Are all MLB managers out-of-touch, middle-age-to-elderly men, clueless about what's hip and cool?
Coachella, the massive uber-trendy desert concert festival, has drawn hundreds of thousands of music fans over the last two weekends outside Los Angeles, and because it has the word "coach" in its name we have to wonder: What is the likelihood that MLB managers have any idea what Coachella is? I polled friends, beat writers and various people in the know and came up with a ranking from least to most likely:
30. Davey Johnson. One Nats writer told me, "There is a fantastic chance he thinks it's a coaching clinic."
29. Ron Gardenhire. Twins writer: "There is less than .05 percent chance he knows about it."
28. Terry Collins. Plenty of the Coachella bands share his intensity, but that's the only trait they share. No way he knows.
27. Charlie Manuel. Thinks it's a Latin phrase for base coach. Would be stunning if he drawled, "Feist plays tomorrow. Love her."
26. Jim Leyland. He loves the newer music out these days, like Bruce Hornsby and the Range.
25. Buck Showalter. He'll change the topic to seeing Charlie Daniels once in Starkville, Miss. in the summer of 1972.
24. Joe Girardi. The only men with flattops who attend Coachella wear lots of leather and don't carry around binders.
23. Bobby Valentine. He'll say he knows it. "Oh sure, I do." But ask him a follow-up question and he'll get it wrong. He doesn't have a clue.
22. Eric Wedge. A Mariners blogger: "Uh, there's a chance, but less than 2 percent. Never seen him in a Thundercats t-shirt."
21. Ron Roenicke. He attended college less than two hours from Indio, California where Coachella is staged. Emotionally, it was a longer distance. No way he knows.
20. Mike Scioscia. For someone in SoCal who is on TV a lot he received too many, "G#% no!, Not Scioscia."
19. John Farrell. His son Luke, who is a student-athlete at Northwestern, puts it gently, "My dad doesn't know the first thing about music."
18. Brad Mills. Just because you are from California and have kids doesn't mean you know about it.
17. Don Mattingly. He's smack dab in the middle because beat writers say his kids keep him hip. Then his son Preston told me, "Uh, no."
16. Ned Yost. Rumor has it he had a second career as a taxidermist in Jackson, Mississippi in between his playing and coaching days. That doesn't bode well for him knowing the Arctic Monkeys or Swedish House Mafia.
15. Dale Sveum. The dip between his teeth will be heavily featured at the Dawes show, but jury is out on Sveum knowing the festival.
14. Jim Tracy. Even if he knows about it, his voice sounds like the sheriff that shows up to see if the concert promoter has all the correct permits.
13. Ozzie Guillen. Please don't ask him. Seriously. I'm afraid he'll say he hates the Black Keyes and someone will think he's talking about someone in the Florida Keys and everyone will get upset again.
12. Ron Washington. Ron parties so he's in the top 12, but barely. Balding guys with the Bozo-ring aren't seen in big numbers at the festival. Tough call on Wash. Maybe Lil' Wash goes instead.
11. Kirk Gibson. Most polarizing. Received several "Gibby is hip" and "No way Gibson knows it." He had a long conversation with the drummer of Rival Sons and talked knowledgeably about music.
10. Fredi Gonzalez. I'm not sure how riding motorcycles correlates with knowing Florence + The Machine, but he does and that gives him more indie-cred than Ron Roenicke.
9. Mike Matheny. I could be giving him ‘concert under the stars' credit for (almost) sharing a surname with Pat Metheny, but he's young, good looking, speaks fluent Spanish and probably loves Friday Night Lights. Explosions in the Sky is performing tonight so he's in the top 10.
8. Clint Hurdle. I know, right? In all my research I was most surprised by the number of "Oh, hell yeah Hurdle knows it". I should have him higher but it feels unbelievable. No one whose hat moves that much while chewing gum knows Bon Iver.
7. Bob Melvin's smiling/sunny disposition resembles the too-old-to-be-there concert goer that will be sitting in front of you at Radiohead this weekend slurring, "Kaaaaaarma Police!" That's worth something.
6. Robin Ventura. Most radio/TV/beat folks, when guessing, always come back to "Well, he's got HS/college-age kids and they keep him hip," or, "He's from California so, probably, yes, he knows." Both true for Ventura. But he'd be the only concert-goer with Oakley Blades.
5. Manny Acta. He's the surprise of the list but he tweeted about music during spring training and is 10 years younger than you think. He's the sneaky member of the Top 5.
4. Dusty Baker. He knows everything about everything. One writer: "He'd go if they didn't have games those weekends." Knows everyone. He's friends with Hologram Tupac.
3. Bruce Bochy. "He knows about that stuff. He probably knows about Burning Man too." The Burning Man MLB coaches knowledge chart is a tad bit smaller.
2. Bud Black. Most NL West writers said, "Bud Black is a cool dude. He knows it." They could be giving him extra credit for having a first name that many 24-year-olds will be holding this weekend at the venue. Wouldn't be surprised if he has all The Shins CDs.
1. Joe Maddon. He beat-boxes, plays the mandolin, dated Cat Power and is Snoop Dogg's Dogfather. He likes Gotye, Neon Indian and M83 but thinks The Hives and DJ Shadow are overrated. He prefers House over dub-step and tells anyone that will listen that Noel Gallagher is actually a great guy. He's the first MLB manager to get signed by True Religion jeans.