Why are managers in the NL East suddenly going all Johnny Paycheck, Richard Nixon and Roberto Duran on us? If there are only 30 big league managing jobs, why are they being treated like flipping burgers? It doesn't get much weirder than this: two NL East managers quit within four days. First Edwin Rodriguez skedaddles from Florida before he could be fired and then Jim Riggleman bolts Washington because he doesn't have a contract for next year.
"Geez, I hope my manager doesn't quit," Phillies GM Ruben Amaro joked about Charlie Manuel, the only manager left in the five-team division who has been at it since . . . last year! "I just signed him to an extension."
Fear not, the managing gigs aren't all bad. The exits of Rodriguez and Riggleman got me thinking: What's the best managing job in baseball? Where is the best place to work when it comes to ownership, stability, fan support, resources, tradition and the chance to succeed? Here is my completely subjective list of the 10 best managing jobs in baseball:
Under manager Ron Gardenhire, the Twins have been knocked out in the first round of the playoffs five straight times while going 2-15 -- and Twins fans go right on enjoying their walleye on a stick with the same happy attitude. There's one major down side to the job: long underwear required two to three months out of the season.
Most managing jobs fall somewhere in the middle on the "quality of managing life" scale. But these five stands out as the worst managing jobs:
Back before the internet gave us so much information so easily about so many teams, if you wanted to learn something about teams outside of your home market -- next level stuff, from minor league prospects to potential trades -- you read Rod Beaton, one of the original staff members of
In a business in which travel, competition, deadlines and rude subjects can grind the optimism out of a person, Rod maintained an impressive, even boyish enthusiasm and charm about his work. He never stopped delighting in the small details of the job -- a new acquaintance, a nugget about a prospect, a restaurant discovery, a turn of a phrase.
He laughed at himself and he laughed at the perceived higher ground of the superstar athlete. He once famously got in the grill of Barry Bonds when Bonds chided him for clubhouse loitering, telling the Giants' slugger, "Barry, you're not my social director." When Bonds reacted by extending his arm toward Rod's chest to push him away, Beaton hit Bonds' arm to move it away. Beaton didn't make a big deal out of the incident; he laughed at that, too.
Rod Beaton died this week at age 59. He leaves behind a wife and two sons. His body and mind endured a long downward spiral from Parkinson's Disease and Lewy body dementia, which is as horrible as it sounds. For years we have missed him and that puckish smile around the press boxes and clubhouses of baseball, but all of us are enriched for having known his kindness.