As he attempts to prove he's a worthy candidate for the Houston Astros' managerial vacancy, interim manager Tony DeFrancesco is attempting to capitalize on one of life's basic truths: Kids like new, shiny toys.
DeFrancesco has a friend in the electronics business, and the friend gave him a selection of $200 headphones to give to the player of the game after every Astros win. But since wins are few and far between in Houston these days, he loads up on days like Wednesday's 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs.
"Today was a thousand-dollar day," he said, smiling.
Astros officials disclosed Monday that they have begun interviewing six to eight candidates to be the 2013 replacement for Brad Mills, who was fired last month. DeFrancesco, who was brought up from Class AAA Oklahoma City, is one of the candidates, and every win helps his cause.
"I hope my presence on the field right now, the experience I'm getting right now, can lead me to a permanent position," he said. "I know I can do the job. When I'm in the clubhouse with the guys and talking with the staff and players, I'm excited about the opportunity. I feel confident with what I'm doing on the bench. I don't feel any pressure."
One element in DeFrancesco's favor may be his familiarity, dating back to his tenure managing the Class AAA Sacramento team in the Oakland A's organization, with the data-driven mind-set favored by Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow.
"I grew up with that system, we implemented it in the minor leagues, and I believe in it 100 percent," he said. "I hope we can translate it to the young players.
"The reason we're making outs is that were chasing balls out of the zone and not being selective. If we can increase our on-base percentage, work the count, get the starting pitcher out of the game, that comes into play when trying to win games."
DeFrancesco would not disclose when he will have his official job interview with Luhnow and Astros owner Jim Crane.