Last year, the Yankees renovated their stadium to appeal to the millennial generation, yesterday they fired their manager for the exact same reason.
Joe Girardi wasn’t canned because he couldn’t handle the job. Ten years and 200 wins over .500 tell you he could and would be able to continue that fine work. He was dismissed because the Yankees wanted someone who could relate to their younger millennial clubhouse.
Being prepared and distance just doesn’t cut it anymore. They need someone who can make every player in that clubhouse feel special.
The Mets saw this, which is why Mickey Callaway is now their manager. On Monday at his introductory press conference, the new Mets skipper didn’t go into pitching – his specialty – or talk strategy, instead he said, “We’re going to take our players and maximize their strengths, every time. You show them every day that you care about them and we will care about them. It won’t just be an act. We’re going to spend time with these guys in the clubhouse and I’m going to love every one of them. I’m going to show them day in and day out, by the decisions I make, the way I communicate with them, that I truly, truly care about them.”
That may be the mantra of the millennial manager. Gone are the days where the skipper is the captain of the ship to be feared by the men he commands. Instead, clubs want an executive officer in the dugout finding out what ticks and giving each player an automatic friend.
And it’s not just the Yankees and Mets either. You are seeing it all over baseball. John Farrell and Dusty Baker were given their walking papers from the Red Sox and Nationals respectively. The Sox tabbed Alex Cora and the Nationals – despite new rumors of Girardi are interviewing Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez.
Even the Phillies, who have not named their manager, seem to be leaning towards Dusty Wathan, who managed their Triple-A club.
Callaway, Cora and Wathan are all in their 40s and preach a collaborative effort working with their front offices to make their players as comfortable. In game strategy? Don’t need it. That’s what analytics are for. Most teams now have a whole clubhouse of the millennial age, so they have to go in this direction. In the real world you are seeing businesses doing the same thing. They are changing work strategies to make jobs more comfortable for younger people.
In baseball, this thought has been working. Both the Dodgers and Astros have that type of manager in their clubhouse. Dave Roberts and A.J. Hinch are the prototypes teams are emulating. They speak to the players, make them feel involved and listen to their bosses above them.
It doesn’t matter if they have no or little managerial experience, that can be learned. It’s if they can be the middle man between the players and front office.
Both Girardi and Terry Collins fell victim of their own success. Because of their experience and winning track records – Collins in the past two years – they started doing things their own way and ultimately it cost them their jobs.
Girardi was an excellent manager for the Yankees, who was ousted because times have changed.
Now the Yankees are on the hunt for their new manager. By all accounts, general manager Brian Cashman will be looking for someone who fits the mold of Callaway, Cora, and Roberts, but also has a relationship with the Yankee front office.
With a young millennial team, this is the way to go these days, managers are no longer captains of ships, instead they are middle-men whose job is to keep 25 players very happy.