Orioles manager Buck Showalter calls Brady Anderson the Pied Piper because of his ability to connect with some of the organization’s younger players whom he trains. The team’s executive vice president for baseball operations, Dan Duquette, lauds the former Orioles standout’s passion for player development and conditioning.
But Anderson, who was named special assistant to Duquette on Thursday, said he was never pining for an official role in the organization. His desire to work with Orioles players, which has been going on in an ad hoc capacity for two years, was rooted in results and not necessarily recognition.
“It really didn’t matter if I had a title or not,” Anderson said Thursday night at a benefit event at Camden Yards. “I was more reluctant because, what does it matter?
“Why do I care?” Anderson said, shrugging. “So I can get a business card? I don’t want a business card with my name on it. I’m happy I don’t have one.
“I have a true joy of making players better and helping the Orioles become better, and I know I have the tools to do that. I could have gone on indefinitely. It’s not like I was calling and asking for a title. It was just the opposite. I was like ‘I’m fine. Don’t worry. Don’t worry.’ ‘What are we going to name you?' ‘It doesn’t matter.’
It’s obvious that Anderson, an Orioles Hall of Famer, is someone the organization wants to have around more. It’s also obvious to the organization that he’s not there for the spotlight, but rather to pay attention to the details of making players better. He’s seen throughout the organization as a tireless worker, and his success as a player gives him credibility with younger players -- title or not.
“The commitment he’s made is not some ex-great Oriole who wants to show up once a month somewhere and sign autographs,” manager Buck Showalter said Thursday night. “He wants to be in the dirt and in the clubhouse and be a part of it. He’s very serious about the Orioles, and he’s been doing it a while. Everybody trusts him, and he’s got a pure heart. That’s important.”
In the offseason, Anderson had been training several Orioles players in California -- left-hander Brian Matusz, righties Chris Tillman, Rick VandenHurk and Tommy Hunter, outfielders Nolan Reimold and Adam Jones and infielder Mark Reynolds have been among the participants. After this week’s three-day min camp, Anderson will return to California to continue training players there, giving the Orioles training places on both coasts (several players will also train in Sarasota, Fla., leading up to spring training).
The word is that Hunter had dropped 20 pounds in a short time working with Anderson, and during a Q&A session with fans on Thursday night, Anderson said Matusz has “made the biggest physical transition [of] any player” he’s worked with. Showalter added he thought Matusz looked like he was in the best shape he’s been in.
Anderson also added that one of the best things for h im has been fostering a level of competition between those players on the field and in the weight room. He joked that he’s gotten calls from players asking why the Orioles have gone out to sign a number of starting pitchers, and Anderson’s answer has been simple: Take care of your own business and it won’t matter.
A couple of other Friday morning tidbits:
At last night’s Q&A, which benefited KidsPeace, a charity Showalter and his wife, Angela, have been involved in, Showalter said many teams have asked about Jones -- as well as the Orioles’ young talent, including top shortstop prospect Manny Machado.
“If you were at the winter meetings, you’d see how many people came up to Dan asking about our young talent, and watch Dan say, 'No,'” Showalter told the audience.
Also, Showalter met with former Orioles catcher Chris Hoiles on Thursday about a possible role within the organization. Nothing is official yet, but stay tuned.
Hoiles also might join the Orioles as a spring training instructor. Word is former Oriole B.J. Surhoff could as well. Terry Crowley, Mike Bordick and Scott McGregor are other former Orioles who will also be in Sarasota next month.
I tweeted this last night, but reliever Kevin Gregg will not be attending FanFest on Saturday. There have been storms in the Pacific Northwest that have caused severe flooding, and Gregg’s home in Oregon is among those affected.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times