FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -Dave Trembley's first spring training as a major league manager has been an exercise in efficiency. No fundamental has been overlooked, and even the most mundane drill is run crisply and promptly.
He waited two decades for this opportunity, and Trembley has left nothing to chance. And just to show that he doesn't consider himself to be above the players he commands, Trembley often runs with them during workouts and always rides on the team bus, even though the lengthy trek would be much more comfortable in his big, plush Cadillac rental.
Camp Trembley also features an open-door policy that was rarely employed by the last four managers of the Baltimore Orioles, none of whom could coax a winning season out of this staggering franchise. If someone has a complaint, even one concerning a perceived lack of playing time, all he has to do is walk into the manager's office and strike up a conversation.
``My philosophy is communicate and prepare. No one is better than anyone else; don't think anyone is above anyone else,'' Trembley said. ``This is our team. I don't go through my coaches if I have a problem with a player. I go to the player himself. I make myself accessible to the players. I want them to come and tell me what they think, what I can do for them.''
After spending 20 years as a minor league manager, Trembley finally made it to the big leagues last spring as Baltimore's bullpen coach. Then, on June 18, he became interim manager after the Orioles fired Sam Perlozzo.
Trembley had the interim tag removed in August after pulling Baltimore out of last place in the AL East by winning 29 of his first 54 games. He periodically made the team run infield drills, treated stars such as Miguel Tejada precisely in the same fashion as the 25th man on the roster and insisted everyone in the clubhouse play with enthusiasm and pride.
``I think Dave got their attention,'' former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre said this week. ``It's very tough to take over in the middle of the season because it's tough to all of a sudden change everything. But I thought they played a very upbeat brand of game. He seemed to have some ideas in case that opportunity ever came to him.''
The Orioles faltered under the strain of season-ending injuries to pitchers Erik Bedard, Adam Loewen, Chris Ray and Danys Baez. As the season drew to a close, Trembley declared that the 2007 season would not be mentioned again because to do so would be unproductive.
And although the Orioles are now in the beginning stages of a massive rebuilding project, Trembley is conceding nothing - even if Baltimore doesn't have the talent to compete in a division containing the Yankees and defending champion Boston Red Sox.
``My responsibility is to get the most out of the team that I have and for us to play up to our capabilities and not down from it,'' Trembley said. ``The experiences that I've had managing for the amount of years that I have in the minor leagues has lent itself toward me being convinced that the way we do things is the right way.''
Veteran Brian Roberts is convinced, too. Roberts has been the subject of trade rumors for months now, a topic that Trembley addressed with the second baseman in a private conversation on the first day of camp. Roberts may not be with the Orioles for long, but he won't soon forget his first spring training under Dave Trembley.
``I think he's been great. I think he has a very good understanding of how to run a camp, how to relate to veteran guys, plus, having all the minor league experience, he knows how to deal with younger guys,'' Roberts said. ``It's just a really good mix. He treats everybody the same way.''
Like the players he manages, Trembley doesn't have much experience at the big league level. That, he insists, will not be an issue.
``I'm not intimidated by anybody. I'm not intimidated sitting across one side of the dugout from another guy. I don't think anybody is particularly better than anybody else because of the uniform they have on or the organization they represent,'' he said. ``I think it comes down to game by game, inning by inning, if you can get the most out of the players you have.''
Torre is with the Los Angeles Dodgers now, but from what he saw last year, he knows Trembley has the talent to make the most of what he's got.
``He's had plenty of experience and is probably more adept at instructing, which goes on at our level more so than before,'' Torre said. ``Managing is all about communicating with people.''
That, Trembley says, is his most formidable trait.
``I think you have to be flexible in order to adjust to the different personalities you have in a group setting,'' he said. ``I think a lot of it is the dynamics of social behavior and how you deal with people. And I think I'm good at dealing with people.''

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