "Talk isn’t so cheap anymore" by Mike Berardino.

Girardi’s dismissal – and rapid replacement with Braves third base coach Fredi Gonzalez- has made us reconsider the modern relationship between a manager and his general manager.

Must they be best friends? Regular dinner partners? Should their wives be in the same bunco group? Should their children trade Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards in the backyard barbecues?

Not necessary. But it’s clear from the Marlins fallout as well as Buck Showalter’s dismissal in Texas that the chain of command flows from the top down rather than in reverse, regardless of a manager’s resume.

It’s also clear that a modern G.M.-manager combo will work only if the two people are able to stay “on the same page,” to borrow Beinfest’s phrase, even if there are minor disagreements along the way.

New Royals G.M. Dayton Moore, who spent his formative years observing Atlanta’s highly productive John Scherholz-Bobby Cox pairing up close, recently ranked “communication with the front office” as his No. 1 criterion for a manager.

Even before he took the Reds G.M. job this spring, Wayne Krivsky made a point of calling incumbent manager Jerry Narron several times to get his input.

“Communication is everything,” Krivsky says. “It’s really been good between us. I don’t go more than a day without talking to Jerry. I can’t remember too many days I haven’t talked to him.”

In Girardi’s case, the problems weren’t merely between him and Beinfest or even between him and owner Jeffrey Loria, with whom Girardi clashed memorably on August 6 over Loria’s habit of umpire-baiting.

Scouts, club officials and support staff all chimed in – anonymously – with gripes about Girardi, most of which revolved around the manager’s “introverted behavior” and “lack of people skills,” as one source who had spoken with the Marlins’ front office put it.

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