Wulf: An ordinary day in Jeff Banister’s extraordinary life

From SABR member Steve Wulf at ESPN.com on July 22, 2016:

The guy walking into Fenway Park at 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday, July 5, looks like an older college student: plaid shirt, jeans, backpack.

In actuality, Jeff Banister is the manager of one of the best teams in the American League, a job that delights but hardly defines him. He’s a dutiful son and a doting father of two, a former major league catcher (1-for-1!), a presumed Pirates lifer, a Texan through and through, and a survivor of both bone cancer and a temporarily paralyzing home-plate collision.

He’s also a man who’s liable to open the daily media briefing in his office this way: “OK, what’s your favorite song?”

That question, asked on this arduous 10-game road trip, elicited a little head-scratching by the writers and mic holders, then a variety of responses: songs from artists ranging from Train to Kris Kristofferson to Nirvana to Tommy James and the Shondells (“Crystal Blue Persuasion”?!). When Banister was pressed for his own choice, he said, “I’m tempted to go with the theme from ‘The Good, The Bad and the Ugly,’ but my wife would kill me if I didn’t choose Restless Heart’s “I’ll Still Be Loving You.” That was our wedding song.”

Was there a motive in opening his briefing that way? “Not really. I just like to connect with people, learn a little something about them.”

Read the full article here: http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/17105239/texas-rangers-manager-jeff-banister-long-journey-major-leagues

Originally published: July 22, 2016. Last Updated: July 22, 2016.