Brian Cashman can breathe a sigh of relief. Working for George Steinbrenner is no longer the shittiest job in baseball.
I just read a story on ESPN where Bobby Valentine denied being offered a job as manager of the Florida Marlins this past fall. The story said Marlins president David Samson refused to endorse manager Fredi Gonzalez after he guided the Marlins to 87 wins, third-best in club history, but missed the playoffs. This got me thinking that as bad as my own employment situation was these past few months, I’m glad I didn’t have Gonzalez’s job. It seems like the worst one in baseball at the moment.
Essentially, anyone who goes to manage in Florida is expected to produce with a skeleton payroll, Triple-A level talent at some positions and little fan support, while working for a nightmare owner in Jeffrey Loria. Modest results aren’t tolerated like they are in other small market outposts like Kansas City or San Diego. Joe Girardi was run out of town a few years ago after winning Manager of the Year; he subsequently won a World Series in New York. On the chance Florida teams do succeed, they are promptly stripped down in fire sales. I might go insane working for them.
This is to take nothing away from Valentine, of course. He’s one of the best managers of this past generation and seems like one of the few managers who could thrive with any type of team, be it an established veteran club or a young team like the Marlins. It’s regrettable Valentine’s name has been dragged into all this, because what’s happened to Gonzalez in recent months would have stained the names of anyone attached to it. And it makes me think of some of the other shit jobs in baseball history.
Certainly, this isn’t the worst baseball job ever. Not sure what takes the cake. I wouldn’t have wanted to work for late Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott who, as Sports Illustrated once reported, didn’t pay her front office much, liked to turn off her employees’ computers when they weren’t looking in hopes of saving money, and made them walk her dogs and report back if they pissed or shit. I also read that Ty Cobb used to force the mascot for his Detroit Tigers to sleep under his bed because he was black. And I wouldn’t have wanted to be the guy whose job depended on ensuring Mickey Mantle made bed check.
All the same, Gonzalez isn’t in a much better boat.
Any of the positions described above belong in some kind of Hall of Fame for worst baseball jobs. Creating that Hall of Fame may be a project for another time. If anyone wants to have at it in the meanwhile, feel free.
(Editor’s note: I originally published this post on March 6, but it got automatically deleted due to technical difficulties. Thus, I am re-posting.)