MIAMI Curious to know how the new Miami Marlins manager will differ from his predecessor?
Start with Twitter.
I have a Twitter account I set it up about a month ago, and I have two followers, so Im not sure my message is getting out, Mike Redmond said with a laugh Friday, when he was introduced as the Marlins new skipper. Ive only Tweeted once. That whole social media thing, Im a little slow on out in Spokane, Wash., where I live. Were still trying to catch up.
Not so for Ozzie Guillen, who was fired Oct. 23 after just one disappointing season.
As of Friday afternoon, Guillen had 269,718 Twitter followers and had Tweeted 2,847 times though not at all during most of last season after he got into trouble for making seemingly pro-Fidel Castro comments in a magazine interview.
Thats not to say Guillen is more personable than Redmond. Theyre just different.
Where Ozzie was always talking loudly and laughing even louder, Redmond exudes a friendly, genuine demeanor, quiet confidence and has a habit of injecting humor when answering questions.
He did that as a well-liked Marlins backup catcher on the 2003 World Series champion team. He did that Friday, when he wore his World Series ring to his introductory press conference.
I wear it on special occasions, he said. When I lift this thing up and think about it, I smile. There are so many guys that were part of this (2003) team that care about this organization that want to see this organization get back in the right direction, the championship direction.
Redmond, 41, enjoyed a playing career that produced a .287 overall batting average and benefited from lessons learned under managers such as Jim Leyland, Jack McKeon and the Minnesota Twins Ron Gardenhire.
I sat on the bench a lot, its well-documented, Redmond said. I watched, I learned and I asked questions. I pumped my teammates up. I did the things I knew would help a team win. And now, as manager, I know what to do.
Apparently so. He spent the past two seasons leading the Toronto Blue Jays Class A affiliate, the Lansing Lugnuts, and their Class A-Advanced affiliate, the Dunedin Blue Jays, to the playoffs.
Redmond told a story about how, in his first pro season, he was Charles Johnsons backup catcher in the minors. He was so excited to have a baseball card, one that included the words: Will be a coach when his playing days are over.
Right out of the shoot. I think (the words were) picked for me, he said.
Redmond, who stepped into minor league managing right after he retired in 2010, said the interview for the Marlins job was his first job interview ever.
After learning his name had been mentioned as Guillens possible replacement, he checked out the Marlins roster on the Internet. That pretty much was the extent of his preparation.
Or was it?
My prep was my 13 years in the big leagues and my 17-18 years of professional experience. The rest was me being myself, he said.
I felt like I was prepared for any question that they asked me, and I gave an answer for every single one.
Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest said one of the probing questions was: Are you ready for this job?
Redmonds response? I was ready last year.
Redmonds hire brings obvious comparisons to the Chicago White Soxs Robin Ventura and the Cardinals Mike Matheny successful, young managers with little to no prior experience.
In each of those cases, the organization had experience with those players and had a confidence and were comfortable with them and its the same with Red, Beinfest said. I dont know if you do that if you dont necessarily know the guy.
Redmonds longtime familiarity with the organization, in Beinfests mind, fills another important void.
We kind of lost our Marlins Way, Beinfest said. The Marlins Way was we always outperformed our challenges. Whatever our challenges were playing in a football stadium, or the weather was a challenge, or the lack of fans, or lack of revenue, we always found a way to outperform our challenges.
After finishing last in the NL East, attitude and philosophy cant be the only thing that changes. Trades and maybe even a modest smart free-agent signing are needed to improve the talent and the chemistry.
Neither Redmond nor Beinfest guaranteed a team that will contend in 2013. Not because the Marlins wont, but because theres too much work between now and April.
In his new job, Redmond has called and spoken to about half the team.
A few probably see the 954 area code and let it go straight to voice mail, Redmond said. But thats OK, I probably would have done the same thing.
Its hard to see Ozzie Guillen letting such a call go to voice mail.