In all the to-do over players and owners and agents and unions and team loyalty vs. Individualism in sports, the forgotten man is the manager, or coach, who has to handle the new breed of athlete. Sparky Anderson, skipper of the champion Cincinnati Reds, is prepared.
"We have come to a time in baseball that will separate the people who can handle it from those who can't, said Anderson.
"What you are going to need now is imagination enough to keep things movings in the direction they should be moving in. Some of us (managers) will fall by the wayside, but even as Gary Nolan and Rawly Eastwick were joining the staccato, "Gimme a multiyear, stratospheric contract or I play out my opinion," sounded by almost every key Red from two-time MVP Joe Morgan on down. Anderson was declaring financial talk off-limits in the clubhouse and on field.
"That's one of the first things I plan to make clear when I meet with players the first day of spring training. If a player isn't happy with the contract he signed, or the one that has been offered to him, the other players on the club shouldn't have to hear about it. My feeling is, let's play and settle our personal problems on our own time. As for myself, I don't know what the players on the Reds are making and don't want to find out.
"If I saw some of the contracts, I might get sick".