Introducing Dave Trembley

A year and a day to the day from the firing of Orioles Manager Sam Perlozzo and the hiring (interim first) of Dave Trembley, and I feel like we’re finally getting a feel for his true personality.  And that’s a good thing.

At the beginning Trembley was terribly cautious with the media.  He just wouldn’t open up.  Nerves likely played a large role, then all the losing the final two months of the season, and who would open up.

We’d catch glimpses.  You knew he had the fire, watching him get tossed with far more regularity than either Perlozzo or Lee Mazzilli offered.  And his players continued to back him with vigor.  In the past, that group may have paid some lip service, but never passionately argued for their skipper (or against for that matter.  It’s felt like a decade since the Orioles exhibited the passion that defined the franchise).

The beginning to 2008 didn’t show Trembley to be any different.  The front office voiced its collective pleasure about the long time minor league manager, but we still were getting a guy with little visible confidence as the face of the franchise.  During press conferences Trembley appeared afraid he might say something wrong.  And with that reluctance, his power as a leader seemed diminished. 

Behind the scene, the Orioles recognized this too.  A team source told me a media coach was hired and worked with Dave at length about communicating, and that they were concerned with the progress.

But here we are almost half way through the season and the real Dave Trembley has arrived.  His pregame meet with the media today showcased an affable, knowledgeable, likable, and comfortable team leader.

He began with words that seemed out of left field.  As the print reporters all set their voice recorders Trembley said this reminded him of his time in inner city L.A. (he taught for three years at Daniel Murhphy Catholil High School “and has the scar to prove it”), but instead he was collecting contraband.

Trembley used to start out press conferences staring into the room at a spot on the wall hoping nobody would ask a question.

He continued today with a very frank discussion about his team.  He shared, with some apologies, how National League baseball is real baseball and much more enjoyable.  He recounted how the preparation for the nine straight games in which his pitchers will have to hit has been brutal.  “I just can’t watch it”, he said with a laugh.  Shaking his head he said some of the guys know how bad they are with the bat, but worse, how some actually thought they were pretty good. 

He’ll never throw anybody under the bus, but he isn’t afraid to poke some fun.

And that brings us to Kevin Millar.  I asked him had he ever been around a team, since baseball players are so traditionally superstitious, who’s leader would show up to the park when the team is playing well with a freshly dyed mane of platinum hair. 

Trembley responded with what he shared Wednesday with a group of sponsors.  “The first rule about inappropriate behavior is to ignore it.  But Kevin Millar isn’t going away.”

He delivered the line with a gleem in his eye and perfect timing.  This is not the same Dave Trembley we saw introduced 366 days ago.  And not coincidentally, the Orioles look a whole mess better too. 

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