Thursday, November 1, 2012

Memories of Mike Redmond, Lugnuts manager

A brief timeline of events:

-  Catcher Mike Redmond played in 2010 for the Cleveland Indians, his last season in the Major Leagues.  (Visual evidence:  Mike gets thrown out at first base from the outfield.)

-  In 2011, Mike Redmond was hired by the Toronto Blue Jays to manage their Class-A affiliate in Lansing, Michigan.  The Lansing Lugnuts finished the season 77-60 and persevered their way into the Midwest League Championship Series.  Redmond was named the MWL Manager of the Year.

-  In 2012, Mike moved up to manage Class A-Advanced Dunedin.  The Dunedin Blue Jays went 78-55, first place in the Florida State League North Division, before losing in the FSL semifinals.

-  Today, the Miami Marlins hired Mike Redmond as their new manager.

***

I handle the radio broadcasts and the media relations for the aforementioned Lansing Lugnuts, and so I can tell you a little about my experience with Mike Redmond.

1.  Mike is best friends with former Major Leaguer Mike Lowell.  Wherever he goes, chances are that Lowell will stop by.  Mike Lowell is a fantastic guy.

2.  Redmond has a real quick smile, a sly glint in his eye, a great sarcastic wit, a sharp laugh, and he's terrific with the media.  ESPN's Jayson Stark emailed the Lugnuts at one point about something, and it came out that he's a big Redmond fan.  I would say that Stark has a lot of company in that camp.

3.  On the surface, Red's very much a players' manager.  He's quiet, he enjoys a good time and a good joke, and he sticks up for his guys.  This, however, will change in a hurry (behind closed doors) if his players do not play up to his standards.  Absolutely no one's getting buried in front of the media, but guys certainly will get ripped in the clubhouse.  Mike is subtly intense and his temper will boil.

4.  The naked batting practice story is true.  If you don't know it, google it.

5.  My favorite Redmond story, though, was one he told me while we were sitting in the dugout before a game.  Brad Radke's on the mound, Red behind the plate, with the Twins one strike away from a win -- but Radke is finding it increasingly difficult to put away the last hitter.  Mike Redmond heads out to the mound.  "He can't hit a slider," Red says to Radke.  "I don't throw a slider," says Radke.  "I don't care," says Red.  "He can't hit a slider, so I'm calling for a slider."  Back goes Redmond behind the plate.  He puts down the signal for the slider.  Radke sighs, nods, and throws his best attempt at a slider.  Ballgame.

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