P.J. Forbes: "I always knew I wanted to manage."

P.J. Forbes had just a tiny bite of the taste that a player gets when they reach the majors. For 12 games, he was on a major league field and he still remembers the feeling. As good as it felt, he always knew that there were different days ahead once his playing career ended.

No player wants to play over 1300 minor league games. That's too many. That means that they've spent too much time in the minors and not enough on a major league roster. P.J. Forbes knew it was too many and he also knew when it was over.

"I was in spring training with the Cubs in 2003 and I couldn't bend over," remembers Forbes. The reason was a back injury that had hampered Forbes in his attempt to reach the majors. He knew that it was time to give up on his playing days and enter the next phase of his career. Like any person looking to make a shift in their career, Forbes simply sent out resumes. "I was fortunate that the Phillies had an opening and that I was able to go from being a player to being a manager. I always wanted to be in charge," said Forbes.

The opening was with Low-A Lakewood, a somewhat prized spot in the scheme of things. "This is a great opportunity. It's a great stadium, the fans are amazing and they fill the seats." Forbes also gets the distinction of being the first manager to return to Lakewood for a second season.

Being a manager isn't something that Forbes stumbled upon in an effort to prolong his association with baseball. He always wanted to manage and did what he could to learn from the best. "I knew that I needed to be a better manager than I was a player," admitted Forbes. "I learned from playing for guys like Marc Bombard and picking the brain of guys like Bill Dancy. I picked up a lot from Charlie Manuel when he worked with our guys and now, Gene Lamont is in the organization and I've already learned from him."

So, what's one of the most important things that Forbes tries to do as a manager? "You have to instill in players that they're only going to get better if you work at it," said Forbes. "Not to get on a soapbox or anything, but kids have a lot handed to them these days. Parents and everybody else tend to make excuses for them when they're small. You need to be responsible for yourself."

With his first season as a manager under his belt, Forbes is happy with his chosen course. He has gotten the chance to manage and is once again wondering if one day he'll be back in the majors. For now, Forbes concentrates on doing all he can to make players better, while remembering that fans want to see Lakewood win. He endured over 1300 minor league games as a player, but hopes that he won't need to sit through that many more before he gets his next shot at the majors.

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