INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – The Toronto Blue Jays have found their next manager, and it’s a man few expected: Philip Seymour Hoffman, who’ll make the unprecedented jump from Hollywood to the big leagues.
NotGraphs’ Investigative Reporting Investigation Team, making the most of their time at the hotel bar at the general manager meetings in Indian Wells, California, is working on confirming that it’s a three-year deal Hoffman has signed with Toronto. Financial details haven’t been disclosed.
The surprising news comes only days after former Oakland A’s manager Art Howe, who Hoffman portrayed in the Oscar-nominated “Moneyball,” expressed an interest in managing the Blue Jays.
Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos, normally tight-lipped on matters of, well, anything and everything, was noticeably pleased about his most recent acquisition.
“Philip really impressed us in his interview. His scope of knowledge really blew us away. He has a vision. And that’s not to say we weren’t impressed by Art Howe, who we of course interviewed, as well. It’s just that Philip was more Art Howe than Art Howe was Art Howe. It was a remarkable performance on Philip’s behalf, and we’re really excited to see it continue over the next three years.”
Hoffman, reached by phone in Malibu, echoed Anthopoulos’ enthusiasm.
“I had a great time on the set of ‘Moneyball,’ so for my role as manager of a Major League Baseball club — a real one, this time — to continue for three years, it’s something I’m very excited about. You know, I’ve always been just as passionate about baseball as movies. And I’ve always loved going up to Toronto for [the Toronto International Film Festival.]”
Anthopoulos, in our conversation with him, was quick to point out that he isn’t worried about butting heads with Hoffman, as Hoffman did in Oakland with A’s general manager Billy Beane.
“No matter what happens, I know I’m going to like Philip a lot more than I ever liked John Farrell,” Anthopoulos said. “Philip’s from New York state; he hates the Red Sox. He’s going to fit in very well.”
Anthopoulos also acknowledged that rumours the Blue Jays wanted a manager with big-league experience were true. In hiring Hoffman, Anthopoulos felt all his needs were satisfied.
“That’s the beauty of Philip — he’s got just as much, if not more, experience than a guy like Art Howe, or any other candidate, for that matter. There’s no hat Philip can’t wear. He won a hundred-plus games in Oakland. I’d rather not say so publicly, but, what the hell: Hollywood actors as managers are the new market inefficiency.”
The Blue Jays and their supporters are about to find out whether that’s in fact the case.
Image credit: visualhollywood.com.