Q&A with B-Mets Manager Tim Teufel - Part II

Tim Teufel is no stranger to the Mets farm system. The former big leaguer enters his seventh season as a manager, but 2010 will be his first managing in Double-A. Elevated talent at the higher levels of the farm system means Teufel will orchestrate the strongest B-Mets roster in years. Teufel sat down with Inside Pitch to discuss his new job, his managerial style, his goals and more.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: It's 2010. It's a new season, and you find yourself at yet another stop in the organization. Generally, what are your thoughts about becoming the new manager of the Binghamton Mets?

Tim Teufel: It means a lot to me coming from the organization that it's time for me to manage at the upper levels of the system and I'm looking forward to it. A lot of the guys who I will have this year are guys I managed last season in St. Lucie. I look forward to having a reunion of guys that I've had in the past, managing them and this time at a different level. It's also a good opportunity because I'll get to manage a game that is similar to how the game is played in the National League.

It's going to be an interesting challenge. It's the next level that I need to go and I think it'll be a very good year.

Inside Pitch: This is now the fourth different level you will manage in the organization. It will be your seventh season as a manger, ninth as a coach, do you believe your assignment as the Binghamton manager exemplifies the organization's confidence in your ability?

Teufel: Sure. It's a progression for me. I'm not worried about the time frame of the progression. It's the stage in my life where spending a few years in the Florida State League was a good thing. I'm ready for a new challenge. Who knows what's going to happen, but it's good to be heading in the right direction. I know that I've got to go through Binghamton and Buffalo to get to New York. It's another step. It's good timing to be challenged in my life and I think it's going to work out for everyone. The organization says I'm ready for it, so I look forward to it.

Inside Pitch: You got your first managerial position with Brooklyn in 2003. You spent time in St. Lucie in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009 with a stop in Savannah in 2007. One can never predict a timeline for this kind of ascension, but is it fair to say your meeting your goals as far as moving up the ladder as a manager?

Teufel: Once I got out of scouting and became a roving infield instructor with the Mets (2001-2002), I got the itch to get on the field and run the game. That's nearest and dearest to me, being able to manage, run the game, win, and see the progression of the young kids working to reach a new level. I wanted to be able to teach them, give them new experiences and overall see what we've got as an organization.

It's a very satisfying job when I can look back at the end of the year and see which guys get better, not just because of me as the manager, but because of the effort the players put in and the collective effort of the coaching staff. There's just a lot of satisfaction of being a coach in the development stage.

Inside Pitch: This is the third different affiliate you will be managing in four years, with time in St. Lucie before that, but in these last few seasons how do you think you've grown as a manager? Has there been a change to your approach or style managing at different levels?

Teufel: Well I think I've grown and matured as manager and developed a better understanding of what works and what doesn't work. I've tried different things, but each team is different. I find it's best to just manage to what my personnel is and that way I can be the most effective. Trying to peg a certain style to any given team can create a mismatch of effectiveness or just generally doesn't let run things as smoothly as it can be.

I don't have a blueprint to managing that I'm going to follow each and every year. I have a style which I want to keep a positive attitude in the clubhouse so that the guys come to the ballpark each day excited to play day in, day out. I want the guys to want to show up to the ballpark because it'll be exciting and it'll be something they all want to be a part of.

I don't grind out the players so that they don't want to see the coaches or they don't want to be at the ballpark. That's not the goal. I try to produce a great atmosphere for the players to that they cannot wait to show up the next day whether a guy went 0-for-4 or 3-for-3. I stress open communication. I want to stay active in their lives and find out about the goals players want to achieve.

On top of that, I've got the teaching side where there is structure and rules and I think the players respect that. There's a place for the strong arm, but there's also a place for being a figure where the players can rely on structure. That's the personality side.

From the baseball side, I'll size up who my opponent is against my personnel and attack it that way. I want the players to have a chance to become successful. There aren't a lot of matchups to position in the minor leagues, but there are situational decisions to consider. There, I go all by personnel and how well the player has been doing. I usually lean on the pro side of the player to try to influence the player to get out of a slump or keep a good run of production going. It's about guiding a player through the peaks and valleys.

Inside Pitch: Does your style change at different levels. In Brooklyn you had mostly young players and players who came right out of school. In St. Lucie you had more second-year guys and some veterans. Now in Double-A, you'll have system veterans. It is necessary to have a certain style depending on the age of the roster?

Teufel: In this year's case, I'm going to have guys who have been with me before so I'll come into a situation where the players are used to me and comfortable with me. That's always a positive. I won't have to go through a lot of things about me and my approach. They know what to expect from me. They know playing hard is the number one thing I expect and playing the game the right way.

