Memo to Billy Beane

Billy Beane is the general manager of the Oakland A's. More than that, he, perhaps with an assist from Bill James, is the originator, guru, resident genius, inventor and otherwise sine qua non of "money ball," that usually misunderstood, often pilloried, universally disrespected view of the grand old game.

Now Billy Beane is going to go up against one of the sages of baseball traditionalism, the "do it like we always did it" school principal, Tommy Lasorda.

For Beane professes to interview Orel Hershiser for his vacant managerial job.

Doesn't Beane know Orel Hershiser has never managed before? Doesn't he remember how Lasorda torpedoed Orel a year ago when he interviewed very, very well with Mr. McCourt of the Dodgers, but didn't get the job because McCourt court jester Lasorda declared Hershiser non compos mentis (not qualified) because of his total lack of experience.

Now Abner Doubleday shouldn't have invented baseball - because he had never done it before.

Walter O'Malley should never have gone to LA - because nobody he ever done it before.

Bill Veeck shouldn't have used midget Eddie Gadel - you guessed it, not done before.

Branch Rickey shouldn't have brought up Jackie Robinson - yup, he had no big league experience.

And on and on and on.

But for whatever reason, the Lasorda Rule prevails in baseball.

How does a Joe Girardi ever get a chance? Well, he did, and one young Italian proved another Italian, old enough to be his grandfather, as wrong as the flat earth theorists.

Now Billy Beane is the antithesis of Lasorda. He is always looking for new ways, new slants, a better way to slice the loaf. So how many times has Beane made it to post season play? How does his record compare with Lasorda's?

Or the Dodgers for that matter. The Dodgers beat the A's in 1988, but Beane wasn't, if we remember correctly, in the saddle at that point.

Which brings us back to Mr. Orel Hershiser. Old retread manager Lou Piniella was in the broadcast booth this past year. So was Hershiser. Neither had done it full time before (although Hershiser did have some previous experience).

Here the Lasorda rule worked to a T. Piniella was awful. Hershiser, as is his want in whatever he does, was literate, insightful, entertaining, knowledgeable, and otherwise top notch. Of all the ex-players, with the possible exception of Joe Morgan, Orel was a bona fide star behind the mike.

Now why would cerebral Billy Beane think he could do with an equally cerebral manager on the field like Orel Hershiser? Pitching being 90 per cent of baseball like it is, Beane's final two candidates for his managerial job may come down to a choice between the Angels pitching coach Bud Black and Hershiser, pitcher's both.

Neither has ever managed before. What does Mr. Lasorda think of that? Of course Tuxedo Tommy forgets he once was a pitcher who never managed before. But with Tommy, there always has been one set of rules for him and another for everybody else.

Here's some questions for Billy Beane to ask Orel in his upcoming interview:

Would you have used Brett Tomko as much as Grady Little did last season? If so, why?

Would you typically recommend signing over 35 year old pitchers in a young man's game? Why?

Now Beane has been known to t-h-i-n-k. Using his noggin has not been a totally strange notion to Orel. This could be a marriage made in heaven.

Now wouldn't it be something if Beane actually hired Hershiser? And then turned around and brought his mentor Dave Wallace back as HIS pitching coach.

Something the Dodgers could have done a year ago - if it were not for the Lasorda Dictum.

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