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Inside The Trenches With Duquette


soxhotcorner14

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As most of you guys know, I played baseball for the Red Sox in the early 90's.. was drafted by Lou Gorman and two years later Duquette took over as GM. I spent 2 years while Duquette was GM for the Red Sox What I wanted to do is give you guys an inside feel as to how the scene was prior and during while I was with the organization. Also give you a feel, as the fan what to expect from him from the top all the way down to the players.

Before Duquette

In the years of 92-93 the organization was pretty much how the O's are today.. not many prospects within the organization. Player personnel wasn't very good, it was more like a good old boys network that have been around for years. Coaching wasn't very good.. Although Bailey was pretty decent at Pawtucket.. but the remaining coaching staff through the minors was below average. Spring Trainings were ran like a country club.. no accountability, outside of just showing up on time. People would workout and then take off and go home while the game was still going on... it was a come and go as you please atmosphere.. but just make sure you show up on time LOL Clemens basically ran the show, he didn't have to abide by any of these rules and looking back, i can see why him and Duquette bumped heads once he took over the GM position in 94.

The facilities were just god awful, the Winter Haven complex made Ft. Lauderdale look like Camden Yards. Hell I remember getting our catered lunch and there was a pond right next to the clubhouse.. they'd have gators sitting right next to the damn tables while we were eating... as a 17 year old kid.. that scared the be-jesus out of me. LOL It just looked like a junkyard rather than a big league facility. Kind of like how the minor league complex looked in Sarasota for a long time, but 20 times worse. In 93, they relocated to Ft. Myers to a beautiful new stadium and minor league complex.. it was the best of the best at the time.

Duquette the New GM

Duquette was hired in 94 and when we showed up for spring training that year everything was totally different than it had been in the past. Majority of the player development and coaching staffs had been let go and he replaced them with hand picked coaches/development guys. This is where he's going to be most valuable to the Orioles. If you take a look back at all the guys he brought in to the organization as coaches and player development you'll recognize all these names are now in the big leagues in one form or another. Guys he brought in are as follows: Ken Macha, Bob Geren, Rick Peterson, DeMarlo Hale, Bob Shaeffer (Minor League Director), Al Nipper and the list goes on and on.. I'm sure i'm missing some good names but you get the picture... Most of these guys were guys that had bright futures in the game of baseball as coaches, player development guys etc... There were no guys just hanging around to collect a paycheck.. I can tell you as players, we couldn't stand Bob Shaeffer.. He was instructed by Duquette to change the entire MO of the organization from free reign, to fall in line or pack your stuff up and leave. Big change for us as players... I can tell you now, looking back.. I respect Shaeffer and Dick Berardino for all of their tough love.. They helped mold me to who I am today. Just like all 18 year old kids, we thought we knew what's best for us, when really we had no clue... Thank god for those guys.

Everything was regimented, from report times, treatments to side work, early work, stretching, conditioning, how you wore your uniform, off-season workouts, etc.. There was a plan for everything. No more wandering around in the off-season trying to figure out what to do to prepare for the upcoming season. This is another area where Duquette will help in this organization that sometimes seems like it's just a paper bag floating in the wind below the big league club. He will bring in top notch player personnel, coaches, trainers and FO guys to get this club to where it needs to be.. as you heard in his presser, he likes to have a lot players so they can help at the big league level and help bolster the big league team via trades... Make one thing for certain, he will not wait for the market to develop... he will execute trades if they're good for him.. he's very aggressive in this category. His track record speaks for itself.

International Front

in 95 I noticed we were getting a lot more latin guys into camp... He's very big on the international front. This will be a big sigh of relief for members on this board who constantly nailed McPhail for hardly dipping his toes into these waters. While I was there.. He brought in Freddy Sanchez, Rafael Betancourt (SS at the time), Jose Olmeda (top 10 prospect at one time) to name a few.. I'm missing a bunch of names so bare with me.. i'm trying to write all of this out for you guys... but I noticed we had latin guys from Panama, Dominican, PR, Aruba, Venezuela etc.. We had them from all over man and a bunch of them. He likes to gobble up as much talent from those countries in hopes that he lands a handful of prospects.. as you heard in his presser today, he likes to be aggressive and sign at reasonable dollars and get as many in as he can.

