LOS ANGELES – For the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, the road to their front office has gone thru Manila.
The new general manager Farhan Zaidi is a Canadian born Muslim Pakistani who grew up in the Philippines.
“I was 17 when I left,” said Zaidi. “I went all the way thru high school there. I liked it great. It was perfect.”
Zaidi lived in Manila from ages three to 17 while his father worked for the Asian Developmental Bank.
He attended International High School in Manila and played little league baseball.
With degrees in economics from Cal and MIT, he worked 10 years for the Oakland Athletics, elevating to assistant GM before joining the Dodgers late last year.
The 38-year-old says he hasn’t visited his youth home since 2000 but admits he is a big Manny Pacquiao fan.
The cheerful and witty GM takes pride when local media talks Philippine sports with him.
The winter offseason has been a busy one for the new General Manager.
Zaidi has been wheeling and dealing, picking up players hoping to make the team into a serious championship contender.
As general manager Zaidi’s job is to balance the team’s budget and finding the right players to build a winning team.
He recently introduced his latest acquisition former MVP and World Series Champion shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
”It’s the term World Series or bust,” said Rollins. “Everybody wants to win a World Series. Only one team is going to do it and we want it to be us.”
Finding talent overseas is another one of his duties while he gave Asian media outlets updates on some Taiwanese prospects, the former Philippine little leaguer says it’s been difficult finding talent in the Philippines.
“Little league is big there but it sort of hasn’t translated to that sort of higher level,” said Zaidi.
So What’s the big deal? With him grow-up in the Philippines? Com On who in the hell cares.