Sunday, March 28, 2010

Manager Tracker

With the recent announcement that Darrell Evans will manage the St. George RoadRunners in 2010, it's a nice time to take a look at the journey of past and current GBL managers who have ties to multiple Golden League teams:

Garry Templeton
The former three-time National League All-Star was the first manager in Flyers history. After serving as conductor for the Train from 2005-07, he worked two seasons in the Arizona Winter League before rejoining the ranks of GBL managers as skipper of the Long Beach Armada in 2009. With the Armada going dark for the 2010 season, Tempy has since become an outlaw, well, a Chico Outlaw.

Darrell Evans
Another inaugural skipper in the GBL, Evans crewed the Armada from 2005-07 before joining Gary Carter's coaching staff in 2008 to lead the Flyers to a championship. As the hitting coach in OC, Evans coached perhaps the most prolific offense in GBL history, featuring heavy hitters Pat Breen, Jermy Acey and many more. In 2009, the Victoria Seals named him the first manager in team history, but after parting ways from the organization just weeks ago, Evans landed with the St. George RoadRunners as manager for 2010.

Cory Snyder
A former All-Star with the Cleveland Indians, Snyder managed the RoadRunners for three seasons (2007-09) before joining GM Rick Berry in the Hawaiian Islands as the new field manager for Na Koa Ikaika Maui.

Les Lancaster
The former MLB pitcher managed the Mesa Miners in the GBL's first season in 2005. When the Miners and Surprise Fighting Falcons closed up shop after one year of baseball in Arizona, Lancaster put on his Silver Sox to manage the GBL's Reno franchise from 2006-07.

Mike Marshall
While the former Dodger only managed one GBL team - the Yuma Scorpions from 2007-08 - he is now on his second stint as a GM in the league. Marshall pulled double-duty in Yuma as the General Manager and Field Manager. He ran the front office through the 2009 season and is now serving as the President/GM of the Chico Outlaws.

In 2010, seven of the 10 GBL teams will have a new manager. Granted two of the teams are new this season, but it's still a lot of moving around. Here's the list:

New GBL managers for 2010:
Calgary Vipers - Morgan Burkhardt
Chico Outlaws - Garry Templeton
Edmonton Capitals - Brent Bowers
Na Koa Ikaika Maui - Cory Snyder
Orange County - Paul Abbott
St. George RoadRunners - Darrell Evans
Tijuana Cimarrones - Enrique Brito
Tucson Toros - Tim Johnson
Victoria Seals - Bret Boone
Yuma Scorpions - Darryl Brinkley

Evans to manage 'Runners in 2010

In the game of musical chairs of Golden Baseball managers, someone stopped the music and everyone is grabbing a seat. After the recent announcements of several new skippers across the league, a familiar name has surfaced as the new Field Manager in St. George.

Darrell Evans is the new head honcho for the RoadRunners in 2010. After his abrupt departure as manager of the Victoria Seals, Evans will begin his sixth season in a GBL dugout wearing his fourth different uniform.

Evans managed the Long Beach Armada for three years, beginning with the GBL's inaugural season in 2005. After serving as hitting coach for the OC Flyers en route to the 2008 Championship, he landed in Victoria to help jump-start the new franchise. For whatever reason - mainly speculation that Evans was searching for another gig while still being paid by the Seals - he won't be back in the capital city of British Columbia, and will instead spend his summer in the comfy confines of southwest Utah.

It's a nice fit for Evans, who will have a chance to again start over and - more than likely - bring along Dan DiPace as has been the case in all three stops he has made in the GBL. Who knows, maybe even John Warden will come out of the woodwork to reunite with Darrell and Dan to reform the original Armada coaching staff from 2005. Can you say "getting the band back together"?

Below is a piece from The Spectrum newspaper in St. George about the new skipper. The Flyers open the season May 21 at Bruce Hurst Field against Evans and his RoadRunners.

ST. GEORGE - St. George Roadrunners majority owner Will Joyce is living his dream of owning a baseball team.

And he's entrusting an old friend to lead the Runners on the field.

The Roadrunners officially named former Major Leaguer and Golden Baseball League coaching mainstay Darrell Evans as their manager Friday.

Evans replaces Cory Snyder, who left the Roadrunners to coach the expansion Maui team.

"I told him, if I ever bought a team down the road, I'd like to have him as our manager because of our relationship," Joyce said.

A part-time scout for the San Diego Padres, Joyce used to send players to Evans, who was managing independent league baseball.

