The Real Poop
Apple Pie. Hot dogs. The Fourth of July. Baseball. These are the four main food groups of the American spirit.
Baseball is the iconic American sport. From April to October each year, millions of fans spend billions of dollars enjoying their favorite summer game (sorry, beach volleyball).
Lovers of baseball all agree that, despite its endless innings, long stretches of nothingness, severe build-ups, horrible let-downs, and the occasional Hall of Fame-disqualifying performance-enhancing-drug scandal, there's nothing better than spending a day at the ballpark.
The thing about baseball is that, despite the million-dollar contracts and superstar profiles, no single player is guiding the team. Whether the baller's an eight-year-old with allergies, an eighteen-year-old phenom with a mean curveball, or a twenty-eight-year-old major league veteran, they'll have to get used to listening to the feedback of those baseball experts who came before.
And those experts—who, by the way, average a million dollars a season for spreading that wisdom—are the baseball managers.
Or coach. Or skipper. Or Big Kahuna (okay, not that one).
If you're passionate about the game, have an obsession for its minutiae, and would like to be the Yoda of bunts, hit-and-runs, and squeeze plays, then you may be destined to lead a storied franchise to its next pennant.
But you don't have to do it all yourself; as is the case with most pro sports, each team has a whole coaching staff, each coach having particular areas of expertise, like hitting or strength and conditioning (source). As the manager, it'll be your job to fill your staff with the best combo of personalities and skill sets to make sure your players aren't wasting their cleats-and-jockstrap time.
The manager's main job is, basically, to make the decisions that win games and keep the players out of trouble—both of which are easier said than done. Even if everyone on your team plays by the rules, they're human beings with varying levels of skills and emotions.
You must be adept at keeping your players happy, focused, and productive. Since you'll be dealing with players from all over the world, most of whom were the best ballplayers in their respective Whereversvilles, you'll need to figure out how each individual responds to adversity.
When you're not worrying about your shortstop's eleven-game hitting slump or your catcher's broken thumb or your center fielder's boneheaded comments on Twitter, you're worrying about how those things will affect your lineup. After all, even the smallest change in the batting order can mean the difference between a win and a loss. It's your job to figure out the best way to put it all together.
As the manager, personnel decisions are up to you, from draft day to the final batter in the last game of the World Series (if you make it that far). You'll have to draw on your days as a player to make sure you can relate to your team—but you can't be too nice.
You might have to instill a curfew when necessary and remind the boys exactly who steers the ship. Most of the time they'll listen—after all, entire careers could depend on whether or not you're willing to give a struggling pitcher a second chance. You'll play the roles of both fairy godmother and dream crusher when you decide on the final roster.
Whether you're managing the New York Yankees or the Batavia Muckdogs, your job is basically the same. The only difference is that the Yankees pay way more, fly first class, eat gourmet meals, and get superstar treatment...while the Muckdogs don't actually exist.
So why should you go for this job? Because you love baseball almost as much as you love calling the shots. You're the boss of everyone except the owner and general manager.
When it comes to the game, what you say goes—until the umpire thinks it's time for you to go. When that happens, you can walk out on the field, kick some dirt, throw some bases, and make a YouTube-worthy scene on your way to the locker room. There's no reason you can't be the center of attention sometimes.
And unless the league fines you, you'll still totally get paid for it. Not a bad way to earn a living.