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Updated: June 27, 2010, 11:03 PM ET

Managing in Showalter, Valentine's personalities

Ravech By Karl Ravech
Credibility, success, exposure, fit … what are the right ingredients when a team considers hiring a manager? At "Baseball Tonight," we are in the unique position of having two very qualified ex-managers on our staff who at this time appear to be very much in demand in Buck Showalter and Bobby Valentine. On Sunday, both men were in studio and on set -- talk about fascinating dynamics.

The facts, as of Sunday afternoon, were this: Bobby has spoken with the Marlins once. There is no contract, no offer, no parameters. He is a candidate for the job. Bobby might have a wish list for a job, but at this point he claims not to even know what would be on it. Buck met with the Orioles on Wednesday for roughly three hours. No contract offer was made. He is very much a candidate for the job.

My belief is that both want to manage again. Bobby told me Sunday that his greatest accomplishment while in uniform was managing the Chiba Lotte Marines to a Japan and then an Asia League championship. It was the first time in 31 years Chiba Lotte won it all. Buck brought the Yankees to the brink of a championship. In 2004, he took Mark Teixeira, Hank Blalock, Michael Young and Alfonso Soriano in Texas and made them believe they could win. Buck helped raise the Diamondbacks from birth through puberty and straight into manhood before being let go. You really think that Arizona was better off without Buck than with him? Please. A guy who twice won the manager of the year award does not -- not now, not ever -- forget how to manage or somehow lose his ability. Never could understand that. I digress.

Generally, all a baseball fan wants to know is why his or her team is not playing well. When the team plays well, no one asks any questions, unless it's the Yankees. In their case, the team could be winning but an individual, say a pitcher such as A.J. Burnett, could be struggling. The fan then wants to know what's wrong with him? With the uncertainty in Florida and the desperation in Baltimore, it is easy to see why the fans are curious about who will eventually run their teams.

Given the length of time I have known Buck and Bobby, each for longer than any of us likely wants to acknowledge -- suffice it to say we are inching on more than 20 years -- this "Baseball Tonight" environment really allows you to get to know a person. I feel as if I come from somewhat of a position of credibility. Each possesses incredible baseball intelligence, yet they have radically different personalities. Outwardly, Buck comes across as more cerebral, a chess player. Bobby presents himself as the "off the cuff, will say anything" guy. Although there might be some truth to each of those statements, it hardly means that Buck lacks personality, or that Bobby isn't well thought out. Buck has a delightful sense of humor. He is malleable, personable, funny. Bobby is crazy smart. I can see the mutual respect each has for the other. I know my level of respect for each is off the charts.

Does it mean that one fits better in a certain place? Does it mean that Bobby will work better in South Florida and that Buck will fly in Baltimore? Nope. If Buck were a leading candidate in Florida and Bobby in Baltimore, would it be a surprise? Absolutely not.

There is so much more that goes into what each team must consider and, from my perspective far more importantly, what each candidate needs to think about before saying yes or no to an owner.

In the end, the only thing that matters is that each is doing what he wants to do in the situation he wants to be doing it in. Right now, I think Buck wants to manage more than Bobby does. My own selfish interests aside -- and clearly that would be to have them both stay and work on "Baseball Tonight" because they are the two best ex-managers on television anywhere -- it is my own opinion that each will end up on a bench. Buck first, then Bobby. If for no other reason than they won't have to answer my questions or anyone else's about their job status. That is, until that time comes, and it always does, when they are wearing a team's uniform and being asked all over again about their job status.

Karl Ravech is a host for "Baseball Tonight."

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Monday's Best Matchups

Nationals at Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN2

A big-time pitching matchup will play out, with Stephen Strasburg facing Tim Hudson. Strasburg's first four starts have been impressive -- and much talked about. He is 2-1 with a 1.78 ERA. Hudson, meanwhile, has quietly strung together a 7-3, 2.54 ERA start. Hudson has lost two of his past three starts, but the Braves scored a total of four runs in those three outings.

Mets at Marlins (in San Juan, Puerto Rico), 7:10 p.m. ET

R.A. Dickey tries to continue his perfect season. In his 6-0 run to open the year, Dickey has given up only two homers, and both of those came in one game on May 30 against the Brewers. Dickey is coming off his best performance in this impressive stretch, an eight-inning, four-hit, zero-run outing against the Tigers.

Dodgers at Giants, 10:10 p.m. ET

Barry Zito has lost his past two starts; he did go eight innings and give up only three runs against the Blue Jays but still was defeated 3-2. He has already faced the Dodgers once this season, tossing 7 1/3 effective innings in a no-decision. The Giants lost that game, a 2-1 defeat on April 18.


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