Dealing with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic is not only changing the fabric of Major League Baseball, but it's also redefining the role of major league managers. This global public health crisis has led to a shift in responsibilities in which the title "major league manager" itself might need an upgrade.
Long gone are the days of authoritative figures like Earl Weaver or Billy Martin, who in the words of Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo, were "the judge, the jury and the executioner." The responsibilities of the manager's job have been rewritten, with it being no longer just about how much they know about baseball or guiding their players through spring training and 162 games. Now -- perhaps more than ever -- it's also about how much they care.
There is no better time than adversity to rise to the occasion, and because of their position of trust, managers today are focused on the support and guidance they can provide. We spoke to managers across MLB about how they have reimagined and reinvented their roles as leaders during the current crisis, and how doing their job effectively no longer requires having all the answers.
How are you communicating with your players? What are the difficulties with not having one-on-one interactions in the clubhouse?
Joe Girardi, Phillies: I think it has taken more of a feel of the winter instead of being spring, where you just call or you text. I try to call a few players every day to see how they're doing. We have some players that have pregnant wives and you wonder how they're doing.
Luis Rojas, Mets: We use an application that all large organizations are using, called Teamworks. There we send group messages and information to the entire groups, communicate in general terms, with the whole group. We are also constantly making calls and sending personal texts to keep in touch. Lately we have been using Zoom video calls.