September 17, 2021

Posnanski: On Mike Matheny and the challenges of being a 21st-century baseball manager (The Athletic)

I have had one extended conversation with the Kansas City Royals’ new manager Mike Matheny. It was delightful. It was destined to be delightful because I was not asking Matheny about his St. Louis Cardinals managing that day, was not questioning his decision making, was not poking around for news and was not wondering why his team’s record was not better.

No, I was talking to him about youth sports, a particular passion of his. And he spoke from the heart about the lessons of sports and the unnecessary pressures that parents put on their kids and the importance of making the games fun. Here was, to me, a likable guy, a devoted father, a person dedicated to faith and joy and, to the best of his ability, making kids’ sports about kids rather than parents or pressure or unrealistic expectations. I’m not saying I agreed with everything he said — how often do we agree with everything — but there was a lot of common ground and enjoyable back-and-forth. I walked away…

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