One went to Cornell, the other to Houston. One has not aged beyond the age of 25 while the other looks like an updated version of The Marlboro Man (minus the cigarette), or a bigger Chuck Norris.
One is the GM and the other is the manager.
Jon Daniels is entering his 12th season as the Rangers’ general manager and manager Jeff Banister his third. Much has been said and written about these two men, so this is going in a slightly new direction.
On the back page of the magazine Vanity Fair is the Proust Questionnaire, which was a game made widely popular by French writer Marcel Proust. The concept is that in answering these questions a person would reveal their true nature.
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In an effort to get to know these two heads of state with the local baseball team, both JD and JB answered some of the Proust Questionnaire.
Favorite place to be
Jon Daniels: Lakeside.
Jeff Banister: With my family.
Least admirable virtue
JB: When people call themselves religious. That one’s going to get me yelled at.
In his first two seasons as the Rangers manager, Jeff Banister is 183-141 with two AL West titles. He was the 2015 AL Manager of the year.
Trait you admire the most
JB: Trustworthy, integrity, character. Honesty.
JD: Second helping. I’ve gained 7 pounds out here (in spring training). I don’t eat bad, I just keep eating.
JB: I’ve been a smokeless tobacco user for a long time. I quit the last out of every season. I had not had a single ounce since Toronto (in Game 3 of the 2016 American League division series). And three days after I get here (in Arizona for spring training), here we go. I’ve been doing it since I was 12, so I don’t know.
What trait in yourself do you fight?
JB: Being over-disciplined.
JD: Great question. I’m not sure I have a true favorite. I just read ‘Wonder’ with my kids this winter. Go with that. There’s no classic that jumps out.
JB: The Bible.
Jon Daniels was promoted to replace John Hart as the Rangers general manager on Oct. 4, 2005.
JD: People first
JB: See the difference. I tell someone to do something and they do it and I say, ‘You see the difference!’ It’s straight jackass is what it is.
JD: True Romance. Great movie. The soundtrack, I loved all of it.
Hardest part about being a parent
JD: The quality of the time spent. Put all of the other stuff down and focus. I’ve gotten better, at least my wife’s told me that. I’m not going to suggest I’m perfect but I’ve gotten better.
JB: Letting go.
Side question: I often hear from baseball people how important their families are, and because of the schedule they can never see them. So how does that work?
JD: It is hard because it’s a lifestyle. We have to hold each other accountable. I tell our scouts all the time, ‘Get home. Get off the road. See your daughter’s soccer game.’ I think we know the quantity of time is not a realistic goal but making the effort and the quality that’s going to help. Someone told me in these jobs you are never going to achieve true balance, but the success is striving for it.
Jeff Banister survived cancer, and later a neck injury that initially left him paralyzed and doctors feared would kill him.
JB: (looooooooong pause before pointing to a picture of his family on his office wall) Losing any one of those three.
Talent you envy
JD: Playing a musical instrument
JB: The ability to compose real letters. You write — I can’t do it. I suck at it.
JD: My wife and kids to like me.
JB: Being a parent.
Most treasured possession
JD: I bought a lake house a few years ago. So when I said ‘lakeside’ that’s why. I love getting out there.
JB: I have a tie tack that was given to my father when he was in his 15th year of coaching and teaching at the high school. I have it in a box in the closet of my house. I have two quarters that (his son) Jacob gave me when he was 4 and he told me to keep them with me that they would bring me luck. That tie tack — dad would wear a coat and tie on game days.
JD: I feel fortunate to say I really don’t have one. It’s not a cocky thing. Are there professional moves I’d like to have back? The (pitcher Adam Eaton ) trade (sending Adrian Gonzalez to San Diego) is the one I regret the most. It was not grounded in good thinking.
JB: Not playing longer.
How would you like to die?
JD: In my sleep, 60 years from now.
JB: My mom’s dad was dying of emphysema. I’m 22 years old and I’m watching him die. I go home and one night, my dad and I were talking, and I said, ‘Hey, if I’m ever like that — take my butt, some river bank, put a fishing pole in my hand and let me die.’ My dad died 13 days later. Heart attack. Living room floor. Mother standing over the top of him. I wouldn’t want to burden anybody.
Best advice you ever received
JD: My dad encouraged me to pursue baseball. I was 23, and he said, ‘Don’t live with regret — go for it.’ I got advice from (former player and manager) Greg Riddoch, who said he never got a job he applied for; it’s basically put your head down and work.
Favorite writer (you can’t name me)
JD: Well, politics have turned me off so I don’t read that. I don’t know what to believe. I’ll read NFL stuff. I grew up in New York and I’m still a Giants fan, but I am respectful of our neighbors.
JB: Rod Olson.
Advice you would give now
JD: Make sure you have your priorities in order. Whatever they are. I’m not going to say, ‘Family first’ — that’s me. Whatever your priorities are, just stay true to them.
JB: Don’t ever quit.