By Jeff Munn
There’s a risk to writing this. By the time you read this, Chip Hale may no longer be the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
However, I’m betting he will be.
All the speculation that Hale would be let go and AAA Manager Phil Nevin would replace him started not with a club executive, not with a national writer, not with someone at the MLB Network. It started with a guy who writes a blog….about the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It then took a Phoenix real estate agent who buys an hour of radio airtime to host a sports talk show to grab it, and try to legitimize it by saying he had good sources within the DBacks organization.
That’s not exactly on the level of Pedro Gomez, who to this point, has not said a thing about Hale’s status.
So, a blogger and a part time sports radio host have it and Pedro doesn’t…we’ll get back to that.
There are a lot of people in the Valley who think Chip Hale should have been jettisoned a long time ago. Understandable – passionate fans want action, and they want it now.
It’s still not a good idea, and before you punch your computer monitor, allow me to explain.
Tony LaRussa has been on the job at the D-backs for just over two years. His handpicked manager has been on the job for, in terms of games, just over a season and a half. While LaRussa has been known for having all the patience of an erupting volcano, even he realizes it’s just too soon to make such a dramatic change.
If that isn’t enough to calm you down, consider this – if LaRussa made such a move (and if a move is made, it will likely be LaRussa’s call, not Dave Stewart’s), two things are certain. LaRussa will want an experienced manager with championships on his resume to take over, and getting such a manager will be next to impossible.
Who is the most accomplished manager currently not in a Major League dugout? Ron Gardenhire is a pretty good answer. He won six division titles in Minnesota, was the 2002 American League Manager of the Year, and finished runner up in the Manager of the Year voting five other times.
The only other manager to finish second in MOY voting five times? The guy in Arizona who’d be looking to hire Gardenhire.
However…would Gardenhire want to walk into a situation where the last guy got 18 months?
Something else to consider – not everyone thinks Hale is a bad manager. The minute the rumors started, Met fans flooded Twitter begging GM Sandy Alderson to hire Hale, a one-time Met coach under Terry Collins, as the Manager In Waiting. Anybody remember Bob Melvin?
I’m not saying a change in managers won’t happen – I’d like to think I’m smart enough not to make such statements – I’m just saying it seems unlikely.
Now, about the rumors and those that spread them.
Often times, sports radio hosts trying to make a name for themselves will take reckless chances on rumors in hopes that if they’re right, they’ll get acclaim and attention. Three years ago, another local sports radio show desperate for attention told its audience that it had “solid sources” within ASU that had confirmed the next baseball coach would be ASU alum Barry Bonds.
I can’t verify the credentials of the local host who says he has sources within the D-backs, so I won’t insult him by saying he’s a fraud – I simply don’t know. I will say this – if Hale is still managing the club at the end of the season, he owes a lot of people an apology.
Chip and his family will be owed an apology. The “sources” will be owed an apology, and most importantly, the audience will be owed an apology.
Spreading a rumor about Hale’s job status is not only risky, if it turns out that it doesn’t happen, it’s irresponsible journalism. That’s of course, unless the host doesn’t consider himself a journalist, at which point we all have the right to demand he name his sources. All of us who consider ourselves journalists should remember not to treat fans like they’re customers at a used car lot.
Ben Parker was right when he said in the first Spider-Man movie “With great power comes great
responsibility.” Microphones and computer keyboards are powerful things. Or to be more specific, struggling radio hosts and bloggers might want to read a story that will explain their responsibility. It’s called The Boy Who Cried Wolf.