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2015 New Ports Manager

The Stockton Ports have announced their 2015 On Field Staff, including for the second season in a row, a new Manger. This year, longtime A’s Minor League Manager, Coach and Scout Rick Magnate will take the helm of the good ship Stockton. He has managed in the Minors since 1997 with a break from 1998 to 2006 when he became the Manger in Vancouver.

Buttermaker HitlerMinor League Managers are something of a mystery to fans. Most of the time, it seems like they are former minor league players with an occasional cup of coffee in the Majors. They appear as grizzled and Crash Davis-like philosophers or Morris Buttermaker drunks with a penchant for winning. They aren’t.

What they are is teachers, parents, leaders, drill sergeants and even baseball philosopher and so much more rolled into somebody who loves the game so much that they want to do everything they can to make certain that the next big thing to hit the Majors is ready and capable to carrying the torch. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they don’t. But it’s clear that they will have a major impact on the young players and even have a say in whether or not the players move up. Read the rest of this entry

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Nuts Fire Sakata…

Most of ya’ll have heard by now that the Colorado Rockies, the Parent club of the Modesto Nuts, fired Manager Lynn Sakata on Sunday. The reason for the firing appears to be a difference of opinion as to the course the team wanted to take for their younger players.

This is a tough one in my view. Sakata is one of those players who were in my younger days, among my favorite players. He was one of those “Utility” players like Darrel Thomas who specialized in being able to do everything in a pinch and seemingly willing to do anything and everything to win. In the early 80’s he was THAT guy on the Orioles who seemed to be everywhere, even if he wasn’t “the star player.”

As a manager in the California League it was obvious that he liked to win, and win he did. In fact, as a Manager, nobody won more. That’s why it had to be so frustrating for him to have a team that was controlled by a system that seemed hell bent on not winning.

If, and that’s a big “if,” the system the Rockies have in place was designed to produce a certain type of player that led to the Rockies winning Divisions and Pennants if not World Series, it might make sense to fire him for not going along with it, but let’s face the simple fact, the Rockies have been (with the exception of one fluke year) are, and will be for the foreseeable future a doormat.

They have no real plan for anything and a ballpark guaranteed to make sure that they accomplish exactly that. Given that, maybe teaching their players at the High A level (Modesto Nuts) how to win could have been considered the purest form of “player development,” but the Rockies don’t see it that way.

And so they and the Nuts will continue to flail along “developing” players who are trained how to be Rockies. For whatever that’s worth…

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