I was right in the middle of rewatching one of my favorite movies, High Fidelity, when news broke that Scott Harris would be leaving the San Francisco Giants to become the Detroit Tigers’ new President of Baseball Operations. It was right at the part when Lisa Bonet enters the movie.
Does this matter to you or inform the news in any way? No, I just wanted to spotlight it because Lisa Bonet is so incredibly cool.
Which is more than I can say for Scott Harris’ tenure with the Giants. I am not alone in saying that I have absolutely no idea what he did as the general manager. I understand that he was respected, well-liked, incredibly intelligent, and able to respond to Zaidi’s “u want the D? D Walton?” texts at 3am, per Andrew Baggarly.
Kerry Crowley wrote this back in 2019:
Harris’ position with the Giants comes with an intentionally broad job description, as neither he nor Zaidi want to limit the scope of his responsibilities. In Chicago, Epstein and Hoyer allowed Harris to be involved in decision-making processes related to transactions, player development, international scouting and more.
It’s clear the Giants have lost a Smart Front Office guy, which is not what you want to see when your favorite baseball team is trying to manage a rebuild with no end in sight. How they go about their search will conveniently overshadow a lot of the offseason talk over the next few weeks. Who can we get who will get better players is a great diversion as the team speeds towards a losing season.
But without knowing what the Giants are looking for in their candidates, all we have left is speculation. And that can be boring because we’re very likely to be off the mark. Sure, maybe I think the Giants need a “salesman” to offset Zaidi’s declaration that he’s not a salesman, but what do I know? I’m watching High Fidelity for the 40th time while the Giants are making moves. T
Then there’s the preliminary wish list of names from Bay Area writers: Billy Owens, Pete Putila, Kevan Graves, Jeremy Shelley, Zack Minasian. But let’s not forget McCovey Chronicles’ hometown hero, Anirudh Kilambi.
All good candidates, but whoever the next GM is, I think these are the qualities they’ll need to have to be successful in the position. (Fair warning: some of these are more jokey than serious. See if you can spot them.)
Bay Area Ties
They probably won’t help much, but they couldn’t hurt, either. Maybe just have been born in San Francisco. I just think if the Giants aren’t going to be good for the next few years and maybe never as good as the Dodgers, it might make sense to bring in somebody who is already emotionally connected to the team.
Have a cheery disposition
Rosy cheeks, no warts.
If Zaidi’s hobby is fantasy football, I’d like to see his chief lieutenant be an artist in their spare time. Maybe someone who can play guitar. Imagine, everyone in the front office sitting around the new GM as they jam on, everyone trying to brainstorm the best 26th man on other teams who they might be able to acquire for cash or a player to be named later.
A different point of view or the ability to imagine a different point of view might not be a key ingredient for success in baseball, but it feels a lot like front offices across the sport are, more and more, thinking exactly alike. And maybe that’s always been the case, it’s just that the verbiage has changed in the 21st century, but a dynamic, charismatic presence can stand out in any era.
Never be cross or cruel
Never give us castor oil — or glue!
Comes from a diverse background
This could be skin deep, this could be religions, this could a former player who switched positions, or a TV actor who transitioned to film for all I care, the point is that I’m really hammering this point of view quality because I think it’s important. Not just from a baseball perspective but from a human perspective.
Someone we’ve had a longstanding parasocial relationship with
Okay, wait — that’s not a quality a baseball GM needs to have. I mean, we see lots of people on TV all the time, doesn’t mean they’d make a great general manager. So, why is my brain generating this as a... (looks back through the list)... wait. Have I just been pitching Lisa Bonet as the next general manager this whole time?
Okay, wow, I’m going to go talk to somebody about this.