Notes: Players positive about Trembley
Players, coaches praise recently extended manager
BALTIMORE -- The word moved quickly throughout the Orioles' clubhouse, spreading to each corner within a few moments and eliciting the same type of reaction from whomever it found. One by one, the Orioles expressed admiration for Dave Trembley, who was officially confirmed as the team's manager for next season on Wednesday.
"It's very exciting for him individually and for us as a team. He respects the players and he communicates," said rookie starter Jeremy Guthrie. "I think the translation is people play better. They're comfortable out there on the field and they give everything they have. We're winning games and hopefully we'll continue to do that at an even better rate than we already have."
"The one thing about Dave Trembley that's awesome is the dues he's put in to become a manager," added first baseman Kevin Millar. "This guy's done a lot of games and a lot of buses. He's eaten a lot of Taco Bell.
"The stories that he's had to go through to get to this level is awesome. ... I've been asked a lot, 'How do you respect Dave Trembley if he's never played pro ball?' You respect what he's had to go through to get to this level."
The news was the latest in a busy year for Trembley, who broke camp as Baltimore's bullpen coach. Trembley was elevated to interim manager in late June and was told last month that he'd finish the season as field boss. Now, he's learned that he'll be back as manager next year, which gives him a chance to put his own handprint on the team's immediate future.
"This whole thing has been overwhelming for me," said Trembley, who managed in the Minor Leagues for more than 20 seasons. "Think of the greatest thing that could ever happen to you in your life. This is what's happened to me, and it didn't happen because somebody gave it to me or because I kissed somebody's butt. It happened because I worked."
Trembley, who's gone 29-25 as manager, hasn't made friends by bending to everyone's will. He's done things his way, insisting on a basic sense of punctuality and professionalism to pervade his clubhouse. He's changed the team's workout schedule and demanded more from each individual, but he's never let them lose sight of the team theme.
"He wasn't given much of a chance by people writing," Guthrie said of the media. "But I think if you asked the 25 guys in this clubhouse, every one of them was excited and thought that he had as much of a chance to help this team and to turn this thing around as anybody. That's the important thing, realizing what the players around him and the situation feel.
"I think the feeling right away was that this is a guy that is going to come in here and stress the details and the fundamentals. And I think the translation was that we were going to become a better team because of it."
Trembley's emotions were never far from the surface Wednesday, and he visibly welled up once during his press conference and once during his informal interaction with the media. Late in the day, he acknowledged those emotions head-on.
"I'm not surprised because I care," he said. "I care enough about telling people what I think and how I feel. I thought that's the way it's supposed to be. Walking around like some tough guy -- I don't feel real tough today."
Extra hits: Pitching coach Leo Mazzone, who doubled as the best friend of dismissed manager Sam Perlozzo, said he was happy to see Trembley get a big league break.
"I think it's wonderful that he gets the opportunity to run this thing and I know that he's going to do extremely well," Mazzone said. "He paid his dues and I'm real happy for him. I can relate a little bit, spending 23 years in the Minor Leagues myself. That turned out OK, so I think it's going to turn out OK for him, too. I really do."
One of the most oft-repeated criticisms of Trembley is that his rah-rah style of leadership doesn't fly with top-level professional players. Critics often opine that his extra drills will weigh on his relationship with his players, but it doesn't have to be that way.
"Dave is consistent," said Guthrie. "He's going to be the same way that he was in the Minor Leagues and in rookie ball. And that is first things first, fundamentals and to be on time and prepare ourself so that we ... can be ready for the game."
"We get caught up in this Disneyland atmosphere where we have the greatest lives in the world," said Millar. "I think it's also a job and I think it's also a business. You've got to show up here and prepare yourself to be the best player you can be."
Trembley said it's not about being a dictator, and it's not about doing extra drills for the sake of doing extra drills. His bottom line is trying to make the Orioles the best team they can be, and he thinks his players understand that.
"Lord knows I'm the last person in the world that's going to try to change the way somebody plays," he said. "I have no framework of reference to do that. ... But I do have a framework of reference to tell these guys the difference between what's right and what's wrong, and how things should be done and how things have been done."
Good as gold: Brooks Robinson, a Baltimore icon and 16-time Gold Glove winner, has been named to the All-Time Rawlings Gold Glove team. Robinson, who built a Hall of Fame resume largely on his defense, received 61 percent of the vote among third basemen. He'll play next to shortstop Ozzie Smith on the mythical team.
"It truly is an honor to stand with the very best defensive players," said Smith as part of a prepared statement. "With so many great players, it's almost impossible to pick the best at each position."
Quotable: "I feel very vulnerable today. And I'm going to have a tough time when this whole thing's over. I've got to get my butt in there and prepare myself for a game tonight." -- Trembley, on his emotions before gametime
Coming up: The Orioles will open a four-game series against the Twins on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Steve Trachsel will start the opener, and he'll be matched up against Minnesota's Boof Bonser.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.