The Baltimore Orioles have made quite a few changes in their front office during the fall and winter, and one change has been pretty popular among the players. Last week the Orioles named former outfielder Brady Anderson special assistant to Executive VP of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette.Anderson joined the Orioles at midseason in 1988, the awful 54-107 season. He was the starting center fielder of the 1989 “Why Not?” Orioles team that nearly went worst-to-first in the American League East. The 1989 team finished 87-75, two games behind the Toronto Blue Jays—so Anderson knows a thing or two about improving dismal teams.
Anderson stopped by FanFest this year at the Baltimore Convention Center, and many players praised his full time addition as Duquette’s assistant.
Anderson has always been helping out, so he will be doing pretty much what he’s been doing for years. If you’ve been able to catch the Orioles taking batting practice during the season, you probably saw Brady throw some batting practice or flying around the outfield shagging fly balls, but now he is official.
Asked about his role, Anderson said, “It’s more versatile I guess. The sort of person to work with the front office but also hands-on with the players. I guess if I simplify it, it would be mproving players’ skills.”
Anderson said some players have come out to California to work with him to work on improving their skills—Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Tommy Hunter, Jeremy Guthrie, to name a few, and Adam Jones will be heading out there soon.
Anderson likes his teaching role. “I really don’t believe in training players as a group, to give them a manual and expect them to get it done. You have to be hands on and watch them improve and correct them as they’re doing things, something I believe wholeheartedly.” He also stated that each player has their own needs, and he supports their need to train individually.
He went on to stress the importance of mechanics. “When you’re not strong mechanically, you’re going to break down. Think about what pro athletes do for a living, it’s unusual. You can’t do average things and expect to be extraordinary.”
Brady also touched on one of the things he misses most about playing professional baseball. “The greatest thing about baseball was that I knew if I succeeded that I was doing it against the world’s best. I still keep searching for that thrill of playing sports.”
The Orioles are his team. “I have never even tried to get a job with another team, it means everything. It makes sense. It’s what I want to do. I did everything I could when I was a player to remain in Baltimore, of course I didn’t ask to be released, but I would have liked to have finished my career here. I always had that feeling of wanting to be a player who played their whole career on one team. Obviously it didn’t happen, although I almost did that, but not quite and so working for the Orioles makes perfect sense in that regard.”
Anderson finished his career in 2002 with the Cleveland Indians.
So far both players and fans are happy to officially have him in Baltimore, and judging by the shape he’s in at 48, imagine how much he can help players half his age!
by Andy Mindzak