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Old 01-17-2019, 10:31 AM   #1
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Just Act Normal!

There's diamonds in the sidewalk, the gutters lined in song

With the sounds of Bruce Springsteen's American Land coming out of my speakers I turn my car, a very reliable mazda demio 1.3, onto the I55. While I breeze past the towns of Odell, Cayuga and Pontiac my mind reflects on what happened in the previous days.

Dear, I hear that beer flows through the faucets all night long”

Just a few days ago I was manager of the Pirates Bristol Rookie League team. I really enjoyed working within the Pirates organization, but after three years of no promotions my career wasn't really going anywhere and I felt kind of stuck in my position. When I tried to address my concerns they said that a promotion wasn't possible in the near future... Of course this wasn't the message I was hoping for.

There's treasure for the taking, for any hard working man

As a former Pirates draftee (27th round) and a career Minor Leaguer I was offered the job of manager of their Bristol Rookie League team after my retirement. I loved the job. It was real fun and I felt at home within the organization. They gave me the job because I was a positive locker-room presence as a ballplayer and from the start of my career I expressed an interest into developing myself through information from sabermetrics. They really likd my desire to acquire more knowledge and my mindset that more knowledge could improve my own game. Unfortunatly I suffered a career ending injury on my throwing arm. I tried for one more year to make it as a knuckleball pitcher, but I just lacked control.

Who'll make his home in the American land

After three years as manager of the Bristol Rookie League my ambition caught up with me. I wanted to climb higher on the ladder, but unfortunately the organization didn't see the urgency. Although the Pirates where the only franchise I had played for and had connections with..., I quit.

Whoa!Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!???! Come on!
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Old 01-17-2019, 11:13 AM   #2
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I was very much aware that the job offerings wouldn't come in bunches, but I was hoping that something would come up that fits my ambitions. The first phone call came after just 2 days of unemployment. The phone rang and it was an anonymous number. I answered:

“With Hume” I said. A deep voice answered after a few seconds of silence:

Hey Martin, I want you to come down to Fort Wayne. I might have a job for you as a pitching coach.”

My name is David, sir. For which organization?”

The Fort Wayne Tincaps. The class A team from the Padres.”

I’ve never really been a pitching coach. My only experience is as a manager. Would I have any chance of managing of a team in the future?”

Noh, Martin..noh. I’m looking for a pitching coach. The managing positions are all filled with qualified personnel."

“It’s David, sir. I thank you for the offer but I’m really looking for another managing position with a chance to develop myself.”

Well, goodby then

Strange call. Funny thing is that I’ve been coaching my younger teammates when I was a player, but now I’m not really interested in coaching specific players. I’m hoping something better comes along.

After a few more calls with not-so-interesting job offers I answer a call from the Illinois area. When I answered the phone I was talking to .... .... , owner of the Normal Cornbelters. He was searching for a GM and he had heard positive reviews about me from a former player I managed who later played a season for the Cornbelters.

After only two phone calls, a lovely dinner and two nights of sleep I took my decision. I accepted the position as the new GM of the Normal Cornbelters.

During our conversations we agreed upon a common vision: We aspire to build up a core of young talented players who could develop into long term contributors. We like to surround them with veterans to achieve good result from the start, but also help develop the youngsters. Regarding the staff we would like to contract guys who are believers of sabermetrics theories (especially the shift). We prefer young up-and-coming coaches.
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Old 01-17-2019, 11:14 AM   #3
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When I pull my car into the parking lot of the Motel 6 the feeling of excitement creeps up on me. There's a lot of work to be done, but it's exciting work.

The Cornbelters play in the Frontier League an independent Minor League. As a consequence the players only sign one-year contracts and there is not a lot of continuity between seasons. This could make it hard to building up a young core, but I like the challenge. But! Before I even can consider signing new player I have fill all the staff positions.

The current manager is 60-year old Brooks Carey who was previously also the GM. The owner already said that it might be a good idea to move on from him and I agree. Like every GM I would like to bring in my own staff. After a short and unpleasant talk we terminate his contract. I also decide to fire bench coach Thomas Barksdale. His vision of playing productive baseball just doesn’t coincides with mine. The only other coach currently under contract is hitting Coach David Garcia. A nice guy who’s approach to coaching (patience) works well within our vision. I have no trouble selling the project to him and I decide to keep him on board. All these decisions were made during the first three days in the office…

While in the office I make a shortlist of possible new managers. The list is compiled of people I know, people whose names I get through my network and guys who already send in a solicitation. I make a selection based on past experience and age. After a long selection process I end up with a shortlist of 10 possible managers. I decide to call every person on my shortlist. Three of them have already found employment and I couldn’t track down two others. After the first conversation I select a final three.

- Casey Kopitzke, a 37 year old sabermetrics believer. He’s a great supporter of the shift. green bay

- Mike Kinkade, 42 year old control freak with a loud voice and an impressive presence.

- Johan Maya, a 36 year old who hase Bill james tattooed on his chest (Really?)

These three are invited for a job interview in Normal. The first to not get the job is Maya. I just can’t hire a manager with such a strange Tattoo, sorry!

The final two! Both Kopitzke as Kinkade impress during the interview, but after a moment of consideration I chose to go with Casey. The reason is the fact that Casey is more open for suggestions than the more stubborn Mike. Besides, Casey is from Title Town Green Bay. I guess we can expect some silverworks under his guidance.
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Old 01-17-2019, 12:21 PM   #4
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Had a former college teammate that played for the Normal Cornbelters last year. Funny coincidence. I'll be following
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