When the Orioles hired Dave Wallace as their pitching coach on Oct. 29, they got a man with a lot of experience, a World Series ring and a reputation for working well with with young pitchers.
During the Winter Meetings last week in Florida, I had a chance to catch up with Wallace for a video interview.
Wallace has served as pitching for four teams - the Houston Astros (2007), Boston Red Sox (2003-06), New York Mets (1999-2000) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1995-97). He was with the Mets when they won the National League championship in 2000 and the Red Sox when they won the 2004 World Series.
Overall, Wallace has worked in professional baseball since 1981, serving as a major league coach, minor league coach and front office executive with six organizations.
I asked Wallace what led him to this position with the Orioles.
“Well, it was kind of a surprise,” he said. “I had gotten a call from them in October. Just finished instructional league with the Braves. Dan (Duquette) asked if I was interested and certainly I was. I know him a little bit and Buck (Showalter), I know about (Showalter) and had been across the field from him. I was intrigued by his intelligence and his reputation.
Of course, (also) Baltimore history. It has always been a great baseball town. I put all those things together, talked to my wife, it piqued my interest so we went to step two.”
How does he feel it will go working alongside Showalter?
“I think communication is the key,” Wallace said. “I’m a big believer in communication and keeping the manager aware of what is going on. The manager always has the last say when the game goes on. We’ll put our heads together pre-game and during spring training, and I anticipate a pretty good situation.”
Wallace spent the past four seasons as minor league pitching coordinator for the Atlanta Braves, overseeing the progress and development of the organization’s minor league personnel. Prior to joining the Braves, he worked for two years (2008-09) as a special assistant to the general manager of the Seattle Mariners.
When Wallace works with young pitchers, is improving mechanics the biggest key to helping them, or are there other things that matter?
“There are so many things,” Wallace said. “That is one thing, but you really have to study their delivery and them personally before you make suggestions, so you have a good indication that what you will say makes sense to them.
“You’ve got to build relationships and work on their psyche, as well as their physical conditioning, in-game attitude, aptitude, approach, aggressiveness, controlled emotion. All those things go into making a good pitcher.”
Below is the interview with Wallace