What does the future hold for Dustin Pedroia? How about manager of the Boston Red Sox?
Predictions on the Boston Red Sox are as enjoyable as any predictions can be. Just look at the proliferation of click bait that appears on the internet to confirm that observation. Last year BSI had an article on the projected 2020 potential Red Sox lineup and some selections will get a nod of confirmation, while others will confirm the fact that the author is off his medications.
Predictions are like astrology in that they are fun to read, but don’t take them seriously, or – just maybe – you can? This one is a gaze into a very cloudy crystal ball ($9.99 on Amazon) and the fact that someday in the future, Dustin Pedroia will manage the Boston Red Sox.
What qualities make a good manager? That is certainly a topic open for much debate and today’s Manager of The Year is often canned in a few years under the “What have you done for me lately?” mindset. A manager is quite disposable and that is quite evident in the merry-go-round that some classify as their career.
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Casey Stengel was a bonehead as a manager in two stops, including one with Boston. When Stengel was hit by a Boston cab and put on the shelf, one writer commented the cab driver should be MVP. Then Stengel went to New York and became a genius.
Managers often have an identity attached to their perceived image, as some are defined as “tough,” such as Dick Williams was –especially in Boston. Terry Francona was noted as a “player’s manager” which – I believe – is translated as keeping players informed of their day-to-day status and keeping incendiary clubhouse issues out of the media.
Other managers are noted for their ability to relate to pitchers, such as former pitchers Bob Lemon and Tommy Lasorda. They understand the sensitivity inherent in the fragile minds of those who represent the first line of defense.
I look at preparation and that may mean not only for one game but a series or even longer. Being able to look forward and occasionally make a decision that may appear idiotic, but has a bundle of the positives surface down the road.
Is there anyone more prepared for a game than Pedroia?
Pedroia is simply a ballpark addict. Baseball is his crystal meth and it starts when the doors open at the park. Notorious for arriving early and staying late. A good time for Pedey is the preparation, the game, and post-game. A classic workaholic who probably checks the infield for clumps of sand.
Preparation for a manager is communicating with your coaches, players, and GM. Ever since his rookie season, a shot of the dugout would show Pedroia flitting about among manager, coaches, and players. Pedroia would certainly carry that valuable attribute to the manager’s office.
Could Pedroia handle the media?
That is 100% laughable. A quote machine with a verbose personality that could have many synonyms attached to it – loquacious, bombastic, talkative and on and on. Pedroia could play the media like it was his personal Stradivarius.
The game management skills?
Pedroia is another coach on the field and has a baseball IQ that is off the charts. If he were a physicist he would be a kindred spirit with Steven Hawking or Richard Feynman – Pedroia has probably forgotten more baseball than most manager’s know. And that knowledge would be translated within the game so moves would be made with chess master precision. Simple as that.
You must know personalities.
Pedroia has a unique quality of presenting himself as arrogant, pugnacious and combative. Some of his comments to other players are legendary, but for one who manages to poke the stick into the hornet’s nest, there is simply no blow-back. For some reason, his very nature and personality apparently do not raise the expected hackles. I doubt very much this is a lack of seriousness by others towards Pedroia, but that his comments – as irritating as they may be – contain a nugget of truth.
How does a manager learn?
Future managers learn when they are players. They witness styles first hand and the exceptional ones – like Pedroia – know what works and what does not and are capable of melding in the positive attributes and minimizing the negative ones.
Pedroia has seen three managers, all with a different approach, and has seen incredible success and equally incredible failures. Within this has always been the ability to maintain an even approach to the game and even with the ill-fated Bobby Valentine, Pedroia kept his public dismay simmering under the surface.
The new game.
Baseball is heavy in analytics and Pedroia has had his disagreement with metrics, or at least certain portions of it. While everyone was tossing out numbers on why David Price was tanking it was Pedroia that simply pointed out the reason thanks to his observation instincts. Metrics may tell you what is happening, but it takes a Pedroia to tell you why.
Pedroia would make – at least in my prejudiced view – an exceptional MLB manager. Pedroia knows the game, knows the game management, could certainly handle players of all statures and would bring a level of player involvement based on his personality. The prediction is Pedroia will someday manage in Boston or elsewhere.