Had a chance to dial up Mike Quade today as both of us get ready for Mesa this coming weekend. Q says he’s more than ready to get going, but that he’s no more anxious or excited simply because he’s entering his first full season as a big-league manager.
“I’m just ready to go to work,” he said. “I look at the challenges ahead and the excitement they provide. I think the best part about this for me is that yes, it’s a big-league camp. Yes, it’s my first major-league camp. But I’ve been through 30 of them or whatever (in total). Whether it’s organizing or being a part of organizing 170 kids in minor-league camp or participating in whatever major-league camps I’ve participated in, the nuts and bolts of it, you feel pretty good about. You feel like it’ll be organized. You’ve got good people around here. Even the players understand what’s what, even if you tweak it a little bit.
“Now, how I go about my business or how involved I am, that may change a little. I’m excited because, unlike the six weeks of trial (late last season), we’re going to play for keeps for a year and see how we do.”
Mike says new bench coach Pat Listach will plan and run the day-to-day activities in spring training, beginning next Monday at Fitch Park when pitchers and catchers take the field for their first workouts.
“That’s probably 30-40 percent of his responsibility; I mean, that’s a big deal, running the day-to-day stuff,” he said. “Things fall into place, but it’s all the adjustments. I’m talking to you guys, and bang, two kids we need from the minor leagues can’t make it. It’s all of the stuff that you’ve got to adjust on the fly, he (Listach) is responsible for it. The scheduling part of it is huge. I do think that any camp that’s run well will draw from various people on the staff.”
During the past four springs, Lou Piniella was pretty much a hands-off manager, letting his bench coach, Alan Trammell run things and delegating to his other coaches. With all the nervous energy Q brings, I do expect him to be a more hands-on manager during the spring, even if he isn’t hitting as many flyballs to the outfielders as he used to do and used to love doing.
We’ll have a nice preview story or two for the papers in the upcoming days. Among the tidbits from Mike to get us going a little bit:
--With almost all the position-player spots set, there probably won’t be a chance for a kid like Brett Jackson to pull a Tyler Colvin and force his way onto the team in spring training, but all of the kids will have a chance to make an impression for later, Mike said.
--Mike and GM Jim Hendry will meet the media Sunday, when pitchers and catchers report for spring training and take physicals.
--Q says he still has not made out lineups, simply because a lot can happen in spring training. That means the leadoff spot is still up in the air.
--As far as “fundamentals” go (and everybody stresses fundamentals in spring training, don’t they?), Mike says: “My thing is just making sure that this group understands how important it is to us winning ballgames and how vital it is to playing for me and expecting to win. All quality fundamentals do is give you a chance to win championships.”
Mike added that if you don’t possess solid fundamentals, “you better out-talent the living daylights out of people, and I think it’s just a very rare situation where you’ve got so much talent that you can relax in all these other areas and still win.”