Trembley realizes his big-league dream
Orioles interim manager excited to be Major League skipper
SAN DIEGO -- This man is his own mission statement. Dave Trembley, Baltimore's interim manager, took the reins Tuesday with a sincerity and a zeal for his job seldom seen in the Major Leagues. Trembley said that his primary mission is to get his players to enjoy the game and realize that they have everything going for them.
That attitude is a given for men like Trembley, who spent two decades in the Minor Leagues before getting his big-league break. Trembley managed nearly 2,800 games in the Minor Leagues before the Orioles beamed him up to the Majors, and he's determined to get his message across to his players immediately.
"I'd like to get the guys to appreciate the opportunity that they have," said Trembley, who took over on an interim basis for the dismissed Sam Perlozzo on Monday. "I think that's kind of gotten away from us a little bit, and I think that happens when you have a lot of misfortune and you start losing. I think you tend to take things for granted a little bit and forget where you've come from and what it's taken to get here.
"I think all these guys are men -- they're big-league players and you don't need to rub salt in the wound and remind them how things have been. But I think you need to wake them up a little bit and give it to them straight. I'm going to give it to them straight. The way we've played is not acceptable. The way we've done things is not acceptable."
Trembley never played professionally, but his Minor League resume shows that he can lead a team. The 55-year-old is a three-time Manager of the Year in three different leagues, and he's led his teams to two titles. Back in 2001, Baseball America named Trembley as one of the top five Minor League managers in the previous 20 years.
Still, he never found his break until last September, when Perlozzo tabbed him as an extra coach for the final month. Trembley did well in that trial basis and was added as a full-fledged member of the staff in Spring Training, where he coordinated the team's daily duties and also served as a bullpen coach.
Trembley has also served as bench coach on several occasions when Tom Trebelhorn had to leave the team. Despite his joy in accepting the position, Trembley said he regretted replacing Perlozzo, who gave him his shot.
"The reason I'm here is because of Sam Perlozzo," he said. "I'm sure all of you people have been in situations where people tell you a lot of things, and they tell you what you want to hear. I was in the Minor Leagues for a long time, and I'd always wanted to come to the big leagues. [But] I don't play golf and I don't network. I don't do that. I just believe in working hard and treating people right. I always thought that was the way you got to where you wanted to go.
"I've had a lot of people tell me, 'Hey, when I get a job in the big leagues, I'll take you.' It never happened. ... Sam Perlozzo went to bat for me. A lot of people never did that. For that, I'm so grateful. No matter what anybody says about the way he managed, the kind of person Sam Perlozzo is is first class. First class."
Baltimore's vice president of baseball operations Jim Duquette said it was just the right time for a change. He chose Trembley for his experience at leading teams, but he didn't fault Perlozzo for everything that's gone wrong.
"I don't think there was any one thing," said Duquette. "I don't think things were going the way we had expected them, so we felt like we had to make a change. Hopefully, the players can get together and the changes we've made can be something we use to go forward from here. We still have a lot of the season left.
"There's plenty of time to get things going in the right direction. We've just got to do it one game at a time."
Trembley, a native of upstate New York, wasted no time in asserting himself Tuesday. He had the team run extra infield practice after batting practice, an extraordinarily rare thing in Baltimore. That attitude plays perfectly into his mantra of stressing the fundamentals and controlling the things you can handle on the field.
"I think that's what you do: You learn to compete, and then you win," he said. "We haven't competed very well, and these guys that follow our club know that. And I think the guys know that.
"We haven't competed very well, for whatever reason. Everything that could possibly go wrong has gone wrong. We're much better [than that] -- and I think the makeup of the team is much better."
Baltimore interviewed former Marlins manager Joe Girardi Tuesday about filling the manager's chair on a more permanent basis, and Trembley is aware that he may not be in the role for the rest of the season.
"To be perfectly honest with you, that's none of my business," he said. "I didn't ask yesterday and they didn't tell me. Mike Flanagan, Jim Duquette and Mr. [Peter] Angelos run the team. They're at liberty to do whatever's they feel is in the best interest of making the Baltimore Orioles better. But I can tell you, while I'm here, I'm going to do what I can do to make the Baltimore Orioles better."
"We're very confident, until we find a replacement, that he's going to do an excellent job -- for however long that is," added Duquette. "He said he was appreciative of the opportunity -- whether it was one day, one week or one year."
No matter how long he's the manager, Trembley has realized his goal. He's a big-league manager, and he'll always be recognized as such in the baseball record books -- even if it's just for a few games.
"I'm very aware of who I am, what I am and where I've come from. I managed in the Minor Leagues for a long time," he said. "In my wildest dreams, I could never imagine me getting a chance to manage the Baltimore Orioles. That's so far out there, and the cirumstances presented themselves. [But] I wish it didn't happen the way it happened."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.