So what do we know about Wakamatsu? Not a ton in that (a) those of us back east haven't gotten to see a bunch of A's games recently; and (b) even if we had, it's not like a bench coach leaves an impression on fans. To be honest, I hadn't even heard of the position of bench coach until Don Zimmer's telegenic mug started showing up on FOX World Series broadcasts all the damn time in the late 90s. Until someone tells me differently, I will remain convinced that "bench coach" is German for "drinking buddy of the manager."
At any rate, Wakamatsu has tentative approval from the folks that matter in this, and that's the good fellows of U.S.S. Mariner:
I still think we should be encouraged by this hiring. Not necessarily because we have any reason to think that Wakamatsu will be one of those few that make a significant positive impact, but because of the way this entire process was handled. I know a lot of you were concerned when Zduriencik was hired that this was just going to be more of the same, with huge amounts of micro-managing from Armstrong and Lincoln, and a perpetuation of old school, 20th century ways of running an organization.
Instead, we’ve seen Zduriencik clean house in the front office, make his #2 guy a man with significant statistical leanings and empower him to create a department of baseball research, and now interviewed seven managerial candidates with no experience and picked the guy whose reputation is for being extremely well prepared in pregame analysis and comes from the A’s organization. In picking Wakamatsu, he bypassed Joey Cora, who was clearly the guy the suits upstairs had a preference for, and went with the man he felt was best equipped to help this team win.
So there's that. As for the rest of us, I exchanged a couple of emails with Sara K last night, and both of are pleased that Jose Oquendo wasn't picked. Not because he'd be a bad manager, but because we both like him, we both think of him as a St. Louis Cardinal and a St. Louis Cardinal alone, and that him not getting the Seattle job means that Tony La Russa's doomsday clock can continue ticking unabated.