Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Phillies Violate GM Hiring Guidelines

On Wednesday, the playoff-hungry Philadelphia Phillies introduced proven winner Pat Gillick as their new general manager. However, the hiring of the 68–year-old Gillick may come with a steep price. In their general manager search, the Phillies apparently violated major league baseball’s hiring practices. These standards dictate that any team with a general manager opening must interview a white Ivy League graduate under the age of 35.


The regulations were introduced in 2001 in response to the appalling lack of opportunities for young white Ivy League alumni. That November, 34–year-old Princeton graduate Mark Shapiro was hired as the Cleveland Indians’ general manager. Boston raised eyebrows the following November by hiring 28–year-old Yale alumnus Theo Epstein. 31–year-old Harvard man Paul DePodesta was next, tapped by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004. Last month the Texas Rangers continued the trend, promoting 28–year-old assistant general manager and Cornell graduate Jon Daniels to the general manager position.


Despite the recent firing of DePodesta and the resignation of Epstein, the commissioner’s office considers the program a resounding success.  “Theo helped the Red Sox win a long-coveted World Series,” noted a league spokesman.  “And Shapiro has reworked the Indians into one of the most promising young clubs in the league. It just proves that white guys from the Ivy League can succeed if you just give them a chance!”


Encouraged by these results, the commissioner’s office has instituted an internship program in which an Ivy League undergraduate will serve as the general manager of a major league team over each summer. To alleviate the pressure on the chosen student, the internship will be served with Kansas City, Tampa Bay, or Pittsburgh. However, that intern will be required to submit a 10–page, double-spaced paper on his experience.


In stark contrast, Gillick is a 68–year-old graduate of USC. Philadelphia interviewed four other candidates, but of those, only 55-year-old Gerry Hunsicker had a serious chance of being hired. Phillies officials insisted that presiding over the 1992 and 1993 World Series champion Blue Jays, as well as two-time ALCS participants in Baltimore and Seattle, made Gillick eminently qualified to return the Phillies to the postseason.


Major league baseball officials were not buying this line of reasoning.  “Sure, USC could dominate Harvard in football,” remarked one spokesman.  “But last I checked, Bud Selig isn’t the commissioner of football!”  Reminded that Gillick played on a College World Series champion in 1958, the official responded,  “1958? Did baseball even exist back then?”


Clearly the Phillies have incurred the wrath of the commissioner’s office in circumventing league policy. Fines and suspensions are sure to result. They had better hope that Gillick helps them to a World Series championship. Otherwise, they’ll pay a heavy price for ignoring the young Ivy League white guys.