Recently there's been quite a bit of discussion here and elsewhere about how important it is (or isn't) that our next skipper have prior major-league-managerial experience. Some fans will always prefer a candidate with MLB -- or at least AAA -- experience, while others would prefer a less-experienced manager who might be less tied to traditional ideas.
Lately I've been thinking that maybe we're placing the emphasis on the wrong kind of experience.
Here's what I mean: As many posters here have pointed out, big-league managers make relatively few decisions that actually impact the outcome of the game. Batting order makes a very minimal difference. Managing the bullpen and the bench is certainly important, but again, those decisions only occur a few times per game. I think we could take nearly any member here on Bucs Dugout, install them as interim manager of any major league club for a week, and the results would not be particularly different. (note: this does not apply to BFD1 and his ilk).
What am I getting at? I think too much is made of previous MLB experience . . . and not enough attention paid to actual personnel-management skills. In other words, search for people who are good natural leaders, have strong decision making skills, and can manage a large group of people, and then pick the one with the most baseball acumen.
In other situations, it's not as uncommon to jump fields. Here's an example: If you were opening a swanky new restaurant, who would you rather have manage it -- someone who had successfully managed a large retail store, or a former waiter? It makes more sense to look for someone with experience at that position than someone with experience in that field.
All this is not meant to be in defense of Van Slyke, or any other lesser-experienced candidate. I'd just like them to make a manager decision based on how good a person is at actually managing people, not how much baseball they've seen and played. Baseball is a strategic game, but it isn't rocket science. I'd rather have a legitimate leader.