Well, this was a strange beginning to this story.
The KC Star is off and running with the rumor mill. Their source claims that the Royals are closing in on a manager from Japan - Trey Hillman or Terry Collins. I don't know anything about these two, but I didn't expect this. Perhaps they're trying to buy some leverage in the Fukudome sweepstakes????...or not.
Update [2007-10-19 2:6:12 by royalsreview]:
And here I was worried we'd bring an old-school National League type manager. Turns out, Dayton Moore may go further than that, as the Royals may look to the land of the first-inning bunt instead. I expect numerous winter and spring stories about how "[Manager X] learned how to approach the game THE RIGHT WAY in Japan." And lets not forget the custom of Japanese pitchers throwing more innings and pitching more regularly too. (Maybe because they're also getting four free outs a game from bunts!)
I'll send KCROYALS.com a few story templates in time for Spring Training. Here's the first one.Surprise- Royals Manager Terry Collins learned a thing or two while managing in Japan: octopus is a tasty dinner, the sunrise over Mt. Fuji will take your breath away, and never to underestimate the power of fundamental baseball.
"We had a couple guys out here today that weren't putting the team first, and I don't care who you are, we will be doing that this season," Collins said.
After failing to get a bunt down in the third inning against the Rangers, Collins was seen giving Billy Butler an earful in the dugout.
"I can't really tell you what he told me," Butler said, laughing. "The important thing is that I learn and get better. [DeJesus] did his job getting on, and I've got to get him over."
With the battle for the final roster spots winding down, Collins says he's been impressed with Kerry Robinson's speed.
"Speed brings a dimension to this team that forces the opponent to adjust. Worrying about a speedy runner is the greatest pressure a pitcher can face," Collins said.
For Collins, its a matter of consistency.
"Speed doesn't go into a slump."
"Really, this is a simple game, and the formula has been the same for a hundred years. The game in Japan is still the pure game, and its the game we'll see more of in the post-steroid era."
Now if he could just find a place that sells octopus.
Collins' managerial stats at b-r. In my memory Collins was a Larry Bowa type, but I could be wrong. Anyone know more?
UPDATE 2007-10-19 10:06 by DCRoyal
The KC Star now reports that's it's all but finalized: Trey Hillman will be managing the Royals in 2008 and beyond with a multi-year deal on the table. The Star expects a formal announcement from the Royals as soon as later today.
Personally, I don't know what to think of this. Hillman has no MLB experience, but he outdueled Bobby Valentine in the 2007 Japan Series and brought the first JPB title to a franchise that in Japan has classically been a laughingstock and was even banished from Tokyo to the northernmost semi-Siberian island of Hokkaido. Reportedly, he read Japanese anime comics and a translated copy of Bushido (The Way of the Samurai) upon taking a job managing the Nippon Ham Fighters to learn about Japanese baseball culture, yet he was fiercely criticized by one of his starting pitchers for being too cold and calculating in yanking him from bases loaded jam. Hillman also carries a stopwatch with him at all times during games, perhaps as a reminder that he needs to pace himself - baseball games are marathons, not a sprint. He's a Christian who dedicates his success to God. He's Texan. And, he loves his twangy country guitar, having released a Christmas CD in Japan. Taken together, what do these facts and rumors mean? Nothing. I'm just surprised, and somewhat excited in a way that's totally irrational, that GMDM is thinking outside of the box with this hire.
Perhaps Hillman's years managing as an expatriate in the Land of the Rising Sun will bring a fresh perspective to the Midwestern heartland. A glorious homecoming of sorts, and a new era in KC baseball - with Kosuke Fukudome and Hillman's own young pitching phenom, Yu Darvish, not far behind. Bonzai.
Update [2007-10-19 15:16:33 by royalsreview]:
Its officially official now. Click here for the story from the team site.
Not a lot to go on initially. The early slant seems to be in the moulder and leader of men vein:"I am delighted to announce that we have hired Trey Hillman as our manager," said Dayton Moore, Senior Vice President and General Manager. "He is an exceptional person with a great passion to lead. He is the perfect choice for our organization.