On Tuesday night, word started spreading like wildfire across Twitter that Andy Van Slyke had been spotted at PNC Park and had given a “no comment” when asked by a fan if he was in town to interview for the Pirates’ managerial gig. Because people assume I’m the internet clearing house for Andy Van Slyke rumors (and I’m not, nor am I a reporter, which I know most people know but sometimes bears repeating; I never know things before they’re reported by the real beat writers in newspapers), I started getting questions about it right away. Knowing that Van Slyke recently released a book (a novel, in fact, which he recently gave an entertaining Q&A about with the New York Times) and that he does season ticket holder events from time to time and the last week of the year is when season ticket holder events happen, I didn’t really think much of it and did my best to prevent the rumor from hitting Twitter Defcon-1.
Kristy from Pittsburgh Pine Tar went the extra step, though, and asked Coonelly about the rumor in his weekly chat. As you would’ve expected, Coonelly diffused the rumor and re-iterated that the team would let the public know about each interview after it was completed:
I am not sure how that rumor started, but it is not true. To date, the only candidate that we have interviewed has been Eric Wedge. We will announce to our fans each candidate that we interview at the completion of that interview. Out of respect for the process, we will not be commenting further on the substance of individual interviews until a manager is selected.
And that was all well and good and I was happy with that explanation until Van Slyke went on 93.7 The Fan a few hours later and discussed, among other things, his interest in the Pirates’ managing job and how he met with Frank Coonelly and discussed his views on being a manager.
Now, I’m not here to try and figure out whether or not Van Slyke should or did interview for the job (obviously I think it’d be beyond cool if he were a candidate, but my gut feeling is that it’s not likely he’s on the Huntington/Coonelly list and that’s certainly not the end of the world as he doesn’t have a ton of managing experience or any past association with either of the guys that are running the team) but it just kills me that Coonelly went out in public at noon and played so innocent and semi-indignant as to how this rumor got started, and then like three hours later it comes out that yeah, he did happen to meet with Van Slyke right the team started interviewing candidates to fill the manager’s job. Maybe that’s a coincidence and maybe it’s not (I think it probably is), but is it so hard to understand how people may have gotten the wrong idea? This is why no one takes anything Frank Coonelly says at face value.
Anyways, the main reason to write this post was to post a link to the Van Slyke interview, in case you haven’t heard it. It’s certainly worth a listen.