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December 19-20, 2006 December 20, 2006

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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(The past two days have been pretty big news days, so I combined the past two days so nobody would miss anything. Today’s stuff is at the bottom — make sure you check out Scott’s take on York’s coaching staff as well!) – MA

So, You Say You Want A Revolution: Well, then you’re going to need some guys to lead them. As I’d hinted at previously, the team’s coaching staff will have some strong ties to the American League East; specifically the Baltimore Orioles.

Chris Hoiles, a member of the Orioles Hall of Fame and long-time O’s catcher, will manage the team.

Ryan Minor, who played for three teams in the Atlantic League and also played for Baltimore, will be the team’s hitting coach.

Tippy Martinez, a member of the 1983 Orioles World Series team, will serve as the team’s pitching coach.

Al Bumbry, also an integral part of that 1983 team, will take on the unique position of outfield/baserunning coach.

This is great for the league. Three new names, and the fourth is a great guy who will likely move on to the Southern Maryland franchise for the 2008 season to manage.

However, I don’t understand why they’re trying to create this artificial connection with the Orioles. I understand Brooks Robinson has a role with the team, and I don’t think you’ll find anyone who has anything bad to say about him — a true legend of the game and someone I’d love to interview one day.

Maybe Scott can provide some perspective on this, as he’s an Orioles fan and is likely doing cartwheels over the news, but I’m curious as to why they went with all Orioles.

But, with that said, I’m certainly looking forward to talking to Hoiles, Martinez and Bumbry. Hoiles specifically is a name I’m pretty familiar with, I still remember seeing his Starting Lineup figure on the shelves back when I used to collect those. – MA

Scott’s Take: Scott’s Take: I like the batch of new faces that the York franchise is bringing in and not just because I’m an Orioles fan. Both York and Lancaster are owned by the same group, who have strong ties to the Orioles organization. For years I’ve heard names of former birds who might land with these two clubs and obviously York went all out.

Brooks Robinson, who spent his entire 23-year career with Baltimore, I’m sure had a hand in this, as did several in the front office who once worked for the Orioles minor league affiliated.

Chris Hoiles is the organization’s top catcher of all-time next to Rick Dempsey. Never a dominant player, but still produced 10 solid seasons behind the plate. Tippy Martinez was a dependable reliever for the O’s and even won 10 games out of the pen in 1979.

Al Bumbry was a speedy outfielder who won the AL Rookie of the Year honor in 1973. Ryan Minor, one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, has strong Atlantic League ties and stronger aspirations to manage. This is his next step and will one day be writing out the lineup card.

All spent a majority of their career in orange, white and black. All are exciting new additions to the Atlantic League. – Scott Stanchak

Simontacchi To Nats: P Jason Simontacchi, who finished his 2006 season with the Bridgeport Bluefish, has agreed to a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals.

Atlantic League Alumni: According to Tom King of The Nashua Telegraph, former Road Warriors outfielder Sheldon Fulse has agreed to terms with the Nashua Pride, now of the Can-Am League.

King also writes that C Damian Sapp, who tore up the Atlantic League while he was there, may also return to the Pride.

“I’d really like to have Sapp,” Pride manager Butch Hobson told the paper. “He had surgery on both knees, he just wants to be sure he’d be able to catch every day, which I think he will.”

In addition, King reports INF Elliott Ayala, who finished last season with the Somerset Patriots and also played for the Road Warriors, will be suspended 15 games by Can-Am League officials for bumping an umpire.

Glavine Named Assistant Coach At Alma Mater: Mike Glavine, a member of the 2001 Somerset Patriots team, has been named an assistant coach at Northeastern. Glavine was named to the Northeastern Hall of Fame, and also appeared in six games for the 2003 New York Mets, where he was a teammate of his brother, Tom. – Mike Ashmore

Klein Talks About Road Warriors: During a brief interruption from his holiday shopping, Atlantic League Executive Director Joe Klein told me that you shouldn’t be expecting an announcement regarding the Road Warriors managerial position any time soon.

Klein said there are several candidates that they’d be interested in speaking with, but also not to rule out Jeff Scott, who managed the club last season.

So, I can’t tell you who will be managing the club, but I can give you a name who wont be…

Ball “Let Down” By Not Landing An AL Job: I also spoke to Atlantic City Surf manager Jeff Ball today. The job description is a current one, as Ball told me he’ll be returning to the Surf in 2007.

Ball was under consideration by both Camden and Newark, and appeared to be Camden’s choice had they not signed Joe Ferguson.

While the former San Francisco Giant said he was disappointed that he wasn’t able to get either of the jobs, he was upbeat about managing the Surf in 2007.

However, Ball said he would still be more than willing to entertain offers from Atlantic League teams, and also discussed the possibility of working for the Atlantic League at some point in the future.

One team you wont see Ball with next season for sure is the Road Warriors, as he said that isn’t something he’d be likely to do at this point in his career.

Jeff is a great guy, and I’ve said before that I was and still am shocked that he appears to be on the outside looking in. Whatever team he ends up with next season, you know it’ll be a team with a chance to win on any given night.

