Sandberg sets tone for Phillies this spring
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP)—Ryne Sandberg wanted to get his first spring training address as the Philadelphia Phillies’ manager right, so on Monday night he laid out all his notes, some jotted on tiny scraps of paper.
The next day he saw the results of his planning in the clubhouse at Bright House Field.
“I wanted to get everybody on the same page as far as expectations, my philosophies on things and my definitions on things,” Sandberg said. “Respecting the game was one of the topics. . I laid things out there so there is no misunderstandings. I was excited to see everybody and actually get started with the process of molding the guys together as a unit.”
The Phillies started to put those well-crafted words into practice Wednesday.
Sandberg joined the Phillies organization in 2011 as the manager at Triple-A Lehigh Valley and he took over the major league managing job in the middle of last August. Sandberg replaced the likable Charlie Manuel, who guided the organization to a World Series title in 2008, just the second championship in the franchise’s history.
Sandberg’s game plan is succinct: fundamentals and hard work.
“That’s something I like to stress—I know the importance of fundamentals,” Sandberg said. “Having the drills and starting it now really gets the guys thinking. We’re going to stress them and we’re going to do them daily. We’re going to repeat them. That’s going to be a routine set in spring training. We will do them throughout the season. It’s really creating a routine so the players will adapt to it and get used to it.”
Sandberg has used a very detailed approach in his managing this spring. He even had his coaching staff use blue spray paint to mark the spots on the bases where his runners should be landing in order to get the best possible turn as they round each base.
“For me (base running) goes a long way as far as winning baseball games,” Sandberg said. “Sometimes it goes unnoticed. I think it’s one of the facets of the game. Good base running, in a lot of ways, wins you more games than any facet of the game.”
When Sandberg spoke with the team, he didn’t evoke his Hall of Fame credentials. But he did talk about the little things that helped him make that career for himself, the things that help teams win.
“This spring training is a big, big difference in the last two just in the first few days,” closer Jonathan Papelbon said. “There is a lot more upbeat positivity. It’s night and day, it really is. . It starts from Ryno. It starts from our manager in encouraging us to stay positive and be upbeat even though the last two seasons didn’t go as expected for myself and the rest of the guys in that clubhouse.”