It's been more than 30 years since the last time I spent a full season in Class A in the Minor Leagues, so serving as manager of the White Sox Class A Advanced affiliate at Winston-Salem this year has brought back a lot of memories. Being around these young kids,
It's been more than 30 years since the last time I spent a full season in Class A in the Minor Leagues, so serving as manager of the White Sox Class A Advanced affiliate at Winston-Salem this year has brought back a lot of memories. Being around these young kids, it makes me think back to when I was grinding it out and trying to improve my game in every aspect.
I wanted this job because everybody says you have to manage somewhere if you want to manage in the big leagues. You need a few years of experience to know what it's all about. There's the process. You have to know how to deal with 25 personalities in the clubhouse. I've done that as a coach, but not as the manager. I notice the difference here with the decisions you have to make. The fact that you have to tell guys they're not playing, or they're being sent down. It's a learning process for me, too. I have to go through that in order for me to manage in the big leagues, which is the final goal.
I think back to some of things I did wrong and did right when I was coming up. I know these guys are doing the same. The fact is that you're going to struggle a little bit in baseball. All of these guys had a lot of success in high school and college. Then they come to Class A ball, all of the sudden, they find themselves in an 0-for-25 slump. These are some of things that happen. How do you get out of it? It's just part of your learning process, and how to deal with failure.
I just tell them to stay positive. I tell them to keep doing the work, one thing at a time. See the ball, hit the ball. If you're a pitcher, you've got to do one pitch at a time, one out at a time. Just go little by little, and things will work out.
Communication is the key. You're dealing with young players. You've got to be a psychologist, a friend, an advisor. You've got to do a lot of things to get to know your players, to know what buttons you have to push in certain situations.
There's no doubt we have guys who are the future of the organization. I'm glad to be around this kind of talent. They have a great chance to make an impact with the White Sox.
But it also is a big responsibility. You don't want to be hurting any players. You've got to read their body language. You've got to know when they're tired. We play some good hard baseball, and we also play smart. You have to teach the game the right way so when they go to [Double-A] or [Triple-A], they're ready to play at a higher level.
It's exciting to tell a player he is moving up. At the same time, you miss them. You helped grow these guys, and then they take off to another team. But it's all good. As long as we're helping to improve their games, we're doing our job.
As told to Ed Sherman
Omar Vizquel is the manager of the Class A Advanced Winston-Salem Dash. He spent two of his 24 big league seasons with the White Sox.