Ben Cherington has found a new position, but it's not in Major League Baseball. The former Red Sox GM is headed instead to Columbia University, where he will be an "executive in residence" for the sports management program according to Bill Shaikin:
Ex-#RedSox GM Ben Cherington hired as ... executive in residence by Columbia University's sports management program.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) October 26, 2015
What does an executive in residence do? Columbia's business school has a whole bunch of words on the subject which essentially boils down to being a career counselor with big-time connections in the industry. A cushy landing spot that makes all the sense in the world given that Cherington said he wanted to get away from the job for a while in wake of his rocky endings with Boston.
And, really, is there any more perfect world for Cherington than academia? He always seemed like one of the smarter guys in the room, to the point where sometimes he ended up being too clever for his own good. Whether you consider the failure of the 2015 Red Sox rotation to be the most expected thing ever or just bad variance to a well-thought out plan focusing on ground balls, there was never any question that, should it fail, it would be a hard plan to sell.
In academia, though, best-laid plans are usually left untested. Finding that undervalued skill and constructing an environment to make full use of it is never derailed by Rick Porcello suddenly forgetting how to keep the ball in the park, Pablo Sandoval losing all motor function at third, and Mike Napoli finally reaching the edge of that cliff. It's simply an interesting idea. A creative approach to a seemingly unfavorable market. Clean and controllable in the way the real world is not.
Ben Cherington will probably find his way back into a front office before too long, and be forced to deal with the uncertainties of reality again. For now, though, Columbia seems like the perfect place for a break.