Saturday, June 5, 2010

He'll be OK

As of Friday, Dave Trembley is an ex-major league manager. This is thanks to the Orioles' totally token move of firing the man, which falls squarely under the heading of "See???? We're doing SOMETHING."

The move is made all the more useless by the fact that I don't think anyone in Baltimore is paying attention anymore. People are suddenly allergic to that beautiful stadium there, unless they're wearing Yankee caps.

I don't believe for an instant that Trembley had anything to do with the Orioles' horrible start this season. You can say I'm biased because I've talked to Trembley several times, I've talked to his very nice mother, I know at least one of his childhood friends, and he grew up in a town that's 10 minutes away from me.

And you're probably right. I am biased. But I'm also realistic. There is no way anyone could enter that disaster of an organization, virtually bereft of talent on the major league level, and with a front office that has been disfunctional since King Angelos rode into town, and produce even five more wins than Trembley did.

Most observers have been kind to Trembley upon his departure. He is a pleasant, upstanding, principled man, accommodating to fans and is owner of one of the greatest minor league records in the history of baseball. You can't help but respect the guy even if his team was lousy. Sure, he had faults. Any manager has faults. You just notice them more when his team is 15-40.

But for those who only notice the record and attach the blame to the shoulders of Trembley and believe that he will be lucky to get a bullpen job in short-season Class A after this performance, I say:

Trembley doesn't care.

He enjoys teaching baseball, wherever he is. The major league life is nice, but he is too secure in his level-headed upbringing to worry about whether he'll return to the majors or even whether he'll coach in baseball again. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Trembley, pushing 60, retired to Florida, where he lives, to spend time with his wife and son, content to escape the slavery of the road, which has been an ever-present hassle every year since 1985.

Until 2007, Trembley was a veteran of long bus rides, from Pennsylvania to South Carolina, Tennessee to Kansas to Florida. He did what it took to help make players better and make the major leagues. He accepted assignments to 12 different pro teams for the Cubs, Pirates, Padres and Orioles and at every level of pro ball. He has managed over 3,000 games.

For his entire career, he has said "where do you want me, boss? I'll work my hardest."

It doesn't matter where or how wonderful the accommodations. All that mattered was he was teaching baseball.

One story that he once told made me laugh. He was relaying his first trip to the majors, which was in September of 1998. He had just boarded his first major league flight with the Cubs and they were traveling to San Diego. Trembley had been used to bus rides almost exclusively during his two decades of managing.

"It's a charter flight, a private flight," Trembley said. "Flying out, the stewardess comes up to me and says, 'Will that be red wine or white wine, sir?' I said, 'Excuse me?' and she said, 'Will that be red wine or white wine?' I said, 'Ma'am, I've been on a bus for the last 15 years. I have no idea where I am."

Don't you worry about Dave Trembley. He'll be OK.

Maybe when the Orioles find their way again, someone will be able to point to a bit of success and say, "Hey, I learned that from Dave Trembley. You have to give him a little credit for what we're doing here now."

2 comments:

  1. 100%, without a doubt, I agree with you. The Baltimore brass is a total crock pot of crap, and like to place the blame for their own shortcomings on their managers. I liked the guy Trembley replaced as well, Sam Perlozzo. He didn't really do anything to get fired, and the guy they replaced him with, Trembley, wasn't an upgrade in my opinion.

    I grew to love Trembley over the course of the past few years, and will definitely miss seeing and hearing him around. He seems like a real person, and not someone who is overly concerned with appearances or perceptions. Someone I could have a beer with.

    They said that about Dubya though too, for what that's worth.

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  2. Dave was a class act in an unfortunate situation-which I guess is all that Orioles baseball is these days. But he was a decent guy and a great autograph signer; I'm sure he would appreciate the time and thought that you put into this post about him.

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