Half of the International League’s fourteen teams will be piloted by a new manager this season, marking the highest turnover since 2007 when eight clubs were led by new skippers.
While Bisons manager Tim Teufel is one of seven new managers making their International League debut, the league returns two of the five winningest active skippers in Minor League Baseball. Combined, Dave Miley (SWB) and Rick Sweet (LOU) have won over 9,000 minor league games as well as five Governors’ Cup championships.
All four managers from last year’s playoff run return for another shot to become the 79th manager to have his name etched on the IL’s postseason trophy. That includes the 2010 Triple-A Baseball National Champions, Mike Sarbaugh of Columbus, fresh off of his recognition by Baseball America as the Minor League Manager of the Year in his first season directing Cleveland’s affiliate. The 2010 International League Manager of the Year, Durham’s Charlie Montoyo, looks to lead the Bulls to a fifth straight division title in as many years at the helm. Louisville’s all-time winningest skipper, Rick Sweet, returns as his Bats seek to win the IL West for a fourth straight season. Also, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s Dave Miley, owner of more victories than any other International League manager since taking over the reins of the SWB Yankees in 2007.
The returning playoff managers won’t be the only familiar faces in International League dugouts this season. Gary Allenson will once again navigate the Norfolk Tides, as he has done in each of the club’s first four years affiliated with Baltimore. Dave Brundage, won the 2007 Governors’ Cup with Atlanta’s affiliate in Richmond, is back for the third straight season of baseball in Gwinnett County. In Rochester, the Red Wings are bringing back their 2010 skipper, as Tom Nieto prepares for another run in the leagues northern division.
Just two of the league’s new managers have previous Triple-A experience. Last year’s Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year, Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, takes over in Lehigh Valley where he will work for the organization that originally drafted him over three decades ago. Dean Treanor, takes over in Indianapolis after serving as the club’s pitching coach last year, managed six seasons in the Pacific Coast League in Calgary and Albuquerque.
The other five managers will be making their debut at the Triple-A classification. Buffalo’s Tim Teufel has put in seven seasons managing at the lower levels of the Mets organization before getting his chance to guide the Mets’ top affiliate this year. Similarly, Arnie Beyeler gets his chance to lead Pawtucket after having managed Boston’s Double-A Portland club for the past four seasons. Former Chiefs catcher Randy Knorr will be returning to Syracuse as the team’s manager in 2011. In Toledo, Phil Nevin has been named skipper of the Mud Hens after just one season of managerial experience in the affiliated minors. The youngest International League manager this season will be Charlotte’s Joe McEwing, who at 38 years old is less than four years removed from his last game as a player.
MEET THE MANAGERS:
Buffalo – Tim Teufel
Charlotte – Joe McEwing
Columbus – Mike Sarbaugh
Durham – Charlie Montoyo
Gwinnett – Dave Brundage
Indianapolis – Dean Treanor
Lehigh Valley – Ryne Sandberg
Louisville – Rick Sweet
Norfolk – Gary Allenson
Pawtucket – Arnie Beyeler
Rochester – Tom Nieto
Scranton/WB – Dave Miley
Syracuse – Randy Norr
Toledo – Phil Nevin
The Buffalo Bisons today announced that they have hired Chad Laurie as the new head groundskeeper at Coca-Cola Field. Laurie replaces Dan Blank, who served as the club’s head groundkeeper for three seasons. Blank is now the heads groundskeeper at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, NE, home of the College World Series.
The New York Mets announced they promoted Bisons trainer Brian Chicklo to the organizations’ Minor League Training Coordinator. The Mets also tabbed Joe Golia has been promoted from Double-A Binghamton to take over as the Bisons new head athletic trainer.
The true sign of spring with pitchers and catchers report starting this Monday and Officially Yours host Peter Calieri jumps in to baseball season with both feet on Hometown Radio, WECK 1230 with two members of the Bisons family.
Bisons broadcaster and Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame member, Duke McGuire and Kevin Lester, Bisons official scorer and former pro scout, are pillars of the WNY baseball community and they never fail to entertain with their stories about happenings at and around the ballpark.
Take a trip down memory lane with stories about hitting fungos to John Goodman, hanging out Robert Redford in between scenes while filming “The Natural” at War Memorial Stadium and fending off Brian Giles at the pressbox door.
Picture: Duke McGuire, host Peter Calieri and Kevin Lester
Plans for the Bisons to broadcast in HD are getting closer as Opening Day nears. Here is a pictorial from the mini-tour through the control room at Coca-Cola Field. Not only will this room serve the Bisons’ broadcasts on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and SNY, it will be the nerve center for the largest HD board in Minor League Baseball. Wide range of images below – from the new, old and random stuff. You can click-the-pic to get a bigger view.
While serving as the New York Mets outfield and baserunning coordinator last season, Mookie Wilson, 55, made a few stops in Buffalo to watch the Herd take the field. During one of his visits, the Mets Hall of Famer took a few minutes to talk with me about being bored and getting busy with baseball again.
On the field with the Mets from 1980-89, he became first base coach in 1996 and held the post through the 2002 season. This season, he’ll aid a number of former Bisons, returning as first base coach and join former Bisons skipper Ken Oberkfell on manager Terry Collins staff.
photo: New York Mets / mets.com