Masse Frustrated with Trenton's Start

Bill Masse is entering his first season as manager of the Thunder and his sixth season as a minor league manager. This is his first season managing above the Single A level and he is ready for the challenge. Six games into the season and Masse laid down the rules to his team after a blatantly sub-par effort on the part of his team. <b>(Free Preview of Premium Content)</b.

A four-error performance including several obvious mental lapses and no pitch selection to speak of pushed the manager to the point of tirade. The usually laid back Masse had seen enough mental errors where he couldn't hold back on his team any longer.

"You want to know what gets me mad. Well, tonight you saw it." said Masse, after letting loose on a ten minute tirade where the Thunder played sloppy baseball in a loss to the Altoona Curve.

Despite Masse's early tongue-lashing of his clubhouse, he denies that he is frustrated a mere seven games into the Eastern League season. "I'm not frustrated because I expected it. Single A to Double A is probably the hardest jump in baseball and I knew these guys were going to struggle. I knew there were going to be growing pains. I guess since I expected it, I'm not frustrated about it." said Masse. It has to be a little concerning, even if Masse refuses to admit it, that a roster with this many Yankee prospects on it, has a sub .500 record even if it is early on in the season.

Usually when a manager goes on a rampage this early in the season, he runs the risk of losing his clubhouse before the season ever begins. Masse doesn't believe that is a possibility in this case though because he has managed all but a handful of his current players before. Said Masse, "I've had most of these guys before. They know what I expect."

Masse claims to not put a lot of stock in wins and losses, but admits that with most of the roster struggling, it makes it kind of tough in the standings. "Unfortunately, they are all struggling at once. It's part of the process. My job is to try and keep the growing pains to a minimum. It makes it a little tough in the standings because we'd be 3-3 or 4-2 if we hit a little bit." said Masse. He went on to say that, "On the bright side, our pitching and defense, except for one day against Altoona, have been great and kept us in a lot of games even with our lack of offense."

The hope, on the minds of Masse and some observers, is that with the entire team struggling at once, they will all come out of it at once. A lineup with Melky Cabrera, Eric Duncan, and Bronson Sardinha hitting at even half their potential is a lineup that can compete with the potency of any lineup in the Eastern League. Masse and his coaches just have to hope that it won't wind up being too little too late by the time the team gets turned around. They have to hope the "adjustments" Masse preaches will be made before the team falls too far out of the race for the Eastern League crown that many observers predicted this team to contend for in Tampa.

Masse talks of the learning curve he has to help these young players overcome, but also would entertain thoughts of managing at Major League Level if the right offer came around. Masse said, "I love doing this with the competition and the teaching, but I'd love to manage in the Major Leagues if some organization wanted me to do that. It's not a be all and end all thing for me though."

Right now, Masse has his hands full with this group of under-performing Yankees prospects trying to get them to make the jump from facing pitchers who only know how to throw hard in most cases, to guys who can locate and have Triple A or Major League service time. Yes, there will be growing pains with most of these guys getting their first taste of Double A ball, but for a team that hasn't finished above .500 in the 21st Century, they can't wait much longer.

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