McCullough: How Dodgers GM Zaidi became one of baseball’s most coveted minds

From Andy McCullough at the Los Angeles Times on March 30, 2017:

A general manager mourns the loss of a baseball season in private, away from the pervasive gaze of the public and the impressionable minds of his subordinates, and so in October of last year, insomnia haunted Farhan Zaidi.

The on-field personnel can rage or weep or shrug. The leaders of the front office must be stoic, proud of the accomplishments just completed, hopeful for the days to come, unable to reveal the depth of their anguish.

“That moment in the middle of the night when you wake up is the only time when you are allowed to feel the pain yourself,” Zaidi said.

He would shake loose from slumber around 3 a.m., unsettled by memories of the Dodgers’ playoff defeat to the Chicago Cubs: A misplaced slider by Joe Blanton, an umpire’s debatable call on Adrian Gonzalez. He fixated on the tiniest moments of a squandered chance to end his team’s championship drought.

To Zaidi, the season mirrored the plight of Sisyphus. In those sleepless hours, he imagined himself staring at the boulder as it rolled down a hill.

Outsiders often view Zaidi as a clinical, camera-shy cog in the Dodgers’ executive cadre. His colleagues see him as a wisecracking, idea-spewing agent of innovation. Alone in the dark, he considers himself a 40-year-old man exhausted by the cruelty of his profession. His office resides in the shadow of Hollywood, but each year his sport provides misery for every team but one.

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Originally published: March 30, 2017. Last Updated: March 30, 2017.