Pirates interview Macha, Banister
On Tuesday, the Pirates interviewed Ken Macha and Jeff Banister for the managerial job –the fourth and fifth candidates since John Russell was relieved on October 4th.
(The interview panel includes General Manager Neal Huntington, President Frank Coonelly, as well as farm and scouting directors)
Macha has strong ties with Pittsburgh; he was born in Monroeville, PA and is a current resident of the steel city. Macha also went to the University of Pittsburgh and was selected by the Bucs in the 6th round of the 1972 draft. The third baseman is a career .258 hitter with one home run and 35 RBI during his six years in the majors.
Macha was fired from Managing the Brewers at the end of the 2010 season after serving as the skipper since 2008 (Milwaukee finished below .500 in both ’09 and ’10). He also managed the Oakland Athletics from 2003-2006. In his six years combined as manager, his record is 525-447.
Banister has spent the past 25 years in the Pirates organization. During that span he was a minor league coach from 1994-1999, from 99-02 Banister served as the Pirates major league field coordinator, and was the minor league field coordinator from 2002-2010. He was named interim bench coach after the Pirates fired Gary Varsho this past August.
Drafted by the Pirates in the 25th round of the 1986 draft, Banister made one only major league appearance –in 1991, as a pinch-hitter.
It is clear that Banister wants to remain with the Pirates:
“That’s an obvious yes,” Banister said. “There’s a lot of guys I know very well who’ve come up through our system that are there. They’ve developed, they continue to develop. They’re not finished by any stretch of the imagination. I’d love to continue that if Neal, [president] Frank [Coonelly] and [owner] Bob [Nutting] allow that to happen.
“My passion is for this organization and where I think we can go and where I think we are going. It’s unfinished for me. I grew up in this uniform and there are a lot of things I think we can and will do. I’m sure some people think we are a ways away. I see it every day, and I know we’re not that far away. There’s a really strong nucleus of talented athletes that take the field every day. There is some finishing that needs to go along with their Major League experience before they truly know what it takes to win on an every-day basis. Hopefully, I’m part of that, in whatever capacity that is.”
Now that we have seen five candidates interview for the manager job (Wedge, Porter, Gibbons, Macha and Banister) I was curious what the Pirates’ fans thought of potentially one of these guys being the new Pirates manager. So I jumped on twitter and asked the questions: What do you think of Ken Macha as the new Manager and of the five that interviewed who would you like see get the job? Here are some of the responses I got:
@Laclips: I want van slyke
Unfortunately, President Frank Coonelly denied the rumor of Van Slyke interviewing with the Bucs. I would love to see him as a base coach though.
@ClevelandROC (on Macha) he was a loser in both oakland and milwaukee…and apparently, players don’t relate to him at all. you need that with a young team. They need someone much more dynamic. They need someone who will inspire the younger players and help them grow. i hope they go after some like boston pitching coach john farrell. he has a lot of experience with young pitchers…
Farrell has not been interviewed as of yet by the Pirates but according to the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette he is a potential candidate.
@PiratesProspects (on Macha) He’s not good at dealing with young players.
@pghsportstavern theres better candidates out there especially for young players than ken macha. i like wedge’s work with younger rebuilding teams.
@damntheman44 Bannister cause he knows the players well and has served in many roles in player development.
@3rdboss I heart Ken Macha. The question should be why would Macha want to manage the Pirates?? I’d love to see Macha.
My take would be that since he grew up in Pittsburgh he would probably enjoy managing the team he watched as a little boy. (He also interviewed as manager in 2006). I would also think a manager would enjoy takig pride in helping turn the franchise around.
@tonyframpton If I were Neal, Wedge. But I’d like to interview F. Gonzalez first.
@djpeck21 Of those interviewed? Wedge. Love what he did with young CLE team. Runner-up: Porter/Bannister tie. Want no part of Gibbons/Macha.
And of course..It wouldn’t be right if we didn’t have a negative comment against the Pirates:
@ej6687 Yeah, if they hire Ken Macha, I think I’ll just pass on watching next season…..
I personally don’t think a “good” manager makes much of a difference as far as wins and losses go, talent plays a much bigger role. So if watching the young guys like McCutchen, Alvarez, Walker, Tabata (and many more in the minors and on their way)doesn’t draw your attention, I’m not sure what will.
Another Possible candidate? Pirates’ beat writer Jenifer Langosh blogged about Giants’ bench coach Ron Wotus’ interest in managing the Bucs.