JIMMY GOLEN,AP Sports Writer
BOSTON (AP) — It’s not as if Gene Lamont suddenly decided he wanted to manage again.
“It’s kind of a burning desire. It always has been,” Lamont, who hasn’t managed in 12 years, told reporters at Fenway Park on Saturday after interviewing for the job as Terry Francona’s replacement with the Red Sox. “Baseball is a passion.”
Lamont was the fifth and — for now — final candidate to interview for the Boston managerial job, following Torey Lovullo, Pete Mackanin, Dale Sveum and Sandy Alomar Jr. General manager Ben Cherington said he hopes to narrow the field and talk to the finalists next week at the GM meetings in Milwaukee, with the goal of making a hire by Thanksgiving.
“All five guys, I could envision being the manager of the Boston Red Sox,” Cherington said. “We’ve got to pick the right one.”
Lamont, who turns 65 on Christmas Day, is the only one of the candidates who has had a full-time managing job; he managed the Chicago White Sox from 1992-95 and the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1997-2000. Waiting 12 years for another shot wasn’t his idea.
“I’ve wanted to manage all along,” he said. “I guess I just didn’t toot my horn enough. I didn’t necessarily do that for this, either. But I told them: ‘Every game I watch, I manage.’ If there’s a better opportunity than this, I don’t know where it would be.”
The Red Sox have been looking for a manager since parting ways with Francona when the team’s 7-20 September record left it out of the playoffs for the second straight year. Like the other candidates, Lamont was asked by reporters how he would heal the ballclub after the season disintegrated amid allegations of beer-drinking and chicken-eating in the clubhouse during games.
“I think I have the presence because I have managed. But you have to show them,” said Lamont, who was 48 games over .500 with the White Sox and 57 games under with the Pirates.
“Me managing in Pittsburgh, I don’t think that gives me a lot of presence,” he added with a smile.
Lamont was added to Boston’s short list when Cherington said he wanted to have at least one candidate with major-league experience. Lamont, who has been the third base coach for Detroit since 2006, said he would probably handle games like current Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
But he brings a different personality than his gruff and sometimes hard-edged boss.
“I think I’ve learned a lot from him. I think he’s the best,” Lamont said. “But they’re not … getting another Jim Leyland. They’re getting Gene Lamont.”
Lamont was the Red Sox third-base coach in 2001, when Jimy Williams was fired. Cherington said he didn’t have much interaction with Lamont back then, but he was pleasantly surprised with how well they hit it off on Saturday.
“He has a strong voice. He’s confident in his opinion,” Cherington said. “All the things he’s done give him a strong voice.”
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.
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