Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Reaction to the Bret Boone signing

He leaned into the microphone and announced "Hockey season is over!!" And so began the stream of colourful quotes that is sure to become a trademark of the Bret Boone era as manager of the Victoria Seals.

Reaction to the announcement amongst the assembled media was unanimously positive. The three caballeros at the Victoria Seals Baseball Blog were also thrilled to learn that Bret Boone will be gracing the confines of Royal Athletic Park this summer. Not only are his baseball credentials impeccable (we'll publish a separate blog post summarizing his playing career), but we expect him to be a great ambassador for the game of baseball in this community.

After chatting with Boone for a few minutes, you can't help but get caught up in his enthusiasm for the game. He has been officially retired for less than two years and it's clear that he is looking for another challenge. As he said earlier today, "There is only so much golf you can play." Boone is using this season as a test run to see if managing has the potential to become a second career for him. As he himself mentioned, the Golden Baseball League season is only 3 1/2 months long, so the time commitment is much less than if he were to manage an affiliated minor-league team.

Boone suggested a couple of times this afternoon that he'll be an easy manager to play for. As a player, he was a rugged second-baseman who played the game with a lot of intensity. While I don't doubt that he'll be a "player's manager", I pity the poor guy who lolligags it to first base on a routine grounder. Ol' Boonie is likely to tear a strip off of him pretty good.

Boone has played for some pretty good skippers over the years, such as managing greats Davey Johnson, Bobby Cox and Lou Piniella. He expects that his managing style will take a little bit from each of those guys. Based on my observations this afternoon, I would expect him forge an identity all his own. Boone is a true maverick and he's not afraid to express his opinion. In a sports world full of athletes and managers who spout out meaningless clich├ęs to reporters, he's a breath of fresh air. The sports writers in this city are going to have a lot of fun this summer during post-game interviews, because Boone is not afraid to speak his mind. So much so, that I wouldn't be shocked to see him run into trouble with the suits in the GBL office. Strap on your seat belts Victoria -- we're in for quite a ride!

Seal Blubber Bits
  • The good news for Seals fans continues to mount.  Josh Arhart will be returning to Victoria for the 2010 season as a player-coach.  We'll be grunting "Arrrrrrrrrrhart" this summer after all!
  • The remainder of the Victoria Seals coaching staff will be announced shortly. Boone suggested that he had a couple of old teammates in mind, but that nothing was official. Rumours were circulating this afternoon that the Seals new pitching coach was a well-known lefty who used to play with Boone in the majors. Randy Johnson played with him in Seattle in 1992 and 1993, but perhaps that's just wishful thinking on my part. Last season the Seals didn't even have a full-time pitching coach, so the team would be better off with any of Boone's old teammates.
  • Boone will be using some of his baseball connections to help uncover talent for the Seals. His father, ex-major league catcher Bob Boone, is Assistant GM and VP of Player Development for the Washington Nationals.  John McLaren, the current bench coach in Washington and former manager of the Mariners, is another good baseball man who might be of assistance in helping Bret identify talent.
  • I'd like to congratulate Darren and Russ Parker for engineering a signing of this magnitude -- especially in such a short period of time after the firing of Darrell Evans.  The Parkers know Boone from his playing days with the (now defunct) Calgary Cannons of the Pacific Coast League.  Boone played in Calgary for portions of 1992 and 1993 before getting called up by the Seattle Mariners.