Above everything else, it's about managing people. Running a big league baseball team is so much more than that, but this is where it starts. This is also where many managers fail.
That's why I think Michael Young might be a perfect choice to manage the Texas Rangers. First, he'd be a huge public-relations coup, and after all that has happened the last two years, the Rangers could use one.
One day, it was their most popular player, Josh Hamilton, bolting to sign with the Angels. Another, it was team president Nolan Ryan resigning after a spat with general manager Jon Daniels.
And there were the late-season problems, letting the AL West slip away in the final week of the 2012 season and losing an extra regular-season game last year to miss the AL Wild Card Game.
This season was going to be Daniels' chance to reestablish his expertise at assembling a winning baseball team. His blueprint was shredded when injuries decimated the roster, and the Rangers likely will finish with the worst record in baseball. Then, popular manager Ron Washington abruptly resigned without explanation.
Young could bring a dose of feel-good news. He's probably the third-most popular player in franchise history, behind Ryan and Hamilton. He's a seven-time All-Star and was the face of the franchise for a lot of his 12 seasons (2001-2012), especially the years before they became competitive and won two straight American League championships in 2010-2011.
He played with Alex Rodriguez when the Rangers were attempting to build the franchise around the star. He saw how that experiment failed. He also played with Vladimir Guerrero, who was extremely popular, a guy around whom players rallied.
Young knows that the game is not easy, and because he had an awareness of the people around him, he would know that every player isn't going to care as much as he cared. He was a leader in a quiet way, a guy who led more by example, but would also say what needed to be said. He was universally respected by his managers and teammates alike.
Young's journey was not without some bumps in the road. He was asked to change positions three times in his career and wasn't always the good soldier. He asked to be traded at least once and feuded with Daniels a time or two. They're said to have resolved their differences during a long chat at a mutual friend's wedding last winter.
Because of all this, Young understands that managing a team means interacting with players with different levels of talent and all kinds of different motivations. To be able to unite them in the quest of a common goal is what managing in the big leagues is about.
Young would be viewed almost the same way Ryan was when he returned to the franchise and took over as team president in February 2008. Fans trusted Ryan in a way they'd never trusted anyone else. To many, it's no coincidence the Rangers were in the World Series two seasons later.
That was a large leap for a franchise that had never won as much as a playoff series in its first 38 seasons of existence. Daniels deserved more credit than Ryan for the success, but from a PR standpoint, the optics of Ryan sitting there in the front row spoke volumes.
With Rangers' home attendance down for a third straight year, with it off almost 700,000 from two years ago, the Rangers need to do more than simply hire a competent manager. They need someone to inspire confidence in fans. Young is the only potential replacement for Washington who could instantly win over the fan base.
Wait, you're saying, Michael Young has no experience. Hasn't been a big league coach. Hasn't even managed a bowling team. How is he qualified to manage against Mike Scioscia and Bob Melvin in the American League West?
Baseball people once agreed that a guy needed managerial experience, at least in the minors. If he didn't have managerial experience, he at least needed to have sat there beside a Gene Mauch or an Earl Weaver and taken notes. But general managers have become convinced in recent years that previous managerial experience is not a make-or-break deal.
Mike Matheny had never so much as worn a big league uniform since his playing career ended. But Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak hired him in November 2011 because he was the leader of the Cardinals during his playing days.
He also had the presence and demeanor of a great leader, and Mozeliak figured that if he surrounded him with smart coaches, he might have himself the right guy to replace a legend, Tony La Russa.
Matheny is about to lead the Cardinals to a third straight playoff appearance. To say he has been a smashing success would be an understatement. He had no experience, but he had something at least as important. He had a feel for what players need. He had a feel for the games, for umpires and for dealing with the media and fans.
When another future Hall of Famer, Jim Leyland, retired last winter, Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski turned to Brad Ausmus.
Like Matheny, Ausmus had never managed a game. Like Matheny, he was a leader on most of his teams, a de facto captain. He's also smart and engaging and the kind of man that others tend to trust. In a year when the Tigers have played inconsistently, Ausmus has drawn nice reviews.
There's absolutely no reason Young couldn't do the job as well as Matheny and Ausmus have done theirs. Daniels would surround him with a competent staff and assist him at every step along the way.
No amount of managing in the minor leagues can completely prepare someone. Some of baseball's most competent coaches have spoken of being overwhelmed by the speed of the game and the rapidity with which they must make decisions when they're hired to manage.
Some of them adjust. Some can't. If the Rangers are looking for a sure thing, they'd better attempt to lure Jim Leyland out of retirement. Otherwise, they simply have to measure everything that can be measured and go from there.
In the end, though, it's a people business. It's being able and willing to deal with people straightforward and honestly. When you consider how much input many front offices have in generating lineups, defensive alignments and favorable late-inning match-ups, it can't be overstated how important that quality is.
Let's face it, there are dozens and dozens of qualified people out there. The Rangers' interim manager, Tim Bogar, is one of those. So is pitching coach Mike Maddux. Daniels couldn't go wrong with either. And while Young's hiring would create a bit of extra buzz, it could not fix everything. That's okay. There's a long off-season ahead. He'd simply be one step in the right direction.
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Richard Justice is a Sports on Earth contributor who joined MLB.com as an executive correspondent in 2011. He has covered Major League Baseball for more than three decades and offers his insight on MLB.com and MLB.com/live.