Spoiler alert: The villain winds up … working for the Yankees and Mets?
Yes, Jerry Krause, the late former Bulls general manager who very much comes off as the bad guy in the first two episodes of “The Last Dance,” the ESPN documentary that drew countless more eyeballs thanks to the coronavirus shutdown, returned to baseball, where he had worked previously before winning six rings in Chicago, upon leaving the Bulls in 2003.
Specifically, he joined the Yankees as an amateur scout in 2004 then spent the subsequent four seasons scouting for the Mets.
Krause’s time with the Yankees was brief enough that he didn’t leave much of an impression. His hiring there reflected as much the strong relationship between Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and his White Sox counterpart Jerry Reinsdorf (who also owns the Bulls and was featured prominently in the documentary) as any other attributes.
With the Mets, though, Krause lasted longer and sparked strong memories from the man who gave him the opportunity.
“Jerry was recommended to me by staff members at the time,” Omar Minaya, the Mets’ general manager from 2004-10, wrote in a text message. “I hired him because both his baseball and basketball background were very intriguing. He had been around great players in both sports with a winning pedigree as an executive, so that was a unique perspective. His role was mainly in pro scouting over amateur.”
Continued Minaya, who now works as the Mets’ special assistant to GM Brodie Van Wagenen: “I have very fond memories of our relationship. I felt fortunate to be able to hire him because he was a hard worker and had great knowledge on how to break down a player from a scouting perspective. He also had a real eye for seeking out those diamond-in-the-rough players. I always learned a lot from our conversations because we even talked about the similarities between great players in baseball and basketball, with the athleticism required for both sports. He loved talking scouting and had a great knack for it.”
Krause later worked for Reinsdorf’s White Sox, who employed him during his first baseball run, and the Diamondbacks. He died in 2017.