Heck, I was nervous talking to him for three reasons: 1) he seems like a busy guy and I might be bothering him, 2) I am wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and a rock star studded bracelet and, 3) he's a rich guy and I occupy the lower rungs of the socioeconomic latter.
Others seemed to have been positively amped with the GM's visit such as Clayton Kershaw who on Saturday, hit the 100 mph mark for the first time this season twice, topping out at 101 mph with Colletti in the stands.
There was wild speculation from the sports writers around me that this visit signaled Kershaw's promotion. But Colletti ruled that possibility out. "He's gotten to the point where he has been dominant on some nights," he said. "You see that, you try to make him more complete, so that when he does advance it's not going to be a struggle for him because the next league is going to be tougher."
Colletti even hinted at the fact that Kershaw, like many pitchers, is going to have to develop his other pitches, noting that despite Clayton's overwhelming ability, a lack of patience with the former #1 draft pick could be disastrous.
Colletti believes that manager Lance Parrish is the right candidate to cultivate the young talent on the Loons roster. And his recognition in Michigan after his many years with the Detroit Tigers has manifested a cult with the former catcher and a loyal following adamant in getting his autograph. "He's doing a great job," Colletti commented. "Obviously he has a lot of deep roots in this state and I like his approach. He's fair and a very smart baseball man."
Midland might be known for its chemical plant that paints the skyline of Dow Diamond (an unusual aesthetic for quite sure) but Colletti has christened this place a true baseball town that is excited about professional baseball coming to the area. "The kindness and the professionalism of the [Loons] organization and the people who live in this city, I don't always here that," Colletti said. "When I pulled up to the park, I could see lines already forming outside the gate."
As the conversation winded down, Colletti implicated that his visit to Midland was merely a formality and that he has yet to visit Ogden and Jacksonville yet this season. And he ended our talk emphasizing the sadness that is minor league baseball, the high turnover of players who don the Great Lakes Loons uniform and are either forgotten, or onto the stratosphere of the higher leagues, perhaps the bigs.
"The good news is also the bad news for Midland," Colletti said, getting up from his chair signaling the countdown to the end of our conversation. "They get to see the Clayton Kershaw's of the world but as [they] get better and better, they'll be moving on."
And that was the end of my first meeting with a major league general manager. On a lighter note I guess I can say that I hope the other ones shake hands with less force than Colletti. He almost hurt mine when he did so to me.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti Visits the Loons
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