There's a certain way to play the game that gives the player and a team to be successful and that's what I'll tell the team when we get underway. I don't have to spend a lot of time getting the team used to me and that's more time I can spend on preparing my team to play and win, and that's the great thing about this season.

I think the guys will come to the ballpark with energy and ready to go because that's what I expect. I think the players respond to that because they like playing in that atmosphere. That's work for teams I've played on and with teams I've managed, so there's no real reason to change a method that's got the stamp of approval.

Inside Pitch: In previous years, you managed players who were at a much more developmental stage. Now in Double-A, you'll have a roster of players who with a strong first half or a strong run, could be in a position to get to New York this season. Does that require a balance where you try to keep guys in check a little and not let them get ahead of themselves?

Teufel: During the season when things are on-going, the idea is to keep the players focused on the day-to-day things. However the goal of getting to the big leagues is sitting out there at Double-A because it's possible to get from Double-A to the big leagues. It's my job to keep that pressure off them. I need to let the guys play day-to-day and let their abilities take them there and not their anxieties take them there. I can't let players look ahead and let them have big league stars in their eyes.

I've got to focus on letting a player's ability shine. You've got to kick the door in to get to the big leagues. A player isn't going to get there by talking about it. Preparation is key at the Double-A level and part of my job is to keep the players from getting to anxious about what's ahead. I've got to work with the guys on their skills and let their tools and abilities elevate them.

Players have to force the decision makers to bring them up because they are killing it out there. That's the attitude that I like to convey to my players. Their futures are in their hands if they just perform the best they can. That will tell if a player gets to the big leagues.

Inside Pitch: We've talked about where you've been as a manager and your styles, but to circle back to your own progression through the ranks, is it safe to say that New York is your ultimate goal? Do you want to move up just like the players do?

Teufel: Oh there's no question about it. You don't spend all this time in the minor leagues and let that be all you want to do. That definitely works for a lot of guys out there, but I'm not one of those guys. My goal is the big leagues someday just like the guys in the minor leagues. I'm going back and pounding the pavement, and grinding it out just like the players are. I think the players understand that. My goal is the same as the players, but I don't put that in front of the players.

