"You can communicate with him," McCovey said.
"There's no nonsense from him," said Schofield. "He plays you as long as he can, and then he just tells you you're not playing. He's not a con man."
"He has faith in the players' ability," said Warren Spahn, the venerable pitcher who was picked up by the Giants in still another what-can-we-lose transaction. "He runs a happy house here. What can I tell you? Maybe that other stuff is overrated."
That other stuff is the public-relations aspect of managing a big-league team. Generally a manager paid $40,000 a year is paid $30,000 for managing and $10,000 for answering reporters' questions and furnishing them with angles for their stories. All managers make some conscious effort to "get along" with the press, and the less secure of them go to some lengths to curry favor, the better to look good when the team looks bad. The New York Mets are looking for a new manager to succeed Casey Stengel, whose principal talent was the employment of "my writers" as an instrument of his art. Interim manager Wes West-rum, a pro who has quickly demonstrated his acumen as a strategist, has little chance for the job, because the front office is seeking not a person, but a personality—a "color" man who can make a bad team seem interesting to the press, as well as to the undiscriminating "new breed" fans.
Franks, possibly because his business interests in and around Salt Lake City make him financially independent, does not electioneer. Indeed, most of his colloquy with reporters this year has seemed like a study in ways to lose friends and alienate people.
"Who are you going to pitch tomorrow, Herman?"
"Now, what the hell would you want to ask a goddam question like that for?"
End of interview.
"I know it's part of my job to talk to you guys," Franks says, "but I don't feel that I have to kiss your feet. With the number of people I have to deal with, I don't have the time to get to know each of them individually. It's up to them to get to know me. All I know is that the people who take the time to get to know me like me."