Speier: To learn about himself, Ben Cherington decided to teach

From Alex Speier at the Boston Globe on May 2, 2016, with mention of SABR President Vince Gennaro:

Ben Cherington had spent his entire adult life working for the Boston Red Sox. When he parted ways with them last August, electing to leave his post as GM after the hiring of Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations, he felt a need to process both his 18-year history as an employee of the Red Sox and the abrupt end of that tenure.

Undoubtedly, there could have been opportunities to race forward. Cherington’s relationships throughout the game are such that a number of teams would have welcomed him to their front offices. But Cherington wasn’t interested in racing into something so close to what he’d just left behind, particularly given the difficulty of his last two seasons with the Red Sox.


Cherington felt like he could re-examine his front office career in a productive way so long as he wasn’t immersed in the day-to-day operations of a team. Because he was no longer working for the Red Sox, he could hold a wide variety of conversations that had been impossible in his former job. He could engage other baseball executives in a self-assessment that would have been almost impossible with a competitor. He had the time to reach out to people in other walks of life – whether executives in other sports or people who didn’t work in sports.

Among the people he contacted was Vince Gennaro, the president of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and the director of the sports management program in Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies.

“I was No. 63 on the list,” Gennaro joked of Cherington’s list of conversations.

Gennaro and Cherington had met briefly on a couple of occasions, but didn’t know each other particularly well. Still, Gennaro found it hard to contain his enthusiasm about the prospect of involving a former baseball GM, just three years removed from a championship, in his program.

“As a potential guest lecturer … Ben would have been an unbelievable get,” said Gennaro. “I immediately started thinking, ‘Wow – if Ben was willing to become involved in some way with the program…’”

Over lunch, Gennaro proposed that Cherington join the program as a guest faculty member for the spring term. Within a couple of days, he’d agreed.

The idea of teaching – particularly as the conversation quickly focused on the idea of Cherington teaching one of three sections of the program’s required class on “Leadership and Personnel Management” – resonated.

Read the full article here: https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/redsox/2016/05/02/learn-about-himself-ben-cherington-decided-teach/8beErGcwJOgSZPQtplmQTN/story.html

Originally published: May 2, 2016. Last Updated: May 2, 2016.