Big League Stew

Phil Jackson: Future baseball coach? Zen adviser to MLB managers?

Big League Stew

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Phil Jackson at a Dodgers game circa 2004. (Getty Images)

Here's a fun fact: The number of NBA championships won by Phil Jackson as a basketball player and coach is more than every baseball team except the New York Yankees has won World Series rings. Jackson has won 13 NBA Finals. After the Yankees' 27 titles, the next highest is the St. Louis Cardinals, who have 11.

That's a weird set-up for two weird tidbits: (1) Phil Jackson might want to be a baseball coach. (2) He's already an adviser to a couple MLB managers.

The New York Times' magazine detailed at length how NBA teams are still chasing Jackson and how he can't really leave the game. One passage reads: "Jackson will almost certainly return to basketball. One of his other great talents is coming out of retirement."

But about three-fourths into the story comes this baseball-centric nugget:

Jackson has been serving as a kind of intersports guru, giving informal advice to an Israeli soccer coach — “All soccer involves triangles,” Jackson says — as well as to a couple of baseball managers. He grew up playing baseball and still thinks he would make a good coach. He has told the owner of the Chicago White Sox — his former boss with the Bulls, Jerry Reinsdorf — that he’s available. He seems to be only half joking.

Phil Jackson, baseball coach. How crazy would be if the guy all these NBA teams are chasing made the jump — like a certain star player of his did — to baseball? Maybe Jackson could take over the Dodgers. L.A. fans could get behind that, right? I mean, they've already accepted Magic Johnson as their savior.

OK, so Phil Jackson in baseball probably isn't not going to happen, but it is interesting to learn that Jackson is giving advice to MLB managers. Who do you think they are? I dunno, but it sure would be funny if it were Jim Leyland. Let's hope it's not Don Mattingly. That wouldn't bode well for Jackson's coaching prospects.

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