Bronson Arroyo believes Gene Lamont could manage just fine in Boston
|11.27.11 at 10:28 am ET|
While we wait for the raising of the appropriate flag, plume of smoke, or however the Red Sox choose to announce who will be their next manager, one familiar voice has offered an interesting perspective on one of the candidates.
Old friend Bronson Arroyo believes his former manager in Pittsburgh, Gene Lamont, could handle a position the pitcher knows a something about – managing in Boston.
“No, I don’t think it would be a problem at all,” said Arroyo by phone when asked if the 64-year-old Lamont could handle the unique aspects of the Red Sox managing job.
“Not to the same degree in terms of the twang and all of that, but the way the guy [Charlie Manuel] handles it in Philly might be similar. He kind of says his peace. He doesn’t elaborate a whole lot. He lets the players do the speaking on the field. He lets most of the things that really don’t matter for wins and losses in the game roll off his shoulder. I think Gene is one of those guys who can do that.”
Lamont and Bobby Valentine have, according to a team source, been identified as the two finalists for the Sox’ job.
Arroyo was just 23-years-old in the 2000 season when he pitched for Lamont in what would be the then-53-year-old’s final season as manager of the Pirates. It was a bad Pittsburgh team that year, with the pitcher describing the 69-93 club as one that, “just didn’t have good enough ballplayers, period. Guys who should have been on the bench for a decent team were in the starting lineup.”
For Arroyo, however, the season was memorable because it marked his first foray into the major leagues, appearing in 20 games and making 12 starts on the way to a 2-6 mark with a 6.40 ERA.
And while Arroyo didn’t make the big club out of spring training that season, Lamont still left an impression.
“He was kind of a manager who would stay to himself a little bit, in his office and stuff, so I didn’t have much interaction with him. But he was a laid-back guy. Easy-going. Wasn’t going to get frustrated very easily. He wasn’t the type of guy who was going to explode over the team or anything with a temper. He rolled with the punches,” the former Red Sox hurler said.
“He would have meetings at times about different things. I remember a couple of times we had some fights on the bus and he had some meetings, but for the most part he was very similar to Terry Francona. He was going to ride the season out, try to let players do what they do and not ruffle too many feathers.”
By the time the 2000 season rolled around, Lamont had already managed seven big league seasons – four with the White Sox and three in Pittsburgh. In Chicago he finished with a 258-210 mark, winning American League Manager of the Year in 1993. With the Pirates his mark was 295-352.
Arroyo would play two more seasons in Pittsburgh under Lamont’s replacement, Lloyd McClendon, before heading to Boston for three years.
Arroyo reiterates the style that Lamont implemented in Pittsburgh wasn’t all that different than what he witnessed in Boston with Francona, with the manager leaning on his coaching staff until a stronger voice was needed.
“Sure, 100 percent,” said Arroyo when asked if the styles between Lamont and Francona were similar. “I think he leaned on his coaches a good bit and he wasn’t going to step on anybody’s toes. He was going to let the outfield coach do his job. He was going to let the hitting coach do his job. He’s not going to dictate all the facts of the game. I think he’s definitely going to give them their responsibilities and let them take care of it.
“I think he’s one of those guys who only spoke when it was needed and because of that people would definitely take notice. I think he was respected, and people respected his opinion and definitely listened to what he had to say. He didn’t talk much so when he did people knew it must be something that was important.”
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