Recently I had the opportunity to spend some time with Rochester Red Wings manager Gene Glynn. In his two-plus seasons with the team, they've won at least 72 games each year, as well as leading the Wings to their first playoff appearance in seven years. In part one of our conversation, we talk about the blend of veterans and young players on his team, recently picking up his 400th
win as a minor league manager, and why he chose baseball over basketball.
: Can you talk a little bit about the team you have this year? You have a good mix of veteran players and young guys. Is that the ideal setup that you want as a manager in Triple-A?
Well it is, because the veteran guys share a lot of information with younger players. They keep themselves in check too because they've been around for a reason, and I'd say that they're very open to sharing that information. We don't have Danny Santana here right now, but we have a couple of young pitchers with a good mix of veteran guys, like (Scott) Diamond, Kris Johnson and Aaron Thompson. We have enough veterans to make that happen, and one thing they say about baseball is they said it's about being one big family. Well it is. You're always looking to pass things on that you've seen and heard and have been taught in the past. You relate things to players, what they look like or pitches that they throw. So yeah, it's a good mix of guys and they kind of keep each other in check.
Photo Courtesy: Joe Territo/RedWingsBaseball.com
: As a manager, do you count on the veteran guys to be the example for the younger guys?
You would hope that's always the case, and as a manager I do count on that. Sometimes you'll approach a guy and see if he'll spend a few minutes to talk to him. It could be Eric Fryer with the catchers. Even though Chris Herrmann has been up and down from the big leagues, he hasn't caught all that much the past couple years, compared to being a pinch hitter and playing multiple positions, even with Danny Rohlfing. So you know the catching is a good example of what you'd expect out of a veteran guy who has gone through a few wars. Even if it's more in the minor leagues than the big leagues, it's still games played and situations that you've experienced.
:You picked up your 400th win as a manager last week, as well as approaching your 200th win as Red Wings manager, did you know that? Do you look at win/loss records at all?
I didn't know that, and I really didn't know how many wins I had anyhow. I always figured that most guys my age are in the thousands, when they're in their middle 50's. I'm 57 now, so I don't think there are going to be any great milestones that I'm going to reach as a manager, so I don't look at it.
: You were Minnesota's first “Mr. Basketball”, back in 1975. Being a two sport athlete, what made you decide to go with baseball over basketball since you were successful in both sports?
When I came out of high school, I still wanted to play both sports, and I didn't want to give one up just to go to a Division I school. My scholarship at Minnesota State - now, it was Mankato then - was for basketball, but I was able to play both sports. It was just something that we did growing up in a smaller area. You were expected to be a part of a team and represent your school.
Fortunately I was able to play a lot. Baseball came because of being invited to camp with the Expos in June of 1979. I really wanted to play baseball, and I knew that at my size, basketball wasn't going to happen. There was no three-point line, no dunks, it was a big man's game for the most part even though you needed guards. Even at that age, you had to be realistic for where you might have a chance, and I felt like I had that in baseball.
: Safe to assume that you were a Twins fan growing up?
Oh yeah. We watched the Twins in the American League, and a lot of times we got to watch the St. Louis Cardinals in the game of the week due to a regional game, but yeah, Minnesota, primarily.
: How cool is it to work for the organization that you grew up watching now?
It was a big reason that I came back to the field, because of the opportunity with Minnesota. Moving back there from Denver, growing up in Minnesota and had been with many other organizations. It meant a lot to me, I think at my age, to come to Minnesota. After being gone for a long time, to living there again, to be a part of the Twins, was a big drawing point for me to come back.