Covering a managerial search (or anything else, for that matter).
The names of the Astros managerial candidates slowly began to leak from all ends of the country starting last week, and with every Bob Melvin, Manny Acta and Ned Yost tidbit that made its way onto the airwaves and internet sites, I wondered how long it would be until the Astros decided to simply reveal the names of all of their managerial candidates.
Clearly, they had two choices: stay tight-lipped about who they were interested in and wait for all names to inevitably become public anyway, or just simply reveal the candidates themselves and end the media’s relentless scavenger hunt.
The latter makes life easier for everyone and saves time for the general manager. When one reporter uncovers a name and publishes that name, Ed Wade then has to spend the rest of his day fielding calls from the other reporters who are looking for confirmation on the name leaked. This can go on all day, all week, all month.
As a reporter, times like these — whether I was covering a manager search, a GM search or the free agent/hot stove season — were incredibly pressure-filled. You’re never sure what your competition has, so you simply have to make sure you are doing everything you can to not be beaten on a story. This meant cold-calling potential manager/GM candidates and figuring out what the team is doing by simple process of elimination. It meant getting a tip and stalking the guy at the airport. It meant calling representatives of free agents who played a position the Astros needed to fill and trying to figure out who the team was pursuing. It is a long and painstaking process and for every one thing you uncover, there are 10 other storylines that ended up going nowhere.
That brings me to present times. The Astros’ original plan was to reveal two managerial candidates per day, the day before those candidates were to interview with the team. But by Monday, six of the 10 candidates had been leaked anyway, so the Astros decided to go ahead and just give out the list.
This has been perceived by some as a circus. I disagree. Sure, it’s unconventional, but we’re not living in the stone ages. It’s a world of 24-hour news cycles and the internet, and the list of media outlets trying to cover a story has quadrupled in the last 10 years. Keeping major news under wraps is pretty much impossible.
So the Astros got ahead of the story, revealed the names and are making every candidate available to the media once his interview is complete. In turn, life became a lot easier for Wade and the media, and the fans benefit as well, because they’re going to be able to follow along with the process as it’s happening.
The Astros’ interest in Phil Garner, and Garner’s interest in the Astros, came as a shock to everyone. Heck, I had him on my “no chance” list. But the longer I think about it, the more sense it makes. And Garner seems sincere with his desire to return.