Gedman following in his father’s footsteps – sort of
Question: What don’t people know about managing a team in the Futures Collegiate League?
Answer: Where do you want to start.
If you want to get a good laugh out of Nashua Silver Knights manager B.J. Neverett, ask him just that.
“It’s tough,” Neverett said on Sunday. “This isn’t like their college team, when they were starting and playing every day.
“Now you have to rub they’re backs once in awhile. I tell them the very first day, guys, this isn’t college any more. This is an All-Star team, the way it’s put together.”
Sometimes it helps if you have the pedigree. Enter Pittsfield Suns manager Matt Gedman, who in his third year brought his winning team into Holman Stadium Sunday for the second game of a home-and-home series of two of the better teams in the Futures League.
Of course, the name should be recognizeable, as Matt is not the only Gedman to have managed a visiting team at Holman Stadium. He’s the son of former Red Sox catcher (and current Pawtucket coach) Rich Gedman, who managed the old Worcester Tornadoes of the Can-Am League, and was well respected.
“It’s a day-to-day grind,” Gedman said before Sunday’s 4-3 win over Nashua. “You have 35 college kids, trying to make them happy in terms of playing time. …
“If you look my text messages, probably 20 of my last 25 are from players on the team to see (if they’re playing). Families are in town, certain people are in town, and they’re wondering of they’re playing certain days.
“So it’s tough. Lot of day-to-day stuff to make sure everyone’s happy. Guys take care of themselves off the field, and on the field it’s my job they’re doing the right thing.”
Gedman admitted his father likes being a coach more than a manager, as he gets to work with players at Pawtucket one-on-one. “He didn’t like the everyday, six guys once the lineup (is made), someone’s mad at him because they’re not playing. He didn’t like that part of it, but said just have guys do stuff the right way, be respectful, held accountable. Those are pretty much the things he’s taught me over the years.”
Gedman, like Neverett, said it takes time to know the players, “know what makes guys click”.
“Obviously, winning’s important, but at end of the day, did guys improve and have a good time,” Gedman said. “That’s my main mission.”
Matt Gedman’s full time gig is as an assistant coach at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. He also spent four years in the Sox minor league system as a first baseman. The highest the UMass-Amherst alum made it was Class A Salem.
Some day Gedman, who will strike you as the laid-back type, would like to be a head coach in college or a manager in someone’s system. He has a couple of courses left to take to finish his degree, so once that’s done he may make a push.
Meanwhile, “I learn something new every year, and I’m surrounded by good people. I think I’m close to being ready to do that. But in terms of right now, I’m happy.”
Gedman has learned that a key is getting good people around him. And he’s been a popular manager in the FCBL.
“He’s awesome, he’s very good,” Neverett said of Gedman “He’s a lot of fun, great guy, great for the league, kids love playing for him, they enjoy him. We’ve enjoyed him since he’s been in the league.”
Matt Gedman admits the Gedman name probably helps him a bit. And why shouldn’t it?
“I probably got a year or two extra in minor league baseball because of it,” he said with a grin. “My second year, I had a bad year, I probably would’ve gottne canned if it wasn’t for my Dad. I had a good year my third year, and after my fourth year (the Sox) had seen enough of me.”
So, you want to manage an FCBL team? Consider these words from the Suns skipper.
“It’s probably easier managing the Red Sox in some ways,” he said with a chuckle. “You’ve got 12 position guys. Somebody gets hurt, they send somebody up. You don’t have to worry about people leaving, about people getting hurt. College coaches calling you wondering (about a player), or shutting people down.”
There’s a way to do it at this level.
“The reality is, you all have an opportunity to earn your playing time,” Neverett said his words to his players always are. “So the better you play, the more you’re going to play.
“But managing the personalities, it’s interesting.”
Yes, managing in the FCBL isn’t as easy as you might think. If you have a Gedman or a Neverett running your team, you’re in good hands.
Tom King may be reached at 594-1251, or@Telegraph_TomK.firstname.lastname@example.org