Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Zaidi: Clubhouse key for managers

Dodger general manager Farhan Zaidi, speaking today on what’s most important for a manager today.

“I think the longer I’ve been in baseball, the more it’s tilted toward managing the clubhouse and the personalities and the egos,” Zaidi said. “I think from the outside, the average person watching the game just sees the Xs and Os, and whether you took a reliever out or left him in, but again, in my view, a lot of those are 52-48, 55-45 decisions. You get judged by the outcome rather than the process. But kind of being behind the scenes, (you realize) how important it is to manage personalities, get guys to buy into their roles, maintain the peace in the clubhouse.

“You know, it’s funny: The position is called ‘the manager,’ and in every other industry, being a manager means managing people. And in baseball, we think it’s just Xs and Os, but the reality is, this job is being a manager like it is being a manager of a business, except you also are making X and O moves out there in public. I think they’re both important, but I think from when I first got into baseball 10 years ago to now, I realize that managing down there in the clubhouse is more important than I realized.”

— Jon Weisman


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  1. That may be true over the course of a 162 game schedule, but in the playoffs, every decision a manager makes could help win or lose a game, and thus a series.

    • Good take, I agree completely with your statement. I hope Don Mattingly can make those decisions. Some managers have it and some don’t.

  2. Jon Weisman

    On one level that’s true, but I think Farhan is saying 1) you don’t even get to the playoffs if you can’t handle the clubhouse, and 2) few of those key decisions are cut and dry — there’s not necessarily a good choice or a bad choice. There’s also the argument that having prepared players has more impact than most decisions, if not all.

  3. So, if you want to manage and be a leader, ala Alston and Tommy, don’t apply. But if you are a psychiatrist wanting to manage overpaid inmates who should be in control……….. Come on board.

    • Jon Weisman

      I don’t understand this comment, since Zaidi seems to be clearly advocating for a leader in the role.

    • I always heard the knock on Lasorda was him using emotion to carry the clubhouse. His decision making in ’85 left a lot to desire. No offense to Scott’s dad, but how do you not walk Jack Clark to face Andy Van Slyke?

  4. paulgarzajr

    I am glad to see this very mature remark from Zaidi. This is what Mattingly excels at – yes, I too wonder about this decisions but Lasorda’s often baffled me, especially when they didn’t work out (be honest, those of you who remember the era, he did some crazy things based on his ‘gut’). Mattingly deserves the credit for managing players. That is why the Dodgers have been so successful recently. Yes, they have talent but that talent has blended, balanced and deployed.

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