Extension is wish come true for grateful Trembley

Career minor leaguer right fit for MacPhail

August 23, 2007|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,Sun Reporter

As he prepared to manage his first major league game two months ago, Dave Trembley was aware that many miles away, Orioles officials were interviewing Joe Girardi for a job that Trembley didn't figure to hold for long.

But from his debut June 19 in San Diego all the way to this past Saturday, when president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail told Trembley before dinner at a Toronto restaurant that he wanted him to be the team's manager next season, Trembley vowed to do things his way.

And that won't change even though the longtime baseball man's life suddenly has. The Orioles announced yesterday that Trembley's contract has been extended through the 2008 season, with a club option for 2009.

"When I got the job, it was above and beyond anything I'd ever hoped, wished or dreamed for," Trembley said. "I didn't ask and I wasn't told how long it was going to last for because I figured it was none of my business. ... You're in it for the team and you're in it for the game, not for yourself. It worked out."

Asked how he felt at dinner when MacPhail delivered the news, Trembley's voice cracked with emotion as he said, "Kind of like being a little kid. Finally, what you've worked your whole life for happened."

Trembley thanked several people at a news conference yesterday, including his wife, Patti, Orioles owner Peter Angelos and the rest of the front office, which gave him an extended audition for the job after Girardi turned it down. Trembley has a 29-27 record since taking over for the dismissed Sam Perlozzo.

MacPhail originally had planned to begin a managerial search after the season, but he decided there was no use waiting.

"Once you decide this is the right fit, there's no reason not to go forward," MacPhail said. "If you don't have a manager in place the first day of the offseason, everything else gets backed up. One thing I've talked to Dave about is you need to start thinking about changes you'd like to make for 2008. It's better to get started now.

"Everything that was attractive about Joe Girardi to us - getting a team prepared and communicating with his players - as it turned out, we have all those things in-house with Dave. The players have a certain comfort level with Dave. You've seen from the player comments already how enthusiastic they are, so everything that I was trying to achieve there, we have now."

Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, who got to know Trembley in the minor leagues, said that the players felt all along that he could succeed if given the opportunity.

"He wasn't given much of a chance by people writing and by people talking, but I think if you asked the 25 guys in this clubhouse, every one of them was excited and thought that he had as much a chance to help this team and to turn this thing around as anybody," Guthrie said. "I think the feeling right away was that this is a guy that is going to come in here and stress the details and the fundamentals and I think the translation was that we were going to become a better team because of it."

Trembley spent 22 seasons in professional baseball and 20 years as a minor league coach, including several seasons in the Chicago Cubs' organization, where he got to know MacPhail.

"He was a very good manager in the minor leagues," MacPhail said. "He was tough and, frankly, I wondered if he wouldn't be too tough for today's player. But as he said, players today ... want input from the manager. Players make a lot of money today. They get a lot of media attention, but they're competitive, they want to improve. They like that feedback."

Second baseman Brian Roberts said Trembley hasn't changed since spring training.

"He's the same person," Roberts said. "That's what's really funny about it. Most people say a coach goes to a manager or a minor league manager becomes a big league manager and they always change. I can honestly say I don't think he's changed. From running spring training to now, he's been the same person. You want to respect a person like that and you want to play hard for a person like that and I think it shows here."

There was nowhere to hide from the story. Trembley said he started getting phone calls around 6 a.m. yesterday and his phone never stopped ringing. Trembley walked around the clubhouse before the game and the televisions were tuned to ESPN, which carried part of his news conference.

"I've never felt like I'm here to prove myself or audition," Trembley said. "But to be in the big leagues now, managing in the big leagues ... wow! Are you kidding me?"

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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