Zen and The Art of Coaching in Los Angeles

The Dodgers' Joe Torre is about as easygoing a manager as there is in baseball. He's known for letting the players play and providing an even keel over the course of a long season. The Lakers Phil Jackson’s nickname is the Zen Master, known for a calm style that allows the players to learn from mistakes, playing through issues to get his team ready for the playoffs, when it matters most.

Between them they have 13 championships. Jackson has his team in the Finals and Torre’s team has the best record in baseball despite being without their star slugger. Coincidence?

Jackson is paying attention to that guy up working just up 5 Freeway a little ways.

“Joe’s low key manor is something (similar) to what I have,” Jackson said. “He also seems able to take everything in hand, also handle the players personalities I think is a big part of that. That part of it, I know he’s got to be real good at because of the type of characters that he’s had in various spots.”

Jackson actually coached baseball at one point, his first coaching gig, he said. Jackson added he used to talk baseball with Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of the Bulls and White Sox.

“While we go to sleep watching baseball, of course, I know that it’s a very intense game and there’s a lot of different challenges out there,” Jackson said, “But basketball is such a continuous active sport that there’s so many emotions that rise and fall with basketball, it really is a sport where managing really the temperament of players is almost as critical an element as coaching.”

Temperament matters in baseball a lot, too. And the key to player management is calmness, regardless of the sport. At least in Los Angeles.

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