Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Pat Murphy is the Padres’ Triple-A manager. The Brewers want to hire him as a major-league coach. And the Padres have balked at letting him go.
A simple case of a team valuing an employee? Perhaps. But some in the industry view the Padres’ actions as highly unusual — and perhaps a sign that the Pads want Murphy to replace manager Bud Black or, at the very least, join the team’s coaching staff.
The Padres’ 20-20 record is fueling industry-wide speculation that Black could be in trouble. Ownership expects to win after opening the season with a club-record $109 million payroll. General manager A.J. Preller is in his first full season, and like ownership, inherited Black.
One Padres official, however, said that the team’s desire to keep Murphy is not a reflection on Black’s status. Rather, the Padres consider Murphy an “impact guy,” even though he is only at Triple-A, the official said.
A rival executive expressed skepticism with those claims.
“(Murphy) must have been made promises — big ones,” the executive said.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
No such thing as grit? The science says otherwise:
If you detect something profound in the NCAA tournament, there is no need to apologize, because you are right, according to renowned neurobiologist Angela Lee Duckworth. A MacArthur Fellowship “genius grant” recipient who has her own research lab at the University of Pennsylvania, Duckworth studies traits that predict achievement, and her special focus is on the quality known as “grit.” It’s not just a descriptive term the way Duckworth understands and employs it.
“Grit is the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals,” Duckworth writes.
She has developed a measurement for it by studying a range of achievers from West Point cadets, to National Spelling Bee winners, to the Seattle Seahawks, and is at work on a book about it. Her work shows that it’s a more important factor in success than talent, IQ or privilege.
In 2013, Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll saw a TED Talk by Duckworth, who is a Harvard- and Oxford-educated psychologist, and became fascinated. They began a series of conversations that helped Carroll refine what the Seahawks look for in players. Early in her research career, Duckworth developed a questionnaire to turn grit into a metric: By scoring the answers to a dozen queries, she rated people on a scale of 1 to 5. (I got a 4.3).
What Duckworth didn’t know was whether grit could be taught as well as measured. Carroll assured her that it could be: Coaches do it all the time. He offered up the Seahawks as a kind of laboratory for her. Duckworth will be visiting them in May. Duckworth is deeply interested in how to teach grit, because she did a stint as a public school math teacher in New York. At the heart of it is the ability to respond to failure or adversity, rather than give up.
Ignore the column’s emphasis on basketball; focus on grit, the greatest of all virtues.
Monday, January 12, 2015
We wondered how Guggenheim’s money combined with Friedman’s forward thinking would manifest itself in the organization. Maybe healthier training tables for minor-league players?
After radically reshaping the front office, the Dodgers announced their Minor League staff for 2015 with only a handful of personnel changes, including the addition of a third coach at all levels.
The Dodgers coaching staff runs almost a dozen deep, so why skimp out in the minors? I guarantee this is common practice throughout baseball within five years.
New director of player personnel Gabe Kapler said the added coach helps ensure at least one Spanish-speaking staff member on every affiliate.
This, too, is a move that seems so obvious - yet it’s 2015 and the Dodgers are making news by doing it.
Thursday, January 08, 2015
Those who can’t, teach.
Rick Ankiel‘s weird career has taken another interesting turn, as the retired pitcher-turned-outfielder has been hired by the Nationals as a “life skills coordinator” as part of their minor-league coaching staff.
According to the team’s press release the 35-year-old Ankiel “will draw on his vast experience as a player to help mentor Nationals farmhands.”
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