I sat next to Dave Trembley in the visiting dugout at Tropicana Field back in 2007 as he relayed the story of how he broke the news to his wife, Patti, that the Orioles had just named him interim manager, that all those years riding buses through the minor league landscape had brought him to a most unexpected stop - his dream job.
Trembley was supposed to drive her to the airport. Instead, he invited her to take a walk, held her hand and told her about the phone call he received that would change their lives.
As he shared that moment with me, Trembley’s eyes moistened and the words caught in his throat. A brief pause turned into a more pronounced silence.
“Wow,” he said, staring at his players as they stretched before the game. Trembley tapped me on the leg, a mechanism to reel in his emotions, stood up and headed out to join them behind the cage.
Now he’ll join the list of managers who have been fired.
It goes with the dream job.
I’m waiting for the Orioles to send out a press release this morning confirming Trembley’s dismissal and Juan Samuel’s promotion to interim manager. Samuel isn’t likely to hold the title throughout the summer. The search continues for a replacement. He’ll just guide the ship for a while and try to keep it out of the rocks.
Is it rock bottom when you’re 24 games below .500?
I’m afraid to keep reaching. There always seems to be more room.
You’ll probably find that the man who’s put in charge will be hard-pressed to orchestrate a worst-to-first turnaround, so don’t get your hopes up. It’s the same roster. It’s the same issues. But you always hear how a different voice can energize a clubhouse.
The words aren’t coming easily to Trembley today, just like that afternoon in St. Petersburg, but my guess is we’ll hear from him again. In the meantime, he should grab Patti’s hand and take a stroll along the beach.
Life’s too short. Make it a nice, long walk.