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Green fires up Padres with first speech

New manager 'very inspiring, very to the point, very honest' in addressing full squad
MLB.com @FollowThePadres

PEORIA, Ariz. -- As someone who has spent parts of 11 seasons in the big leagues, Skip Schumaker figured he had heard it all in regards to the first-day speech by a manager.

But Schumaker was dead wrong Wednesday, as the speech delivered by Padres first-year manager Andy Green, he said, blew away the room.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- As someone who has spent parts of 11 seasons in the big leagues, Skip Schumaker figured he had heard it all in regards to the first-day speech by a manager.

But Schumaker was dead wrong Wednesday, as the speech delivered by Padres first-year manager Andy Green, he said, blew away the room.

Green hasn't won a game yet, but during his morning gathering in front of 60 or so players and assorted front-office staff, he certainly won over the room.

"I have been through a couple new manager speeches. I'm not going to compare what theirs were to Andy's, but I will say that that was one of the more inspiring speeches I've been a part of," said Schumaker, in camp as a non-roster invitee.

"You can ask the big-name guys. He hit home from the rookie to the veteran, and if you weren't excited about getting started with Spring Training and the new culture he's bringing, you don't have a pulse."

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Green has been working on the parameters of what he wanted to convey to his team for a while, with the structure of the speech coming from many of the six visits he paid to six players in five states over six days in January.

The message he delivered touched on optimism, expectations and accountability, with a dash of humility that resonated with players.

"For me, it was about them taking ownership of this club and understanding it's a player's game and it's always been a player's game," Green said when asked about his message.

"If we're going to be great, they've got to rise up and lead and they have to stand up in places they haven't in the past. The bar is being raised. ... This is how we're raising it."

Video: Andy Green talks about leadership in the clubhouse

Schumaker, who sat through a similar first speech by first-year manager Mike Matheny during the spring of 2012, gushed over the inspirational tone Green spoke with and the conviction with which he delivered his message.

"It was something different. Right from the beginning, he knew everybody's name in every department and their title without any sheet of paper," said Schumaker, who has played for Tony La Russa, Matheny, Don Mattingly and Bryan Price in his career.

"He knew their title, what they did, how they're going to help us. From the start to finish of that speech, it was incredible. That was the first time in a long time I've been locked in on a speech and didn't waver."

Green's message resonated with first baseman Wil Myers, who is in his second big league camp with the Padres. He doesn't have nearly the service time Schumaker does, but the message still hit home.

"I think that everybody came out of there very motivated. It was something I had never seen before in a head coach; it was very impressive," Myers said. "It was really good, very inspiring, very to the point, very honest."

San Diego team president and CEO Mike Dee and lead investor Peter Seidler were in the clubhouse as well for Green's speech.

"What made today special, with what Andy said to the team, was the work he did in the offseason, visiting players, getting to know them, what they think, what they want here," Dee said. "It's going to be a lot of empowerment to the guys in the clubhouse. That's his style, and I think it's tremendous."

Tweet from @Padres: "There's a lot of work to do but there's a lot of great, exciting things to come here." - Peter Seidler pic.twitter.com/SZh3ymAKl6

There figure to be more speeches along the way for Green, but nothing likely as substantial and important as the one he delivered on this day.

"He doesn't sugarcoat anything. What he says, he means," Schumaker said. "For a player, that's huge. In this game, you get a lot of fluff in upper management and people telling you things you want to hear.

"He's the opposite of that. He's going to tell you what he thinks and what he feels and what he means. As a player, you want nothing more than that."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

San Diego Padres