Talent

Duquette after 94 infused the club with more talent than it's ever had.. outside of me:thumbsup1: he drafted very well.. Garciaparra, Hillenbrand, Youklis, Pavano, Brian Rose, Donnie Sadler, Brian Barkley, Michael Coleman, Cole Liniak, Paxton Crawford, Matt Kinney, Jim Chamblee, Rontrez Johnson, Steve Lomasney.. as you see those are just a few names that made the big leagues under his drafts.. 94 and 95 drafts... Those are a lot players that either made it to Boston or were dealt to bolster the big league club. I can't recall the O's ever having that many players from 2 drafts making it to the big leagues. Believe me folks, they just don't call anyone up to the big squad unless you're good. Even though most of you might know these names, they were well respected names at the time.

Duquette The Person

As most of you have read, he's known to have pissed a lot of people off in Boston... Yes, he can come off as a *****.. He's a very intelligent person and he knows it... some people look at that as arrogance... I know with my one on one talks with him as a player.. he truly wants you to succeed.. He's there for you and will do anything for you and is very personable with us... But if you step out of line, he will be your worst night mare... Let's just say without divulging too many details... I made a mistake and it cost me a week on the DL for something stupid.. After my first treatment session he called me into his office.. I sat down and he laid into my tail and was warned if anything was to happen like that again, I might as well not report to the park. Pretty clear on my instructions :D All in all, the players got along with him well.. he's very personable when the cameras aren't around.

Overall he's exactly what this team needs in a very bad way.. some of my best years came under his tutelage.. He's not afraid to take chances, he will invest in the international market heavily and he's got great connections within the industry. And he's not afraid to piss someone off to make his team better... I'm pretty excited for the O's organization today, they have a good guy finally running the ship like most here wanted it to be ran.

Summary

As you can see, the O's organization is almost similar to what he inherited in Boston. He developed a lot of talent to either help the big team or to trade to get vital pieces for the big team. He had second to none player development guys as well as exec's to get that organization back to elite status.. Most of those pieces for 2004 were brought along in the organization that he developed and he doesn't get enough credit for that. I think the O's finally got someone that will help them be relevant in Major League Baseball again.

If anyone has any questions relating to my time spent there under him that I might not have covered just fire away and I will answer all questions in this thread.

SoxHotCorner

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What a fantastic, enlightening, encouraging post. Reading this, I think Duquette and Buck will mesh very well, as they are both sticklers for detail and doing things right. My biggest concerns are (1) what limits Angelos puts on his ability to reshape the staff and hold people accountable, and (2) whether he knows many of the younger guys who might be good to bring in, or whether all his contacts are people who were around in 2002 or before.

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As most of you guys know, I played baseball for the Red Sox in the early 90's.. was drafted by Lou Gorman and two years later Duquette took over as GM. I spent 2 years while Duquette was GM for the Red Sox What I wanted to do is give you guys an inside feel as to how the scene was prior, during while I was with the organization. Also give you a feel, as the fan what to expect from him from the top all the way down to the players.

Before Duquette

In the years of 92-93 the organization was pretty much how the O's are today.. not many prospects within the organization. Player personnel wasn't very good, it was more like a good old boys network that have been around for years. Coaching wasn't very good.. Although Bailey was pretty decent at Pawtucket.. but the remaining coaching staff through the minors was below average. Spring Trainings were ran like a country club.. no accountability, outside of just showing up on time. People would workout and then take off and go home while the game was still going on... it was a come and go as you please atmosphere.. but just make sure you show up on time LOL Clemens basically ran the show, he didn't have to abide by any of these rules and looking back, i can see why him and Duquette bumped heads once he took over the GM position in 94.

The facilities were just god awful, the Winter Haven complex made Ft. Lauderdale look like Camden Yards. Hell I remember getting our catered lunch and there was a pond right next to the clubhouse.. they'd have gators sitting right next to the damn tables while we were eating... as a 17 year old kid.. that scared the be-jesus out of me. LOL It just looked like a junkyard rather than a big league facility. Kind of like how the minor league complex looked in Sarasota for a long time, but 20 times worse. In 93, they relocated to Ft. Myers to a beautiful new stadium and minor league complex.. it was the best of the best at the time.

