Offseason Q&A: Randy Knorr
Randy Knorr’s headed back to the bigs this year. Syracuse’s 2011 manager will serve as bench coach on Davey Johnson’s 2012 staff, a move that came as to a surprise to a bunch of people – including Knorr himself, who figured he was Syracuse-bound again. I caught up with the always-entertaining Randy yesterday, who was happy to chat about baseball and other games that involving hitting a white ball. (Fore!)
Were you surprised when you got the job?
Yeah, it was a surprise. They didn’t really talk to me until almost a month after the season – actually longer than that. I didn’t find out till the week before Thanksgiving. I just figured they were going with someone else – it kinda shocked me when Davey called.
How much are you going to miss managing?
Well, for me, the bench coach is managing without making the decision. I’m gonna follow the game and in my mind I’m always thinking about what I’d do – in a sense I will be managing without making the moves. But I’ll miss managing for sure. I love managing and instructing, and hopefully we can get back to teaching. I think teaching in the big leagues is a lost art, we need to get back to that…some coaches don’t because of what their salaries are. But there’s still a lot to learn in this game. Frank Robinson told me “Don’t ever close your eyes or close your ears, because there might be something you’ll miss.” For him to say that to me, what does that tell you? It might be an approach to get through to a player you want.
What do you think about the makeup of the team right now?
I went up there in September and they played very well, it was fun to watch them and it looks like they can carry over to this year. We beat some good teams, the Braves and Phillies, and I put us right up there with them. Health is going to dictate a lot.
One of the big moves the Nationals made was the Gio Gonzalez trade. He’s a great player, but I imagine you’ll miss Tommy Milone and Brad Peacock.
Yeah, when you’re around guys for as long as you are around those guys, it’s tough. But you look at the trade – it’s gonna benefit them and benefit us. They probably weren’t gonna have the chance to start the year in the bigs with us. Now the last time I’ve seen Gio was in A ball, he was striking out ten to twelve guys then. He’ll occasionally get behind hitters, but he’s got the stuff to get out of jams.
Tony Beasley will take over for you in Syracuse. What’s your opinion of how he’ll fit in?
Actually, I think he’s gonna be pretty good. In 2006 he was the third base coach in the big leagues, and last year we had a lot of Double-A/Triple-A conversations. I think he’s gonna do well. I like what Doug Harris has done and the scouting department for getting some of these players, too. And they get (Greg) Booker back and Troy Gingrich who is highly regarded, he’s our best minor league hitting instructor. Troy brings knowledge and work ethic, he’s relentless, hes very patient, and I think that’s a big key to success.
Have you done any baseball work in the offseason?
A couple friends of mine run the St. Petersburg college baseball team and I’ve come down and helped them. It’s been a lot of fun for me. I’m not in charge and I can say whatever I want.
That could be dangerous.
Yeah it is, because I think there’s a profanity law in schools and that doesn’t work with me. *laughs*
What else have you done in the offseason?
I did figure out one thing this offseason – it’s absolutely amazing how bad I am at golf. And I play twice a week. I refuse to take a lesson because I figure I’ve got the rest of my life to learn how to play. But I play a lot of golf by myself because I’m so bad. I’m not as bad as Barkley though. All my friends are good – I played with (Auburn manger) Gary Cathcart and (Nashville hitting coach) Al LeBoeuf and I really thought they were going to just send me home. I play at 3:00 in the afternoon so nobody else is coming and I don’t hit anybody. I can shoot par if nobody sees those 11 shots on a hole. Sometimes the card reads 82 – if I hit it off a house three times and get it in the fairway the fourth time, I figure those first three don’t count, right?
They sure don’t count for me.
Well, I’ll tell you what, it might be the death of me. I might break a club or something on a course when nobody else is around and accidentally stab myself. I haven’t broken any clubs this year, though, so that’s good.
Today’s lesson: don’t go golfing in the same area code as Randy Knorr. Send us your suggestions for players and coaches, past and present, at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and we’ll try and ring ‘em up.