It's not about going to the big leagues at the players' expense. It's not about using the players as a spring board. I'm first considering the players and how to make them better where they can have big success. I think following that path will allow the rest to fall in place. I want to bring out the good in the player. The satisfaction of that is good enough for me. If the people at the top think I'm good enough to bring to the big leagues, then so be it. That'd be awesome.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: It's 2010. It's a new season, and you find yourself at yet another stop in the organization. Generally, what are your thoughts about becoming the new manager of the Binghamton Mets?
\r\n
\r\nTim Teufel: It means a lot to me coming from the organization that it's time for me to manage at the upper levels of the system and I'm looking forward to it. A lot of the guys who I will have this year are guys I managed last season in St. Lucie. I look forward to having a reunion of guys that I've had in the past, managing them and this time at a different level. It's also a good opportunity because I'll get to manage a game that is similar to how the game is played in the National League.
\r\n
\r\nIt's going to be an interesting challenge. It's the next level that I need to go and I think it'll be a very good year.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: This is now the fourth different level you will manage in the organization. It will be your seventh season as a manger, ninth as a coach, do you believe your assignment as the Binghamton manager exemplifies the organization's confidence in your ability?
\r\n
\r\nTeufel: Sure. It's a progression for me. I'm not worried about the time frame of the progression. It's the stage in my life where spending a few years in the Florida State League was a good thing. I'm ready for a new challenge. Who knows what's going to happen, but it's good to be heading in the right direction. I know that I've got to go through Binghamton and Buffalo to get to New York. It's another step. It's good timing to be challenged in my life and I think it's going to work out for everyone. The organization says I'm ready for it, so I look forward to it.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: You got your first managerial position with Brooklyn in 2003. You spent time in St. Lucie in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009 with a stop in Savannah in 2007. One can never predict a timeline for this kind of ascension, but is it fair to say your meeting your goals as far as moving up the ladder as a manager?
\r\n
\r\nTeufel: Once I got out of scouting and became a roving infield instructor with the Mets (2001-2002), I got the itch to get on the field and run the game. That's nearest and dearest to me, being able to manage, run the game, win, and see the progression of the young kids working to reach a new level. I wanted to be able to teach them, give them new experiences and overall see what we've got as an organization.
\r\n
\r\nIt's a very satisfying job when I can look back at the end of the year and see which guys get better, not just because of me as the manager, but because of the effort the players put in and the collective effort of the coaching staff. There's just a lot of satisfaction of being a coach in the development stage.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: This is the third different affiliate you will be managing in four years, with time in St. Lucie before that, but in these last few seasons how do you think you've grown as a manager? Has there been a change to your approach or style managing at different levels?
\r\n
\r\nTeufel: Well I think I've grown and matured as manager and developed a better understanding of what works and what doesn't work. I've tried different things, but each team is different. I find it's best to just manage to what my personnel is and that way I can be the most effective. Trying to peg a certain style to any given team can create a mismatch of effectiveness or just generally doesn't let run things as smoothly as it can be.
\r\n
\r\nI don't have a blueprint to managing that I'm going to follow each and every year. I have a style which I want to keep a positive attitude in the clubhouse so that the guys come to the ballpark each day excited to play day in, day out. I want the guys to want to show up to the ballpark because it'll be exciting and it'll be something they all want to be a part of.
\r\n
\r\nI don't grind out the players so that they don't want to see the coaches or they don't want to be at the ballpark. That's not the goal. I try to produce a great atmosphere for the players to that they cannot wait to show up the next day whether a guy went 0-for-4 or 3-for-3. I stress open communication. I want to stay active in their lives and find out about the goals players want to achieve.
\r\n
\r\nOn top of that, I've got the teaching side where there is structure and rules and I think the players respect that. There's a place for the strong arm, but there's also a place for being a figure where the players can rely on structure. That's the personality side.
\r\n
\r\nFrom the baseball side, I'll size up who my opponent is against my personnel and attack it that way. I want the players to have a chance to become successful. There aren't a lot of matchups to position in the minor leagues, but there are situational decisions to consider. There, I go all by personnel and how well the player has been doing. I usually lean on the pro side of the player to try to influence the player to get out of a slump or keep a good run of production going. It's about guiding a player through the peaks and valleys.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Does your style change at different levels. In Brooklyn you had mostly young players and players who came right out of school. In St. Lucie you had more second-year guys and some veterans. Now in Double-A, you'll have system veterans. It is necessary to have a certain style depending on the age of the roster?
\r\n
\r\nTeufel: In this year's case, I'm going to have guys who have been with me before so I'll come into a situation where the players are used to me and comfortable with me. That's always a positive. I won't have to go through a lot of things about me and my approach. They know what to expect from me. They know playing hard is the number one thing I expect and playing the game the right way.
\r\n
\r\nThere's a certain way to play the game that gives the player and a team to be successful and that's what I'll tell the team when we get underway. I don't have to spend a lot of time getting the team used to me and that's more time I can spend on preparing my team to play and win, and that's the great thing about this season.
\r\n
\r\nI think the guys will come to the ballpark with energy and ready to go because that's what I expect. I think the players respond to that because they like playing in that atmosphere. That's work for teams I've played on and with teams I've managed, so there's no real reason to change a method that's got the stamp of approval.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: In previous years, you managed players who were at a much more developmental stage. Now in Double-A, you'll have a roster of players who with a strong first half or a strong run, could be in a position to get to New York this season. Does that require a balance where you try to keep guys in check a little and not let them get ahead of themselves?
\r\n
\r\nTeufel: During the season when things are on-going, the idea is to keep the players focused on the day-to-day things. However the goal of getting to the big leagues is sitting out there at Double-A because it's possible to get from Double-A to the big leagues. It's my job to keep that pressure off them. I need to let the guys play day-to-day and let their abilities take them there and not their anxieties take them there. I can't let players look ahead and let them have big league stars in their eyes.
\r\n
\r\nI've got to focus on letting a player's ability shine. You've got to kick the door in to get to the big leagues. A player isn't going to get there by talking about it. Preparation is key at the Double-A level and part of my job is to keep the players from getting to anxious about what's ahead. I've got to work with the guys on their skills and let their tools and abilities elevate them.
\r\n
\r\nPlayers have to force the decision makers to bring them up because they are killing it out there. That's the attitude that I like to convey to my players. Their futures are in their hands if they just perform the best they can. That will tell if a player gets to the big leagues.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: We've talked about where you've been as a manager and your styles, but to circle back to your own progression through the ranks, is it safe to say that New York is your ultimate goal? Do you want to move up just like the players do?
\r\n
\r\nTeufel: Oh there's no question about it. You don't spend all this time in the minor leagues and let that be all you want to do. That definitely works for a lot of guys out there, but I'm not one of those guys. My goal is the big leagues someday just like the guys in the minor leagues. I'm going back and pounding the pavement, and grinding it out just like the players are. I think the players understand that. My goal is the same as the players, but I don't put that in front of the players.
\r\n
\r\nIt's not about going to the big leagues at the players' expense. It's not about using the players as a spring board. I'm first considering the players and how to make them better where they can have big success. I think following that path will allow the rest to fall in place. I want to bring out the good in the player. The satisfaction of that is good enough for me. If the people at the top think I'm good enough to bring to the big leagues, then so be it. That'd be awesome.
\r\n
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