Columbia University announced on Tuesday its latest faculty hire: former Boston Red Sox GM Ben Cherington.
The nerds hired the jock as an executive-in-residence in its sports management graduate program. Cherington also looks to teach in sports management, which the university’s PR people proudly point to as the only such field of studies offered in the Ivy League, heretofore not a collegiate collective of trade schools or curricular exotica. Harvard, Yale, and Princeton forgo offering advanced degrees in sports for reasons similar to why their baseball teams bypass utilizing a linebacker as one of the nine positions. Amazingly, the curmudgeons don’t offer video game design, home-ec, or shop, either.
“The addition of Ben to our Columbia program, reflects our commitment to building a curriculum that combines the real world experiences of sports industry leaders, with the academic rigor of an Ivy League University,” Vince Gennaro, director of the program, explained in a release containing an initial comma as out of place as a baseball professor at great-books guru Mortimer Adler’s almost alma mater (he refused to take a physical education requirement on principle and received a Ph.D. from the school without an undergraduate diploma). “Ben and I will continue to explore additional ways in which he can add value to our students and our program.”
Billy Beane dropped out of the University of California-San Diego. What might the subject of Moneyball have accomplished in the front office had an Ivy League graduate program in sports management existed in those benighted times?
Cherington, who ran the Red Sox front office during an interregnum between Theo Epstein and Dave Dombrowski, reigned during Boston’s worst-to-first 2013 World Series run. The front-office boss bailed when ownership hired Dave Dombrowski as his boss in August.
Cherington’s Red Sox finished in last place in the American League East the last two seasons, lending support to music teacher’s son and London School of Economics co-founder George Bernard Shaw’s insulting aphorism: “He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.”