Banister interviews, doesn't get Astros job

Banister interviews, doesn't get Astros job

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister, a finalist for the Houston managerial job that went to A.J. Hinch on Monday, thanked the Astros organization for the opportunity to realize dream job No. 2. But Banister was also grateful to still have dream job No. 1.

"Am I disappointed I didn't get that opportunity? Absolutely," Banister said a couple hours before the Astros formally introduced Hinch. "But I still have the best job in baseball. I get to show up tomorrow, put on the black and gold and prepare for a playoff game against the San Francisco Giants."

Banister, a Houston native who lives about 20 minutes from Minute Maid Park, had been informed on Sunday of the Astros' decision.

"It would've been a great opportunity to manage the team that was my Major League team [as a fan] until I became a Pirate, and awesome for my family, but I'm happy to be with a group and an organization I absolutely love," Banister said. "This is also my family."

That feeling is obviously mutual. General manager Neal Huntington, manager Clint Hurdle and others voiced their passionate support for Banister to Houston officials as he went through two rounds of interviews.

"That was humbling and overwhelming," Banister said. "And emotional -- but that's the culture we've created here. It makes me proud that I've reached and touched people around me.

"Houston treated me with class and integrity, and gave me an opportunity to speak about their position. I thank them for that."

A member of the Pirates organization for more than two decades in a variety of roles, Banister interviewed four years ago with the club for the job that went to Hurdle. The interview with Houston was his first outside the organization.

It should not be the last. The Twins dismissed manager Ron Gardenhire on Monday, and other vacancies could be upcoming.

"I never chase a position," Banister said. "If you're good enough and are recognized, people will find you.

"I'd love to be a candidate to manage if other opportunities present themselves. The greatest compliment I could pay to the Pittsburgh family, the people who taught me, is to take what we have done here and put it to use in another organization. If someone asked me to interview for their job, it would be the ultimate compliment to Clint and to Neal and to [club president Frank Coonelly] and to [club chairman Bob Nutting]. To take what we have created here and apply it elsewhere."

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.