Here's one for ya trans ....
Bar so high, how can anyone manage?
By Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff, 11/3/2003
Glenn Hoffman arrived in Boston last night and interviews today as the leadoff hitter on Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino's managerial candidate lineup card. He's had plenty of time to memorize all of Bill James's books and statistics and make sure he plays up on-base and slugging percentages. He's had plenty of time to study the failings of Grady Little and respond to the questions of how he would bring the Red Sox to the World Series. Hoffman, who played in Boston from 1980-87, is well aware of the Boston landscape, which is the reason many believe he's an ideal candidate to run the Boston nine. Red Sox fans also wouldn't mind if Hoffman brought his baby brother, Trevor -- San Diego's All-Star closer -- with him.
Angels pitching coach Bud Black will go through the same drill at midweek. The Red Sox manager's job description could read something like this: "Looking for a manager equipped with superhero abilities to lead the Red Sox to a world championship in a short period of time."
This hire will not be afforded the luxury of taking a step back to take a step forward. The next manager will not have a five-year plan or perhaps not even a three-year plan. Heck, Little was allowed a two-year plan.
The next Sox manager will have to win more than 95 games, likely 100 or more. He likely will need to win the American League East.
He will have to have the ability and personality to handle the egos of superstars Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez, barring the team's ability to trade one or both, and add Nomar Garciaparra to the list as well.
He'll have to keep the peace, throw water on the clubhouse fires that flare up over the course of the season, and he'll have to, above all else, manage the team sometimes with a laptop and sometimes with his head.
He will need to rely on the human element, but he'll need to keep his eye on the computer printout he keeps near him in the dugout.
He will have to consult with his pitching coach and his bench coach, asking for input much the way Yankees manager Joe Torre leaned on Mel Stottlemyre and Don Zimmer. Boston fans like that.
He will have to show more fire, maybe get tossed once in a while. Boston fans like fiery managers, or at least the perception that they're fiery.
He will have to beat the Yankees. Beat them early and beat them late in order to keep New York owner George Steinbrenner seething.
He will have to keep his team focused against teams such as Tampa Bay and Baltimore, perennial doormats that sometimes give the Red Sox problems, and he needs to make sure that those players coming off career years -- i.e., Bill Mueller and David Ortiz -- stay consistent and maybe even show improvement.
The Little era was a prelude to the final chapter Sox management hopes to write with this hiring. Forget Little's Game 7 ALCS brain cramp and consider that management felt Little got them that far but couldn't get them the rest of the way. Little's successor can't afford growing pains. He needs to perform immediately.
Of course every guy who takes a job understands the need to win and make progress from the previous season. Rebuilding isn't tolerated unless it's a place such as Toronto or Cleveland, where the teams were disassembled and are now being overhauled with younger and cheaper players.
The next Sox manager will have about a $100-$120 million payroll and plenty of pressure to win it all.
Nowhere else in baseball, with the exception of the Bronx, is there more pressure to win than in Boston right now.
Is Hoffman or Black or Joel Skinner or Terry Francona or whoever else might be interviewed a manager/superhero? Is he someone who can combine tremendous leadership in the clubhouse and on the field?
What we do know is this: Sometimes when you cover a player day in and day out you get a feeling about whether that player will be a good coach or manager. You could see it coming with Eric Wedge, Bob Melvin, Gary Allenson, Rick Burleson. When Hoffman was a Boston infielder you knew he had an eye for detail. It was apparent managing was his calling.
Hoffman used to soak in every bit of information back then. He might not have been the most talented guy, but he was the most prepared. In the field he had excellent instincts and made up for any shortcomings in range with pinpoint positioning.
He was a decent hitter and he knew how to handle the bat. He knew when to move a runner along and could execute the hit-and-run. He knew the game. He was the player other players went to for advice on baseball matters.
He's a candidate because he knows Boston and he knows Fenway. He knows about the wind currents being changed when the .406 club was first built. He knows how to get to Fenway from Storrow Drive and he knows his way around the tiny Sox clubhouse.
He's already worked with pitching coach Dave Wallace in the Dodgers' organization, and Wallace is said to be a big Hoffman booster.
Hoffman knows all about Boston's rabid fans and aggressive media. He'll have to be reminded because 1987 was his last season with the Sox, so it's been a while. He's a West Coast guy, a devoted father and husband, and a move back East would be a big sacrifice, but one many believe he's now prepared to make.
Those who have played for him say he's an outstanding teacher, a players' manager who won't tolerate nonsense. He expects his players to act like professionals and he's not afraid to dole out discipline.
At 45, Hoffman is young enough to relate to the modern player. He's flexible enough to use the tools the Sox want him to incorporate into daily managing.
He'll have to be. The next Sox manager will have to be the best manager in the history of the franchise.