|Image from SteveSaxSpeaks.com|
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Who saw this coming?
Associated Press, 12/19/2012 07:48 PST
“Arizona hired Steve Sax as its first base coach. Sax, 52, was a five-time All-Star second baseman. He's been a motivational speaker since his playing days. Sax and Arizona manager Kirk Gibson were teammates on the Los Angeles Dodgers.”
Was there even a hint that Steve Sax wanted back in baseball? He had been quite active on the motivational Speaking/financial planning circuit and from what I could tell he was quite successful at it. He even was promoting a book last year when he hit the circuit. This announcement came out of nowhere and had to be something that stemmed out of Gibson and Sax’s teammate relationship while they were Dodgers together.
I never even considered Sax as being coaching material. I don’t think the organization ever considered him to be the level of ball player that was considered to be real baseball savvy, but maybe I’m wrong. Mickey Hatcher was the ultimate example of the type of player that you’d never take too seriously, yet he has now had a 20+ year career in the coaching ranks.
Apparently Sax has made attempts to get his name out there and try to get back in baseball. “I’ve been thinking about this for a number of years,” he said during a Diamondbacks conference call with the media yesterday. So he went a few steps further and started shopping his name. Sax distributed resume’s to all MLB teams and then made the rounds at the Nashville winter meetings in order to land a job. It was there that the D-Backs first met with him and expressed some interest. A few interviews later and he had the job.
Arizona had a vacancy, firing former Rockie and Dodger Eric Young after the season ended. Though Brett Butler has been a very successful Triple A manager for the organization in Reno having won a PCL Championship, they still opted to hire Sax for the Major League position over him.
Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers has stated that an area where the team needs to improve is in the base running and base stealing department, something he expects Sax to contribute significantly.
I must admit that Butler could have competently served in that capacity and other areas as well since he has the field manager experience now. While it is surprising that Sax comes in with no coaching experience and landed the major league job, I will give him this. He is one tenacious individual who gets what he wants after setting a goal. Maybe his business acumen has served him well. He’s a man that markets himself well and apparently he impressed the Arizona Diamondbacks brass well enough to hand him a Major League coaching job without any past experience. Kudos to Steve and good luck ! (Just not too much of it).
I would suspect that Butler is a bit miffed at being passed over after having put in some valuable work with the D-Backs organization. I wouldn't be surprised if he decided to move on, but that is pure speculation on my part.