Wisconsin Notebook: The Return of Steiny

APPLETON, Wisc. - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers opened the 2005 season with a few familiar faces. One of these is manager Scott Steinmann, who is now in his third stint with the Timber Rattlers, but first as a manager.

Steinmann first joined the Timber Rattlers as a catcher in 1997, hitting .214 with 20 RBI in 72 games. After playing one more pro season with Double-A Orlando in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization, Steinmann decided it was time to move into coaching.

He started out his coaching career as a catching instructor and hitting coach for the Everett AquaSox in 1999. Steinmann then returned to the Timber Rattlers as the hitting coach in 2000 and 2001. After spending time in 2002 in a similar post in San Bernardino, Steinmann got a managerial position with the Peoria Mariners of therookie level Arizona League. Two successful seasons later, the former backstop took his current post as manager of the 2005 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

Returning to Fox Cites was exciting for Steinmann. He had a lot fun as a player and coach with the Rattlers and looks forwards to the challenges of managing this young and talented team. He also likes Fox Cities and enjoys working with the Timber Rattler staff.

"The community is tremendous," said Steinmann. "The front office staff, grounds crew they do a great job here organizing everything, taking care of all the situations that you don't really want to. So they really make it a great transition for you to come up here and just worry about baseball."

The Timber Rattlers staff is equally thrilled to have "Steiny" back in town. Many of the staff members are very familiar with Steinmann from his playing and coaching days and welcomed him back with open arms.

"I was excited," said Wisconsin President and General Manager Rob Zerjav. "I knew ‘Steiny' when he was a player and when he was a coach here. He's a great guy, easy going, easy to work with."

This time around should be very exciting for the new manager. The team is loaded with talent and off to a hot start, 12-4 through April 23, and are leading the Midwest League in team batting average and rank second in team ERA.

"Coming back here this year as a manager, getting off to a good start, it makes it fun takes a lot of pressure of everybody," said Steinmann of his debut as a full season skipper.

Timber Rattlers fans were happy to see Steinmann return as well. As a player and coach, he developed a connection with the fans and was greeted very warmly on opening day on April 7.

"On opening day people came out and they had signs saying ‘Welcome back Steiny'," said Zerjav. "He was an easy going, personable guy as a player and coach, and the fans got to know him and were excited to see him come back."

Besides his connections to the Timber Rattlers community, Steinmann is a great fit because of how well he handles the young team. Being a younger manager and being able to effectively relate to his players partly stems from having played in the minors just a short while ago himself.

"He relates to the players but the players respect him and he can talk to them," said Zerjav. "And he doesn't just talk to them when they're doing something wrong."

Fortunately things have been going very well for the team in the wins department, so players can rest at ease when Steinmann walks by their locker. With the Rattlers perched atop of the Midwest League's Western Division, life is good for the Timber Rattlers. And everyone seems to be happy to have "Steiny" back in town.


Womack Heats Up: Former second round pick Josh Womack has looked great swinging the bat of late. The Sand Diego native is riding high with a .321 batting average and a 12 game hit-streak, through April 23. Womack has also shown some speed on the base paths, picking up four steals and the ability to lay down the occasional bunts.

Lowe Returns to Form: Pitcher Mark Lowe rebounded from getting rocked by Peoria in the Rattlers' 10-5 loss on April 15. The Texas-Arlington product gave up 10 hits and eight earned runs in the loss. The right-hander looked great in the Rattlers' 5-2 win over the Beloit Snappers on April 23. Lowe went six strong innings, allowing only two runs on four hits, while walking just one.

Balanced Approach: The Timber Rattlers have been getting it done, both in the field and at the plate. As of April 23, Wisconsin is leading the Midwest League in team batting with a .288 mark. The team is also tops in the league in runs per game at almost six runs a contest. The Rattlers pitching has been excellent, sitting second in the league with a team ERA of 3.00.

Up Next: The Rattlers will finish up a four-game home stand with the Beloit Snappers on Tuesday. After a day off on Wednesday, the Midwest League's winningest team will head to South Bend to begin a eight-game road trip versus the Silver Hawks and then head to Southwest Michigan to face the Devil Rays for four more games. Wisconsin returns home on May 6.

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