Duquette the New GM

Duquette was hired in 94 and when we showed up for spring training that year everything was totally different than it had been in the past. Majority of the player development and coaching staffs had been let go and he replaced them with hand picked coaches/development guys. This is where he's going to be most valuable to the Orioles. If you take a look back at all the guys he brought in to the organization as coaches and player development you'll recognize all these names are now in the big leagues in one form or another. Guys he brought in are as follows: Ken Macha, Bob Geren, Rick Peterson, DeMarlo Hale, Bob Shaeffer (Minor League Director), Al Nipper and the list goes on and on.. I'm sure i'm missing some good names but you get the picture... Most of these guys were guys that had bright futures in the game of baseball as coaches, player development guys etc... There were no guys just hanging around to collect a paycheck.. I can tell you as players, we couldn't stand Bob Shaeffer.. He was instructed by Duquette to change the entire MO of the organization from free reign, to fall in line or pack your stuff up and leave. Big change for us as players... I can tell you now, looking back.. I respect Shaeffer and Dick Berardino for all of their tough love.. They helped mold me to who I am today. Just like all 18 year old kids, we thought we knew what's best for us, when really we had no clue... Thank god for those guys.

Everything was regimented, from report times, treatments to side work, early work, stretching, conditioning, how you wore your uniform, offseason workouts, etc.. There was a plan for everything. No more wandering around in the offseason trying to figure out what to do to prepare for the upcoming season. This is another area where Duquette will help in this organization that sometimes seems like it's just a paper bag floating in the wind below the big league club. He will bring in top notch player personnel, coaches, trainers and FO guys to get this club to where it needs to be.. as you heard in his presser, he likes to have a lot players so they can help at the big league level and help bolster the big league team via trades... Make one thing for certain, he will not wait for the market to develop... he will execute trades if they're good for him.. he's very aggressive in this category. His track record speaks for itself.

International Front

in 95 I noticed we were getting a lot more latin guys into camp... He's very big on the international front. This will be a big sigh of relief for members on this board who constantly nailed McPhail for hardly dipping his toes into these waters. While I was there.. He brought in Freddy Sanchez, Rafael Betancourt (SS at the time), Jose Olmeda (top 10 prospect at one time) to name a few.. I'm missing a bunch of names so bare with me.. i'm trying to write all of this out for you guys... but I noticed we had latin guys from Panama, Dominican, PR, Aruba, Venezuela etc.. We had them from all over man and a bunch of them. He likes to gobble up as much talent from those countries in hopes that he lands a handful of prospects.. as you heard in his presser today, he likes to be aggressive and sign at reasonable dollars and get as many in as he can.

Talent

Duquette after 94 infused the club with more talent than it's ever had.. outside of me:thumbsup1: he drafted very well.. Garciaparra, Hillenbrand, Youklis, Pavano, Brian Rose, Donnie Sadler, Brian Barkley, Michael Coleman, Cole Liniak, Paxton Crawford, Matt Kinney, Jim Chamblee, Rontrez Johnson, Steve Lomasney.. as you see those are just a few names that made the big leagues under his drafts.. 94 and 95 drafts... Those are alot players that either made it to Boston or were dealt to bolster the big league club. I can't recall the O's ever having that many players from 2 drafts making it to the big leagues. Believe me folks, they just don't call anyone up to the big squad unless you're good. Even though most of you might know these names, they were well respected names at the time.

Duquette The Person

As most of you have read, he's known to have pissed a lot of people off in Boston... Yes, he can come off as a *****.. He's a very intelligent person and he knows it... some people look at that as arrogance... I know with my one on one talks with him as a player.. he truly wants you to succeed.. He's there for you and will do anything for you and is very personable with us... But if you step out of line, he will be your worst night mare... Let's just say without divulging too many details... I made a mistake and it cost me a week on the DL for something stupid.. After my first treatment session he called me into his office.. I sat down and he layed into my tail and was warned if anything was to happen like that again, I might as well not report to the park. Pretty clear on my instructions :D All in all, the players got along with him well.. he's very personable when the camaras aren't around.

Overall he's exactly what this team needs in a very bad way.. some of my best years came under his tuteledge.. He's not afraid to take chances, he will invest in the international market heavily and he's got great connections within the industry. And he's not afraid to piss someone off to make his team better... I'm pretty excited for the O's organization today, they have a good guy finally running the ship like most here wanted it to be ran.

Summary

As you can see, the O's organization is almost similar to what he inherited in Boston. He developed a lot of talent to either help the big team or to trade to get vital pieces for the big team. He had second to none player development guys as well as exec's to get that organization back to elite status.. Most of those pieces for 2004 were brought along in the organization that he developed and he doesn't get enough credit for that. I think the O's finally got someone that will help them be relevant in Major League Baseball again.

