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Jennings feels like he belongs in dugout

Marlins drop first game under new manager in 13 innings
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- Before taking the field on Monday night at Marlins Park, Dan Jennings had to go through one final rite of passage. Looking to create some levity on a team that has gone through plenty of anxiety, Ichiro Suzuki initiated an impromptu dugout ceremony.

To make Jennings, a career personnel evaluator, feel like he belongs, Ichiro placed a dress tie around the neck of the new Marlins manager.

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MIAMI -- Before taking the field on Monday night at Marlins Park, Dan Jennings had to go through one final rite of passage. Looking to create some levity on a team that has gone through plenty of anxiety, Ichiro Suzuki initiated an impromptu dugout ceremony.

To make Jennings, a career personnel evaluator, feel like he belongs, Ichiro placed a dress tie around the neck of the new Marlins manager.

View Full Game Coverage

"He basically said, 'You've been the GM, so put on a tie, and we'll shake hands with everybody, and then you can take it off, and you're our manager,'" Jennings said.

The final outcome of the night was a 3-2 Marlins loss in 13 innings to the D-backs, but the moment in the dugout completed Jennings' transition from executive to field general.

Video: ARI@MIA: Jennings on loss in his managerial debut

"It was almost a feeling of acceptance," Jennings said. "It was a special moment coming from a Hall of Famer. It was a warm feeling for me. It made me feel part of the group. It will be something I will always remember, and it was very special. He delivered it very well. He had fun doing it, and we had fun afterwards."

Video: ARI@MIA: Hill on Jennings being named new manager

Ichiro told Japanese reporters after the game that he wanted to make everybody relax and laugh. So he got the idea to use the neck tie as a symbol.

Each day, Ichiro sees members of the front office walking through the clubhouse wearing ties.

"You take off the tie, you become the man on the baseball field," Ichiro told Japanese reporters.

Monday was a historic day, with Jennings taking the unorthodox path to the dugout, never having coached or managed at any professional level in his 31 years in the industry.

Once the game started, the pace of managing the game hastened. It got even quicker in the later innings.

"From the seventh inning on, the game changes, it speeds up," Jennings said. "There is a lot of strategy that goes in, mixing and matching the bullpen. In that moment you feel it, and you truly are in a battle, and you're matching wits with the other manager, and the other team."

The fact Jennings has never previously coached or managed at the professional level doesn't concern Ichiro.

"If he knows about baseball, and he's a good man, I don't care," Ichiro said.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins, Ichiro Suzuki