After two years as field coach at Single-A Delmarva, Ryan Minor is getting the opportunity to manage. And he'll feel right at home despite limited experience in the role, since he lives in Salisbury and has a short commute to the ballpark.
Minor has managed in the instructional league, so he's not a total stranger to the job. Otherwise, he's served as a coach for the York Revolution under former manager Chris Hoiles and offered hitting tips and other instruction with the Shorebirds.
"I talked to (the Orioles) a couple years ago about the possibility of managing," he said. "It's something I wanted to do, and when the opportunity came up, they must have felt like it would be a good spot for me, since I live here. And to be able to work where I live is a great opportunity."
Minor, who spent parts of the 1998, '99 and 2000 seasons with the Orioles, said his desire to manager sort of "evolved" after he stopped playing and entered the coaching phase of his professional life.
"Coaching in the independent league isn't the same," he said. "You don't have an organization to follow its guidelines. You don't have an organizational philosophy. But then I joined the Orioles and started working in player development, and as a coach I had a lot of fun helping guys have success. Once I saw the impact you can have on an organization, as far as trying to get these guys to develop, and I have a lot of energy and passion for the game, I knew it was something I'd like to try some day. And the opportunity came pretty early.
"I coached one year with Chris Hoiles, his first year as manager, and it was kind of fun to sit there and do things for him, as far as being able to watch the games and determine what was going on and watching him make moves. I got a lot of experience on the bench there, just the role of managing a game."
Asked what kind of manager he'll be, Minor replied: "First and foremost, we do whatever the organization wants us to do. If they want us to do certain things with certain kids, as far as developing them, that's the way it's got to go. Otherwise, it's the same with the managers I've been with. You've got to put forth the effort and make sure the guys fundamentally are willing to do everything that's asked of them.
"You can't sit around and wait for the three-run homer. I'd love to do that, but that's not the way it works anymore. If a guy moves up and can't bunt, that's a direct reflection on us. We've got to stress the little things - bunt, get guys over. And pitching and defense.
"I know those are the things Andy MacPhail has stressed the last few years. You've got to be able to catch the ball. And as a pitcher, if you get behind hitters, nothing good really comes of it. The big thing is stressing fundaments like the Orioles want us to do."
Minor is looking forward to working with another former Oriole, Mike Devereaux, who returns to the organization as Delmarva's field coach.
"I'm really glad they got Mike to come here," he said. "I didn't even know he wanted to do this stuff. When his name came up, I was really pleased. Having a guy who played 12 years in the big leagues and played in a World Series (with the Braves in '95), that can only help with these guys, and help me and the pitching coach. Guys at this level never really play a full season and don't understand that when you get to the All-Star break, the season's not over. It's not a short-season club like it was before. They have a whole other half to go, and they have to find a way to push through it. And with his experience and knowledge, that can only be beneficial to us. And he played a lot longer than me and had a lot more success than me, so he's going to help me out a lot.
"If we're loaded with outfield prospects, that's something that will be right up his alley. And baserunning, he can only be a help there."
I forgot that Devereaux played in a World Series until Minor made reference to it. I had to look it up.