Carrying a wood bat in his hands as he strolls around the Arizona compound, Padres’ manager Andy Green runs his camp with a silent confidence. It is impossible to monitor all 60-plus players as they are mixed about the multiple practice fields, bullpens, and batting cages at the Peoria Sports Complex.
When he first took the job in 2016, I was given an opportunity to ask the manager a couple of questions at an event. One thing that has always stood out is to me (from that day) is that Green communicated he had issues relying on his coaching staff then. He knew how he wanted each drill and practice run, but was still implementing his demands to his coaching staff and had problems allowing them to do the job.
In fact, Andy told me at one point he guided each and every practice and drill for his young team during the spring. Green admitted to me this week in Arizona that he has softened his stance on controlling the whole practice time. I was curious if he still felt that he needed to use his coaches more, and though he wouldn’t say it directly, he did nod and smile at me in response to the question. Enough said.
The young manager controls his team very well and has no issues whatsoever in communicating with them. He has the ability to motivate like no other. In time, he has learned how to be a complete manager. If you ask him, he would not claim any sort of perfection in his craft just yet. The manager is developing his skill, like the majority of the talent on his roster, and that is just fine. The Padres are content with that.
In order to implement a new philosophy, you need a leader who is committed. A leader that will go down with the ship if it ever gets to that point. And Andy Green IS that man. The Padres should never be in that scenario though, as the feeling around this camp is that the franchise is on the verge of something special. But it is nice having a leader who is accountable for all their actions.
Being in that locker room and observing these players interact with each other is something very interesting to witness firsthand. There is an obvious family-type atmosphere in Padres’ camp, and there is a clear hierarchy within the group. The players themselves look upon each other as equals, but at the same time, there is a clear mentorship program being implemented throughout camp in virtually every aspect of the game.
I watched A.J. Ellis work closely with many young hurlers. Matt Strahm in particular was spotted working closely with the veteran backstop in a bullpen session. I also saw Ellis speaking to a few of the younger catchers about certain facets of the craft before he departed for the afternoon. Ellis is clearly able to communicate with youngsters, and that is something he has in common with his manager.
There is just something about Andy Green. A thing. A factor. When you speak to him, you feel as though he has your whole attention. In this day, that is rare. Not only in the game of baseball, but in life itself. He will get the most from his players and they will go the extra mile for the greater good of the team. You can be assured of that.
The Andy Green factor will help the Padres this 2018 season. The manager will have his players motivated and ready to compete each and every day. There is no guarantee of success in the game of baseball, but being prepared only tilts the odds in your favor.
As I watch Andy Green stroll through Padres’ camp, I am at ease that the team has a general who possesses a watchful eye. There is nothing that goes on in camp that he is not aware of. The Andy Green factor runs deep, and one day should pay huge dividends for San Diego sports and its starving fan base.