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The manager can let off some steam by yelling at the umpires. If he hasn't been run out of a game all year he hasn't been doing his job. Bobby Winkles didn't believe in getting on umpires. He didn't even want his players to. But it's part of the game. And if you think you're safe at second and you jump up and start arguing and you look around and your manager's not there, the fans and the umpire and the opposition lose respect for you. They think, "It couldn't have been very close, if his manager's not out there backing him up." If I think my player's right I'll be arguing along with him, and if anybody's going to be run out I'll make sure it's me. If I think he's wrong, I'll go out there and tell him, "O.K., come on." I won't leave him to argue alone.
The main way I'm going to let off steam is by talking out the things that bother me with the players. I'll tell them, and then I'll feel better. As a player I was criticized for being outspoken. I'm always going to be outspoken. I'm going to put being outspoken to use.
I'll also be hitting, for one more year. I think being both designated hitter and manager will work. When I was just a DH, I got mentally stale. I'd sit there on the bench thinking so much about what I was going to do my next time up that by the time I did go to the plate I'd draw a blank. Now I'll have plenty to keep my mind occupied besides what I'm going to do against the pitcher. I don't think I'll get mentally stale next year. If I do have a couple of off moments, though, I won't be the first blank manager.
To tell the truth I don't want to think in terms of being the first anything anymore. I'm planning to put nine individuals on the field to win. If eight of them are black, I know I'll hear about it. I'm sure there have been quotas on clubs in the past—only so many black players on a team, only so many playing. I won't have any quotas. I do plan to do something about the fact, which is ridiculous, that there's never been a black third-base coach in the majors. He and the pitching coach are the only two who really do anything much on most teams.
I do know that black players and Latin players have often suffered from racial attitudes. When people see a black ballplayer dogging it they say he's lazy, like it's an inherent quality. When they see a white player doing the same thing they say he's not putting out what's in him. It may seem a subtle difference, but it affects people's careers.
Latin players—they're away from their country. They feel a little lost, a little withdrawn. What American people don't realize is that we expect them to adjust to us when they're over here, and also when we're over there. Where is their home? Where can they feel at ease? I've known managers to tell Latin players not to speak Spanish in the clubhouse. I'm glad for them to speak Spanish; then I don't have to worry about overhearing it. Though I have surprised a few Latin players by understanding more than they thought I could.
But I don't have any special ideas on how to handle black players or Latin players or white players. Jackie Robinson once said I wouldn't make a good manager because I didn't make enough waves. Well, he didn't start speaking out on civil rights until he got out of baseball. People have different ways of doing things.
I am black, and I don't ignore that fact. But I'm not going out there as a black manager, I'm going out there to manage. Judge me by how I do my job. If I don't do it, fire me.