McCullough: How baby boomer managers reach these dang millennial players

From Andy McCullough at the Los Angeles Times on June 8, 2019:

Ron Washington signed his first baseball contract in 1970. He played his final game in the major leagues in 1989. He became a coach in the 1990s. The Texas Rangers hired him to manage their team in 2006. He persists in this, his fifth decade in the sport, as a coach for the Atlanta Braves and a sage noted for connecting with players.

Earlier this year, Washington turned 67. He is a baby boomer surrounded at the ballpark each day by millennials. He traverses the generational gap by seeking to impart wisdom and unlock the potential of his pupils.

“Today, they don’t know what work ethic is,” Washington said. “They don’t know what consistency means. And consistency means you’ve got to go on the field and work at your craft. We worked at our craft consistently back in those days.”

The rhetoric espoused by Washington has been echoed, perhaps in varied tones, throughout the industry. During this decade, the landscape of advanced metrics has flattened; all 30 teams employ analytics departments. The latest advancements focus on player development rather than talent procurement. The best organizations strive to optimize their players. To do so requires communication above all.

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Originally published: June 10, 2019. Last Updated: June 10, 2019.