Brewers officially hire Roenicke as manager
AP Sports Writer
MILWAUKEE (AP) – The Milwaukee Brewers put Ron Roenicke through multiple interviews that lasted hours upon hours in their search for a new manager. When he finally got an offer, Roenicke took 2 1/2 minutes to say yes.
The 54-year-old longtime coach was officially hired as Brewers’ manager on Thursday, his first manager job at the major league level after 11 years with the Angels. After one final talk with Brewers owner Mark Attanasio at his home in Los Angeles on Monday night, the Brewers made their offer on Tuesday.
“Sometimes it was maybe more like an interrogation process, but really good, I really appreciate the hard work, the digging up information on me,” Roenicke said. “I’ve done a lot of things to get ready for this job.”
Roenicke signed a two-year contract with a club option for 2013. He takes over a team that went 77-85 last season and finished 14 games behind NL Central champion Cincinnati.
Roenicke emerged from a pool of eight candidates that included finalists in former Mets manager Bobby Valentine, former Mariners and Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin and White Sox bench coach Joey Cora.
“Our process for filling the managerial process probably took a little bit longer than we anticipated,” general manager Doug Melvin said. “Ron was the right person for this club and this organization at this time.”
Roenicke said his wife, Karen, checked Internet message boards in the days leading up to the offer.
“I have two new nicknames – ‘Dark horse’ and ‘No. 4’,” Roenicke quipped. “It’s a great opportunity, I’ve certainly been blessed and I want to thank Doug, Mark for giving me this opportunity.”
Roenicke, who has been praised for his close relationship with the Angels’ players, inherits a team that has three All-Stars signed long-term in starter Yovani Gallardo, left fielder Ryan Braun and right fielder Corey Hart.
Prince Fielder has one more arbitration eligible year and will be a free agent after next season, as will second baseman Rickie Weeks.
“There will be a connection with the players and I’m going to make an effort to make sure that there is,” Roenicke said. “You know, players today, they’re a little different and we have to adjust to that, if the player needs to know that I’m behind them, the player’s going to know that. I’m going to have their back, they’re going to know it.”
Former manager Ken Macha spent the last two years at the helm, and acknowledged he struggled at times relating to Braun and Fielder. Milwaukee fired Ned Yost with 12 games to go in 2008 and made the postseason under interim Dale Sveum, who went 8-8.
Sveum is back as hitting coach for two more seasons under Roenicke. Rick Peterson has one year left on his contract as pitching coach, but won’t necessarily return to that role.
Roenicke managed for six years in the minors, but only filled in for Angels skipper Mike Scioscia. He went 7-0 in those situations.
“The most important thing for me in communication is listening and he’s a very good listener,” Doug Melvin said. “The one thing that stood out for me (in the interview process) is he said, ‘I’m not experienced, but I’ve experienced a lot.’ I think that stood out for me.”
Never more than in an off-the-field situation.
Many of his former colleagues in Angels have pointed to the leadership role he took in the wake of Nick Adenhart’s death in April 2009. Roenicke was emotional when talking about Adenhart and the effect it had on the clubhouse and his own life.
“That was a tough time to go through it as a coach, as a player and life sometimes, it doesn’t seem to be fair,” Roenicke said. “You do what you can for the players.”
Roenicke played eight years in the majors for six teams, but said he worked under eight different managers and learned the things he liked and didn’t about each style.
He’s also been a part of Scioscia’s staff that has included current Rays manager Joe Maddon and Padres skipper Bud Black. He hopes to have diverse coaching staff in place that’s similar to his days in Los Angeles
“Mike is very strong headed. I’m a little strong headed at times, people can convince me of things, but yes, I don’t want a bunch of coaches that just say yes to me,” Roenicke said. “If they’re always saying just, ‘yes, Ron, yes Ron,’ they’re not helping me out.”