The friendship was clearly visible during the press conference. Evans, a member of the 1984 Detroit Tigers, cracked jokes at the expense of his friend - and longtime Indians fan.

"Will has told me he expects to win every game," Evans joked. "(The 1984 Detroit Tigers) had the best start of all time, but it's a little lofty for me."

Evans has seen the Golden Baseball League grow. Since it's the league's inception six years ago, Evans has been the dugout leader at various stops at Long Beach and Victoria, Canada.

He also added that the league has changed since it was created.

"The players know they have a chance to get another shot," Evans said. "It's a lot different from five or six years ago. They're finding you. We'll have to filter through that and get the right people here and get better.

"The league has gotten a lot better. I get to do what I really love doing and get to be a teacher and be around young people. They keep you young and keep you going."

Roadrunner general manager Rick Berry said bringing in someone with experience was crucial.

"He's been around a long time, and he has the connections," Berry said.

Aside from being apart of the 1984 Detroit Tigers team that won the World Series, Evans played 21 seasons in the big leagues.

He amassed 414 home runs, 1,354 RBI and 1,605 walks. Evans is also one of two players to hit 100 home runs for three different teams - the other being Reggie Jackson.

His managerial career in the Golden Baseball League started with the Armada, where he led them to the league's championship series in 2007.

He claimed a GBL championship in 2008 as a bench and hitting coach for the Orange County Flyers, and was the first manager and director of player personnel for the Victoria Seals.

But Evans' stint with the Seals ended with him getting fired earlier this month.

In an article printed in the Victoria Times Colonist on March 3, Victoria president and co-owner Darren Parker was quoted as saying, "evidence has come to light to suggest Evans chose to solicit employment as field manager with another team while still receiving a salary from the Seals for the 2010 season."

When asked about it, Evans balked.

"I'll give the Mark McGwire answer. That's in the past," Evans said. "I had a great time up there. We're in this situation now. We're looking forward to St. George."

Added Joyce: "He wound up getting his relationship terminated. He loved Canada. He loved the opportunity. But that's baseball. Managers are hired for one reason: to be fired. That's all part of the game. We're excited about having him here."

Dixie State coach Mike Littlewood was also in the running for the position.

"If things didn't work out with Darrell, I would have hired Mike Littlewood," Joyce said. "He was a high-character individual. I told him, if the job becomes available, then he'd be a guy I'd come back to."

Evans doesn't plan on wasting anytime getting involved with the local community.

"It's a great place to play baseball and it's a great atmosphere," Evans said. "(Community involvement) is so important in Independent ball.

"Believe or not. The players love being around the community. They like the community involvement."

Joyce said Evans will be greeting fans as they enter Bruce Hurst Field to build a better sense of community and support for the team. Evans will also help build the team's brand that will be advertised even during the periods when baseball isn't played.

Joyce looks to forge an alliance with Dixie State to have Evans promote the team in the off-season.

"The alliances we've struck in the organization will be key," Joyce said. "We want to do things differently. We want to be more involved in the community. ... He's a hands-on guy. He's a people person. He's a very sharp baseball mind. We're fortunate to have a guy like him."

Berry said by having greater community involvement, the team may have a chance to survive in St. George.

"We have a second life," he said. "It's good to have (Evans) committed to being part of the community because that's key."

Evans was visibly excited about the prospects of coaching a team in St. George.

Only time will tell if that excitement remains as the season moves forward.

"We're going to play the game right," Evans said. "That's the demand we have. We want these players to show you how good they are and move on, so we can keep replacing them with people.

"It doesn't really matter. The best teams play .600 baseball. Win 60 percent of the time, you're going to be in the (running for a) pennant every year.

"Nobody has been able to tear the uniform off me for the past 45 years and it's not going to start now. I can't wait to get going."

Open Tryouts lead to invites

It's been a busy few months leading up to the sixth season of Orange County Flyers baseball. Paul Abbott and Co. held open tryouts last weekend to find the best diamonds in the rough, resulting in a handful of invites for Flyers Training Camp in May.

The Flyers fought through a grueling pair of fully-extended best-of-5 playoff series to capture the GBL championship in 2008, but after failing to reach the postseason in 2009, Abbott is looking to find the right combination of chemistry and talent for OC to become the GBL's first ever two-time champion.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Check out these mini-Flyers

On Saturday, March 13, Coal Train and the Flyers street team headed out to Santa Fe Springs for SFS Pony Baseball's Opening Day. This season, this particular league has several teams playing as Golden Baseball League clubs, including a mini-Orange County Flyers. Check out the video...