We had a chance to talk with new BlueClaws manager Mickey Morandini last night, the day after he was named the 10th manager in BlueClaws history for this new BlueClaws Blog Q&A.
Morandini managed Williamsport last year to a 43-33 record and they just missed making the playoffs, getting knocked out in the last week.
What was it like getting back to managing this past year? I always wanted to get into it (professional managing). I have three boys and I wanted to let them grow up a bit before I got back on the travel scene. I coached high school for four years and liked working with the kids. We had a great year last year, this year I’m looking forward to working with Legger (Greg Legg) and Les (Lancaster). I’m just looking forward to moving up the ranks and coming to Lakewood.
How was working with the young pros rather than high school players? It’s a little different. They’re more polished up here, but you still have to have a lot of patience. It was the first year in pro ball for a lot of them. I had a real good group of kids last year and I would assume we’ll have a lot of those same kids this year.
What players stood out for you? Kyrell Hudson made some real big strides. He and Aaron Altherr both had real good years. Maikel Franco was our 3b for most of the year and Kelly Dugan had a real good year too. Our pitching staff carried us. We led the league in ERA with Williamsport and hopefully a lot of those guys will make the jump.
How did you end up back with the Phillies in this role? I had talked to Ruben (Amaro) and they offered me a job a few years after I retired but I wasn’t ready to jump back into it. I wanted to see my boys grow up a little bit. they said there was an opening coming into last year. I talked it over with my family and I jumped back in. I love teaching, the Phillie way, and I had a great time.
You mentioned the “Phillie Way,” what does that entail? It’s just basically how to play the game. I had to do the little things to survive at the big league level. I’m not a guy that likes to rely on the three run HR. I like to teach bunting, hit and runs, good defense. If you do the little things, you always have a chance to win.
What do you remember about your time playing with Legger (Scranton in 1990-91): It was my first year in AAA. He was more towards the end of his career. We got along very well and were kind of similar players. He was really intelligent and taught me a lot as a young player. I kind of formed a bond with him back in the day and we’ve remained good friends.
Did you guys turn some double plays? We did turn some. He played a lot of third and a little short. We turned a few.