For the most part, I don’t really care who the next manager for the Brewers will be. I appreciate that Doug Melvin is taking his time, keeping an open mind, and leaving no stone unturned when it comes to candidates — they’ve been connected to everyone from Bob Melvin to Joey Cora to Bobby Valentine — but in the end, the winner of the race likely won’t do many things differently than Ken Macha or Ned Yost did.
I only ask two things when it comes to this manager search.
First, for the love of God, don’t even interview Bob Brenly. Second, avoid hiring a former Brewer.
It’s nice that Cecil Cooper wants to manage the team, as Tom Haudricourt reports. He’s an important part of the team’s history. He’ll always be loved in Milwaukee. But the Brewers shouldn’t even consider him.
Let’s forget for a second that Cooper had a history of puzzling decisions as manager while he was in Houston. Cooper’s past with the organization would make it difficult to think rationally about some of his decisions, especially early when he still has that “new manager” smell — “So what if he’s batting Alcides Escobar leadoff? He’s trying something new! And c’mon, it’s Coop! He’s great!”
Of course, that wouldn’t last forever, but he’d certainly go into the season with a longer leash (at least with the fans) than Ken Macha did. But when things eventually go sour — and they eventually do with all managers — it would be doubly disappointing. Even worse than dwelling on the 1982 Brewers is trying to bring players from that team back and seeing them struggle.
It’s important to remember that we’re getting to the point where a significant part of the Brewers’ fanbase isn’t even old enough to remember Cooper playing for the Brewers. For many in that group, they weren’t even alive when Cooper played his last game for the team. If things were to go bad, their only memories of Cooper would be as a retread manager, not one of the best hitters in team history. Feel free to bring him back whenever you want to honor the 80’s, but keep him away from the bench.
The same could be said for Pat Listach, to a lesser extent. Yes, he won Rookie of the Year in 1992, but we’re past the point of needing to bring in familiar faces just for the sake of drumming up fan interest. The team has been competitive for a few years now, and fans are coming to see the players, not the manager.
With this being such an important hire for Melvin (and consequently, the future of the franchise), this is not the time for heartwarming homecomings. It’s probably not a time for mediocre retreads, either.