We visited with the 46-year-old Bailey, who makes his off-season home in Virginia, just prior to his club's recent game against Vero Beach and got his thoughts on his new team, how his coaching career began, and more.
Inside The Ivy: Congratulations on your new post in the organization. What are your thoughts on the group of guys you have here in Daytona?
Buddy Bailey: I was a roving instructor the first half, so I'd seen these guys play before. I had some kind of relationship where they knew me and I knew them before I came down here, so that makes it easy. To answer your question, we have a really young ball club here if you go by years of experience. When you look at it that way, this is probably the youngest team in the Florida State League. Half of the guys on our roster are ones with one year of pro experience or less. That's a challenge in itself -- just trying to get guys acclimated to pro ball and in the mindset of a full season. You learn as you go, no matter what level you're at. Hopefully myself and the coaches will be able to educate them enough and get the most of their capabilities.
Inside The Ivy: We understand you originally came to the Cubs with the intent of managing a team sooner. What happened?
Buddy Bailey: Well, I manage a team every year down in Venezuela each winter. When Oneri Fleita and I first talked [there] about coming to work for the Cubs organization this year, he wasn't 100 percent sure at the time what my job was going to be, but he thought that it was probably going to be in a managerial role. When I signed a contract, there was a pretense that I would be a manager, but certain things changed. Now, they've changed again and I am managing.
Inside The Ivy: We know a little about your background from all of the media guides, but how did you first get into coaching?
Buddy Bailey: When I was in big league camp with the Braves in 1983, I was a non-roster catcher. One day, Dal Maxvill, who was our third base coach, came over and said, "Joe wants to talk to you." Joe Torre was our manager at the time and I thought to myself, "Goodness, what have I done? I know I've been here for curfew, and I know I haven't been late."
I went in and Joe told me, at age 24, that the organization needed a rookie league manager in the Appalachian League and that a lot of people were recommending me. Joe was kind of the spokesman for them at the time and I told him that I was too young and that I would like to keep playing. But Joe talked a little longer and made a lot of sense, so I said OK. That's how it happened. At 24 years old, I had a growing experience really quick with my locker next to Dale Murphy's and Bob Horner's.
Inside The Ivy: I imagine you've seen most every catcher in the organization at some point or another this season. Would it be fair to ask who has stood out more than others?
Buddy Bailey: I really don't like to go public with that. The ones that I mention might let their heads get too big and the ones that I don't might feel a bad taste in their mouth. Let's leave it at that! [laughs]
Inside The Ivy: What can you tell us about Ryan Harvey? He seems to be hitting better recently after a dismal start.
Buddy Bailey: He just needs to find a way to be more consistent. He's got big, raw power and needs to find a way to get his trigger going early enough to get to the pitches in the strike zone. I think sometimes his start is a little late as far as getting loaded up in the batter's box. When you talk about raw power and the ability to drive it to all fields, he has that. He has the tools, if he can just get all of the other ingredients to be a hitter. That's what we're working on now.