Ben Cherington

Deciphering why Ben Cherington is with team on road trip

Rob Bradford
May 13, 2015 - 1:19 pm

OAKLAND -- When Ben Cherington showed up at Coliseum Monday, all kind of theories regarding his presence started swirling, including that the Red Sox general manager was scouting A's starter Scott Kazmir for a potential trade. It is a rite of passage, after all, to raise some eyebrows when any decision-maker shows up somewhere other than his home park. (A notion solidified in the movie "Slap Shot" when Charlestown Chiefs GM Joe McGrath jumps aboard the team bus.) But, as Cherington points out, the real reason for his presence isn't nearly as intriguing as some would hope. "You try to do it about once a month and I tend to take all the New York ones, because it feels like it'€™s the right thing to do," he explained. "Personally I think it'€™s probably best the GM isn'€™t there all the time." As for the notion that trips like this one have a specific purpose, Cherington said, "I know a couple of people do [think that], but I never know why. It'€™s just part of the schedule. "If something is going I need to be there for I'€™ll go, but 99 percent of the time it'€™s just what is scheduled. As GM, I don'€™t remember ever being with the team on the road where it just hasn'€™t been part of the schedule." So, why go at all? The team almost always has a representative from the front office at each road series, with assistant GM Mike Hazen having joined the team in Toronto and scheduled to link up with them again in Seattle. "It'€™s a little easier on the road to have conversations with staff and players because at home there'€™s just more going on," Cherington said. "Everybody is in the same place on the road. It just depends on what'€™s going on. I'€™m trying to support the staff, talk through things and touch base with players. "You can pretty much do this job from anywhere. You just need a laptop and a phone no matter where you are." Besides making the current trip to the West Coast, this time of year Cherington and other general managers) will have to hit the road a bit more than usual due to the June amateur draft. But, as he explained, even the GM's presence when watching potential draftees can be overstated. "Somebody will make a deal of me being somewhere to see an amateur player. It'€™s almost never about seeing that player, but rather that'€™s the opportunity to go spend some time with your scouts and connect with them," said Cherington, who will go out about 10 times a season to watch amateurs. "I'€™m not sitting in the draft room and saying, '€˜I saw this guy on May 13 and this is what he did.'€™ I'€™m just not doing that."