EASTLAKE – The Lake County Captains formally introduced, and welcomed back, Larry Day as their manager for the 2017 season at their 15th annual Hot Stove Dinner on Thursday evening.
Day, 31, is returning to Eastlake after spending 2015 as the team’s hitting coach, his first season coaching in professional baseball. Last year the Massachusetts native moved up the minor league ladder to High-A Lynchburg, again serving as the hitting coach. Heading into 2017, there was discussion of him moving up further as a hitting coach or becoming a manager at the lower levels.
“I was pumped,” said Day upon receiving word he would be managing the Captains, “I remember, at the time the Director of Player Development, Carter Hawkins called me and told me I was going to manage this team this year. We had talked about it being a possibility as well as being a hitting coach somewhere, whether it be Lynchburg or Akron. But he explained to me that I was going to manage this team and I was excited.”
Prior to embarking on his coaching career with the Indians organization, Day had played ball himself collegiately at the University of Connecticut and two years professionally in the Yankees farm system from 2007 to 2008 after being selected in the 50th round of the 2007 draft. After hanging it up on his playing career, the former catcher returned to the collegiate ranks to pursue a coaching career spending six years at college baseball powerhouse Vanderbilt and one year at Ohio University.
Since being hired by the Tribe, Day has had the unique opportunity to work with mostly the same players such as standout prospects Greg Allen, Francisco Mejia and Bobby Bradley following them from the shores of Lake County to the mountains of Virginia. The new Captains skipper points to consistency such as that as being a key element to how he will manage.
“Consistency in general is huge, especially if you think about the players from their standpoint,” Day explained, “They’re going through a lot of firsts as far as first full season, first time away from home for this long, maybe possibly first time in this country for this long of a period. If they have a staff, a manager or a leader that’s not consistent, then that’s going to make those transitions tougher for them, first as people and then obviously as players.”
As far as returning to Classic Park, Day couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity as he raved about the facilities and accommodations.
“I think it’s as good as you can ask for not only for Single-A, but Double-A and Triple-A,” Day said, “When you’re talking about a field house a couple steps away from the clubhouse, you can’t beat that. It’s not just the two cages, but it’s also the other space that you have. As I know after spending a year here, we’re going to have to utilize that space (chuckles).”
Also during the event, the team announced the unveiling of a new, state of the art digital video board which will be installed on the existing scoreboard and ready for the season as well as the construction of the Miracle League field and playground just outside the ballpark for children with special needs.
Larry Day and the Captains will take on the Dayton Dragons on the road on April 6th to kick of the 2017 campaign. Opening Night at Classic Park will be held two days later, also against Dayton, with the first pitch slated for 6:30 pm ET.