McEwing proud to be considered manager material

White Sox third-base coach among top candidates

McEwing proud to be considered manager material

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Joe McEwing didn't go looking for new baseball jobs during this past offseason, but other Major League teams certainly came calling.

In fact, the White Sox third-base coach interviewed for three managerial openings in the same week a little more than one week after the 2014 season came to a close. McEwing wasn't hired by the D-backs, Rangers or Twins, but the upbeat McEwing wasn't disappointed in the jobs going to Chip Hale, Jeff Banister and Paul Molitor, respectively.

"I'm not disappointed at all. I'm honored to be brought up in that capacity, and to go through it was unbelievable," McEwing said. "When teams call and ask for permission, it's a good feeling because to be thought of in that nature … . There are 30 jobs out there and they are all special jobs."

McEwing, 42, first interviewed for a Major League manager's job after the 2011 season when his mentor, Tony La Russa, retired. He had just been brought on to Robin Ventura's staff and was literally starting as manager for the Arizona Fall League's Mesa Solar Sox. He did not get that job, but received positive feedback from the Cardinals about his interview.

"It was a place I grew up with in baseball," said McEwing of interviewing with the Cardinals. "I was drafted by them, came through the system, got to the big leagues with them. To have the opportunity to go back and go through that process with the team that you came up with and kind of groomed you to be in that situation, it was an unbelievable experience.

"You tell them what's in your heart and just be yourself. At the end of the day, you can look yourself in the mirror and say I was prepared for it and you gave it every opportunity you got."

Preparation time became tight for his recent round of interviews. McEwing was in Arizona on a Monday, when he spoke with D-backs general manager Dave Stewart and La Russa, who is now the chief baseball officer in Arizona. He left Arizona on Tuesday and flew to Texas, where he interviewed with the Rangers for more than seven hours on Wednesday. He flew home to Pennsylvania that night, had Thursday off and then flew to Minnesota for Friday's interview.

McEwing was grateful for the permission granted by the White Sox to talk to these teams. The White Sox, in turn, won't stand in the way of a step forward for one of their own.

"If it's clearly a promotion and it's something a guy truly wants to do, then we are going to give him the opportunity to explore it," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "At the same time, we give our employees our honest read on whether we think it's a good opportunity or not such a good opportunity as almost more a friend and a colleague than as an employer -- trying to explain, 'Yeah, this is a good thing. You should really look into it and take it seriously.' Or, 'For these reasons, perhaps there might be something better if you are more patient.'

"In general, once the employee believes this is something I'd like to pursue and it's an opportunity for advancement, we are not going to stand in his way."

Managing was not to be this time around. Instead, it was a week-long learning process that can be applied to future interviews by McEwing, who already has shown his capabilities managing for three years in the White Sox system along with his AFL stint.

"He knew how to relate to us. He knew when to push us. He knew when to pat us on the back," said White Sox reliever Nate Jones, who played for McEwing at Class A Advanced Winston-Salem. "We saw how he fought for us. He stuck up for his players and that gained our respect. We wanted to do our best job for him out there on the field. He was a great manager, for sure."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.