Tony Beasley, who guided the Double-A Harrisburg Senators in 2011, takes over the reins as manager of the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs for 2012, and is ready for a big difference in the players he coaches and their mental approach to being one call away from Major League Baseball.
Beasley moves from managing what are usually the top prospects for a franchise at Double-A to Triple-A, where the players are either one step away from Washington, D.C., or are in a holding pattern, ever so close to the majors.
Beasley believes that is where the unique challenge lies for him at the Triple-A level versus managing prospects in Harrisburg.
"I am really honored about the opportunity and I am excited, as well," Beasley said. "It is going to be somewhat of a challenge, I would imagine, since I have never managed at the Triple-A level. I think at Double-A, you are dealing with prospects and guys that are happy to be there and glad to get to that level.
"But as a manager (in Triple-A) you are dealing with the emotions of players who probably (are) not wanting to be there, thinking they should be in D.C. I think that is half the battle right there, to make sure everybody is on the same page, that you have good morale and that it is still baseball today, not worrying so much about tomorrow. I think that is probably going to be the main challenge, but I am really looking forward to it."
To get ready for such a possibility, Beasley spent time talking to the Chiefs' two previous skippers, Randy Knorr and Trent Jewett, to learn what they encountered managing at the Triple-A level.
"Trent managed at Triple-A a long time and he definitely understands the mentality there and how to deal with the players," Beasley noted. "That was very helpful to me. But I have to still be myself and still do things that I have done over the course of my career as a manager.
"The things that I am passionate about are the things that will hold true: respect the game, play the game hard, try to create an environment where we can have fun and enjoy the day, (an environment where we are) looking forward to coming to the ball park with the expectation of getting better today and winning a ball game. I think it is going to be fun."
Beasley is pleased that Troy Gingrich will follow him as hitting coach from Harrisburg. Greg Booker, an eight-year major league veteran with Minnesota, San Francisco and San Diego, remains on the staff as pitching coach in Syracuse.
"Troy and I were together all last year, so it is definitely a plus when you have someone that you already know, you can trust and you have a good working relationship with," Beasley said. "He is also very knowledgeable at his job.
"We are also lucky to have a guy (like Booker) who has been there and done that. He has been at the major league level, too. He understands the league, the nuances of things and I am sure I will be in some situations where I will have to ask him, 'What have you guys done in the past?.'
"Both guys I know well from spring training last year. We see eye to eye. I am anticipating a great chemistry amongst the coaching staff and we will have a good time together, enjoy what we do everyday, supporting one another and helping each other carry out our daily tasks."