Braves Unhappy With Brian Snitker?
Unless players are the only thing that matters to you, then as a Braves’ fan you already know that regular 3B coach Brian Snitker was recently replaced (some say demoted) with Doug Dascenzo for the 3B coaching spot in 2014. If you know little about Dascenzo, I’ll introduce you to him in a sec. First off though, I want to write a little about this supposed “demotion” some are, in my opinion, wool-gathering about.
Wool-gathering, if you’re unfamiliar with the phrase, is to engage in fanciful daydreaming. Perhaps the term is a stretch, but I get tired of people who engage in conjecture without really having any die-hard facts or quotes for support. Opinion pieces are all well and good, but I hate rumor without any substantiation, and I hate drama, period! In short, I’ve heard talk about Snitker being demoted because of some questionable 3B sendem or not sendem decisions he may have made this past season. If you’re a die-hard fan, I’m certain you’ll remember some of those games without me having to document the play-by-play. I’ve also heard talk about him being demoted as a scapegoat for losing the NLDS.
I don’t personally think any of that is true! I’ll agree that it’s a demotion in one sense – if you are a minor league coach (as Snitker was and had much experience with), and then you get the call up to coach on the big league level, but then get re-assigned to the minors again, even as a manager, then yes it’s a kind of demotion. But if you look at it from the perspective of the Braves getting rid of their Triple-A manager (Randy Ready) in Gwinnett, and replacing him with Snitker, then the move could easily be interpreted as confidence in Snitker! Let’s not forget the forgettable year Gwinnett had in 2013.
When Frank Wren was asked about bringing Dascenzo up to coach 3B, and sending Snitker down to Gwinnett, he was not his often vague self…
We had a need for a Triple-A manager and we had the need to have an outfield and baserunning coach at the Major League level. We had every other aspect and discipline covered. We just didn’t have [baserunning and outfield play] covered as well as we would have liked.
Well, there you have an answer that’s not vague at all! Wren says the Atlanta Braves had a need in Gwinnett (and clearly, if you look at their performance in 2013, they do!), and he also noted a need for better coaching in the base running and outfield categories. That is not an indictment of Brian Snitker as I read it, but merely a honest answer about an honest need for a good coach in Gwinnett, and a need to shore up coaching for base running and outfield work. In short, I think we can dispense with this notion of unhappiness with Brian Snitker.
I hate to go on and on as an apologist for Brian Snitker, but I suppose I will. The Braves are normally below average for being put out at home plate, and only had 15 this season. Only two other teams had better numbers (Miami Marlins and New York Mets). So, if you think Snitker was bad in decision-making about whether to sendem or not, you might wish to re-think that.
Let’s Meet Doug Dascenzo
Now let me take a bit of time to introduce you to the guy we’ll all see next year, who’ll not only be making decisions about whether to sendem or not, but who’ll also be playing a role, apparently, as a base running and outfield coach. I guess I’ll go ahead and admit that my sendem thing is a snide comment. It’s in reaction to those that think base coaching is no big deal, or that anyone can do it.
I’ll miss Brian, but I have high confidence in Doug Dascenzo’s abilities. He managed teams in the San Diego Padres organization from 2006 until 2011, rising all the way to Double-A, and also being graced with the Texas League Manager of the Year award in 2011 after leading his team to the TL Championship that same year. The Braves’ took notice, and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Doug brings a wealth of experience and success to his new role as 3B coach for the Atlanta Braves. He was first drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 12th round of the 1985 draft, and debuted with the Cubs in 1988. Doug played for seven seasons, and while he was never a stand-out major league player offensively, he was a great outfielder, having the distinction of once holding the record for the most consecutive games played without an error – 241 – a streak that spanned from 1988 until 1991. He definitely has the chops to help coach the outfield for the Braves!
After his playing career, he made his managerial debut with the Padres’ Northwest League affiliate, the Eugene Emeralds, in 2006, and was instrumental in guiding them to a 43-33 record. He soon was promoted to the position of manager of the Fort Wayne Wizards in the Midwest League in 2007, and led the Wizards to the league championship in 2009. He would rise once again to be named the manager of the Double-A San Antonio Missions of the Texas League, and received the honor of being named the Texas League Manager of the Year (2011) after leading the Missions to the Texas League Championship.
It’s obvious that Dascenzo has a great resume’. Personally, I wish the best for Brian Snitker as he takes on the managerial position for our beloved Triple-A Gwinnett team, and wish the best as well for Doug Dascenzo as he takes over the helm at 3B for the Atlanta Braves in 2014. I think it entirely possible we could see Doug managing a big league club some day. Who knows, it could be the Atlanta Braves. I also think it’s entirely possible we’ll see Snitker back coaching the the big leagues at some point as well, particularly if he can improve the situation in Gwinnett.