Interview with BayBears' Manager Gary Jones

MOBILE-- Judging Bruce Bochy is fairly simple for the most part. Add up how many games he wins and loses and go from there. Judging Gary Jones is a little different. Sure its important to win, but the reason everyone is in the minors is to get to the major leagues. His job is to not only win, but to develop players for the Padres at the same time, two concepts that don't always go together.

Its always interesting to us that most people think your whole day is just managing the game. Can you give us an idea of what you go through during the day leading up to the game?

Gary Jones: It really begins the night after the game. You start thinking about the lineup you might want to use, guys you might want to give a day off because of a nagging injury. (For example) Macias is getting a day off because of a little tightness in his hamstring, you know maybe give him another day tomorrow and with an off day on Monday he has three days to heal.

Get into the clubhouse around lunch, finish planning the day. Make sure the field is set up, how you want to organize the pre-game drills.

It seems to me that a lot of work before the game is trying to work on specific drills as part of an overall plan.

Gary Jones: Normally we have regular work on the field from 2:15, hitting 3:00, then work with some specific guys on defensive afterward, get some pitchers some work with the bat, take infield and then play the game.

How much interaction do you have with the roving instructors that come into town? Daily reports on how specific guys are doing on a nightly basis.

Gary Jones: We do some work with the instructors when they come into town, usually on specific drills. I file a report about the game every night and that is the way the people in the front office keep up with what is going with the team.

When you state a "report" are you referring to what specific players did, who looked well and who didn't?

Gary Jones: Its just a report on the game. A brief summary of every individual that was in the game, what they did, what they did well. It takes about two to four minutes on the phone. They get more in -depth about the game on the computer later on.

You were also the manager of the Fort Wayne Wizards. How is managing a team in the lower minors different than one at this level (Double-A)?

Gary Jones: I'm not sure you approach it any different, but guys at this level are just more mature, they have a little more experience. But as far as how you approach the day, teaching, preparation, expectations, it doesn't change.

It's all about just re-enforcing the fundamentals?

Gary Jones: It's all the same. These guys are just a little more consistent because they have a little more experience as professional baseball players. They understand a little better about what it takes to move up the ladder.

In 2004 you had a real successful year in 2005 wasn't as good. How does someone like you keep an even keel when you don‘t have any control of the players coming in and focus on what you need to get done?

Gary Jones: You just have to understand that it is part of it and that is part of the business. There is nothing from a manager's standpoint that you can control. One of my biggest things that I preach to the guys is not worrying about things you can't control. When you can't control something, there isn't anything to worry about. You just have to go out there and take care of what you can control.

The days get long sometimes, but this is what we do. There are other people in the game who go through the same things that I do.

Lets talk about your pitching staff. If you could go over guys like Carrillo, Wells and Thompson and talk about some of the things they do well and what they need to work on?

Gary Jones: All the guys you are talking about are guys the organization likes and have the potential to pitch in the majors. Again, the biggest thing is to get the consistency every time out, making the pitch every time. At this level you can make bad pitches and guys will strike out, pop up, at the big league level they won't miss.

That is what guys have to understand, how many of those pitches if you made them at the big leagues how many of those would be effective. How consistent can I be in making quality pitches.

So what you are describing is if you are a pitcher or a hitter at this level you are not only competing against the other team, but more importantly against yourself.

Gary Jones: Absolutely, you have to challenge yourself to compete at the highest level you can. It's great to have success in Mobile, but with all these guys the bottom line is you want to have success in San Diego. In order to do that you have to get ready here, so when you go up to San Diego you have prepared yourself the best you can. Because sometimes you only get one chance, and that one chance may be the only one you get.

So that is why it is important to have as many quality pitches or as many quality at-bats as you can here, because you need to prepare yourself the best you can for that opportunity.

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