Moss To The Giants: P Damian Moss, who had a wildly unsuccessful stint with the Ducks in 2006, parlayed that into a contract with the San Francisco Giants. – Mike Ashmore, 12/20

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Comments»

1. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - December 20, 2006

Ah, yes. The holiday cheer has made it’s way to my inbox. Lots of fun e-mails on my York’s aligning (kind of) with the Orioles comments.

To answer some of your questions, yes I do know my geography. And yes, I know York has a fair amount of Orioles fans.

But if you honestly think they’re going to consistently draw based on who the coaching staff is, you’re incredibly wrong.

York will likely draw EXTREMELY well (and I hope they do), but (and no offense to these guys) but Hoiles, Minor, Martinez and Bumbry aren’t the reasons the fans will keep coming back.

-M-

2. b-fish fan - December 20, 2006

mike,do you also have that opinion about tommy john and the bluefish?i agree with you 100% nobody comes to see the manager.

3. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - December 20, 2006

People will come to see the manager, but people will not come back to see the manager.

It’s somewhat of a different thing that Bridgeport is doing, as of now anyway. I actually really like the move from a PR standpoint, because there’s no way that hiring Tommy John wont put more butts in seats. However, as I think Chris Ellsbury wrote, it remains to be seen just how good of a manager he is. In his one year with Staten Island, he didn’t really do all that well, and he had a few top prospects (Justin Christian, Marcos Vechionacci) on the team.

York is new, it’s exciting. They don’t need to make a move to get people interested, they already are.

That’s not the case in Bridgeport. They had their phase where it was new and it was exciting, and they sold out the stadium. Those days are long gone, it seems. So something had to be done to get people talking about the Bluefish again, and that’s what they did.

So really, it’s two different things.

-M-

4. BoosterBabe - December 20, 2006

I agree with Chris Elsberry: we really don’t know what kind of a manager John will be.

But Managing is really about putting the team together, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each player on the team and more importantly, knowing how to maximize each player in a given situation.

Where other managers have failed in Bridgeport history, it was because they failed to connect with either the players or the community.

Dyer was not a success because the players did not respond to his methods. he was a stern task master and the guys he had on the team just didn’t go for that. He wasn’t a good fit with the group of players he had. Dyer understood about making himself accessible to the fans, though and he did get out into the community, so that was a plus in his favor.

Lind: well…..he was well liked by the players as a person, but he was not all that “hands on” as a manager. He really wasn’t a leader. How many times did we in the stands wonder where he was? Why wasn’t he arguing a call? etc. It felt like Lind was phoning it in a lot of the time. Lind did not go out of his way to make nice with the fans, sign autographs, make public appearances, etc.

LaPoint: I can’t say he failed, exactly. The team won a lot of games under him, but he did not relate to all of the players equally. He was pretty accessible to the fans, though. On a scale of 1-10, where I’d give Dyer and Lind scores of 3 or 4, for different reasons; I’d give LaPoint a 7.

I think for John to really succeed as a manager, he has to be good iwth the players and the community. From what I understand, the GM will have little to do with player procurement, it will be mostly Tommy John. So he’s got to not only put together a talented team, he needs to put together a team that will play as a team. Once the team is assembled, comes the day to day management. He’s going to have to be a strong motivater for them. That’s the part that is unknown, since we don’t see a lot of management experience to judge him on.

The other aspect of this, and I think this is where Tommy John was an outstanding choice, is in attracting people to the stadium. He’s a big name. A really big name.
And I think if we combine his big name with some really innovative marketing ideas, which Mr Larsen seems to be famous for, there is a tremendous opportunity to bring in some traffic to Harbor Yard.

I’m very excited to see what the season holds.

5. Sumosid - December 20, 2006

Watching the 2004 Yankees, I got the impression that Tommy John was kind of going through the motions. I don’t know what came first he may have lost interest and then the team didn’t play well or the team did not play well and then he may have lost interest. Although, the team did turn it on late to (almost)play spoiler to the Cyclones.

As for connecting with the community / fans; TJ is great on the banquet circuit. I have met him at team sponsored functitons for the 2004 SI Yankees, 2005 Trenton Thunder as well as this past MLB All-Star Fanfest and he is very accomidating and friendly. On the other hand, I seem him be the opposite before gametime.

I also recall the buzz he generated when he was named manager of The Baby Bombers in January 2004, but it pretty much subsided by the time the NY-Penn League season kicked off in late June. As I mentioned in a previous post attendance actually went down that year; probably more to do with the lousy team, the diminished novelity of the ballpark as well as the lackluster work of the front office.

Again, this is only the impression that I got that season. I could be wrong. It was not a good season and there was not many memorable moments. I am rooting for the Bluefish to succeed on & off the field (just not against the Bears!). I really hope the results are positive. Looking forward to making my maiden voyage to Harbor Yard in 2007!

6. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - December 20, 2006

On the off chance Chris Elsberry reads this…sorry I butchered your name.

Had Sox prospect Jacoby Ellsbury on my brain.

-M-


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