If anyone has any questions relating to my time spent there under him that I might not have covered just fire away and I will answer all questions in this thread.

SoxHotCorner

Thanks so much for this info. It's very helpfull and very encouraging. I wish you would post here more often. Someone with your experience is so welcome. Does his bad rep in people skills stem mostly from his poor relations with the press, ala Eddie Murray?
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What a fantastic, enlightening, encouraging post. Reading this, I think Duquette and Buck will mesh very well, as they are both sticklers for detail and doing things right. My biggest concerns are (1) what limits Angelos puts on his ability to reshape the staff and hold people accountable, and (2) whether he knows many of the younger guys who might be good to bring in, or whether all his contacts are people who were around in 2002 or before.

Yep, those are it. Those are basically my concerns as well, especially #1 much more so than #2. Thank you very much SHC for the great info. Does anyone know who the scouting director(s) was under Duke? Who was making those picks?

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First off...add another "thank you" to the pile. I sincerely appreciate your taking the time to write out your experiences and thoughts in such detail.

My only questions would be: what was the ownership situation like when Duquette took over in Boston, and how does that situation compare to what he faces in re: Angelos' ownership?

I think the board's cautious optimism about Duquette is justifiable IF it's considered in a vacuum...but the real, major problem isn't "what is Duquette capable of," IMO, but "what will Angelos let him do?"

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Does his bad rep in people skills stem mostly form his poor relations with the press, ala Eddie Murray?

Most of it does come from his dealings in the press. As you can see in the pressed he's very uneasy behind the microphone. He can come off as short, arrogant, know it all. His personality can come off as stale, but you just have to get to know him. He's a little unique.

Hes very different than AM in talking with the public. He doesn't like to put too much out there. AM would t tell you much but he loved talking, duquette completely different. Doesnt like talking at all

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Most of it does come from his dealings in the press. As you can see in the pressed he's very uneasy behind the microphone. He can come off as short, arrogant, know it all. His personality can come off as stale, but you just have to get to know him. He's a little unique.

Hes very different than AM in talking with the public. He doesn't like to put too much out there. AM would t tell you much but he loved talking, duquette completely different. Doesnt like talking at all

I thought he seemed much more like a guy you'd like to go have a beer with than MacPhail. MacPhail came off very "corporate." Duquette seems more like a "baseball guy."

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My only questions would be: what was the ownership situation like when Duquette took over in Boston, and how does that situation compare to what he faces in re: Angelos' ownership?

Ownership was similar to how PA has been running it.. Not dumping a lot of money into the organization and scouting department. Contracts at the big league level weren't like they were under Epstein. One difference was the Ownership group allowed Duquette to do his job. And he was forced to hold onto some guys as well that we're holdovers. In my opinion he laid the groundwork for the Sox to become a bigger player in the free agent market by making them relevant again. I never saw ownership hanging around the complex interfering with Duq. He had free reign to work. I'm pretty sure as intelligent as he is he's not going to step into a role with one hand tied behind his back.

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I thought he seemed much more like a guy you'd like to go have a beer with than MacPhail. MacPhail came off very "corporate." Duquette seems more like a "baseball guy."

And he is, if he didn't have to do pressers you would never see him. Keep in mind Boston media can be a pain in the backside and that can turn someone into someone they're not.

What I was trying to portray is he's uneasy in front of the mic, comes off awkward at times. But when away from the podium very personable. There is a reason he has a lot of ties in the industry; baseball people genuinely like him.

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And he is, if he didn't have to do pressers you would never see him. Keep in mind Boston media can be a pain in the backside and that can turn someone into someone they're not.

He won't have that problem in Baltimore, which has the most passive group of reporters of any team I can think of.

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A very interesting read. I have a friend that knows people inside the Red Sox that were really dumping on this move. I'm glad to get another perspective. I don't care whether Duquette is kinder and gentler, but he's right in that he does have to know how to better communicate with all of the "stakeholders" including the customers and the media who are our primary conduit to the team.

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As long as PA and the Stockstills are still around the cash register, I just can't see Duke getting much done, the way he wants it to get done. m

I know we are all gun shy here. But I can tell you from my experience he is smart enough not to put himself in a situation where he can't be successful. He might be one of the more astute GM's we've ever had in the FO.

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