I always thank the person I have interviewed, thanked him for returning my call and his time. It’s the polite thing to do. But after I thanked Sabean, he said, “Thanks for writing the story.”
In no way is that a routine response from a baseball executive to a reporter. But I had told Sabean I was writing about Hensley Meulens and how he has been ignored as a candidate for a managing job with a major league club, and Sabean was appreciative that somebody was recognizing that Meulens deserved to be mentioned in the same sentence as the word manager.
Not only that, but Sabean took advantage of the interview to mention other members of Bruce Bochy’s coaching staff who have been ignored.
In spite of their and the San Francisco Giants’ success in this decade, the World Series championships in 2010, 2012 and 2014, three in five years. That doesn’t happen every day.
Coaches on one World Series-winning team, let alone three, are often considered for managerial vacancies. That hasn’t happened with Bochy’s staff. Meulens, in fact, has gained greater recognition from his position as manager of the Netherlands team in the World Baseball Classic this year and 2013.
“The irony there,” Sabean said, “is that it shouldn’t necessitate a second great showing at the W.B.C. It’s very frustrating for us as an organization. Bochy is a Hall of Fame manager-to-be and he has a great staff. It’s pretty disgusting that he’s not on the list.”
Sabean meant Meulens, whose first year as the Giants’ hitting coach coincided with the start of their extended championship run.
Sabean and Meulens share another coincidence 25 years earlier. Meulens was drafted by the Yankees in 1986, the same year Sabean became the Yankees scouting director.
“I go back to when he came into the Yankee organization so we have a long-standing relationship,” said Sabean, the Giants’ long-time general manager who is now the executive vice president of baseball operations.”
The Giants plucked Meulens from the Pittsburgh organization, where had been the AAA hitting coach.
“As it turned out, he was the right man in our eyes,” Sabean said, citing Meulens’ “passion, his work ethic, his love of the game, the painstaking approach he took with each hitter for a team that doesn’t have a cookie-cutter way of doing things, a great communicator, a tremendous man and that makes it even more fun to watch his career finally being recognized for how good it is.”
That Meulens, a native of Curacao, was asked to manage the Dutch team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic without having had previous managing experience was testimony to his perceived ability. That he was asked to return for this year’s tournament clearly showed what baseball people thought of him.
“It looks like he should be good candidate for a managing job,” a major league official said. Unfortunately …