InsidethePark.com's Nick Saeger catches up with Seattle Mariner farmhand Eric O'Flaherty and talked…
Q & A: Rattlers Skipper Steve Roadcap
Steve Roadcap: Yeah, I think they've added all lot of punch. Some of the pitchers have made all lot of improvements in the short time that they've been here. Everybody's pitched in and I expect them to continue to pitch in and continue to get better.
ITP: How do you prepare for a game?
Roadcap: Well, I try to give each player as much information as I possible can. Try to have an idea of what each team does, so I can react. Baseball is a game of reacting to whatever they do or whatever they can do and I try to put the players in the right position. Brad (Holman) the pitching coach and I do all lot of preparation before a game. We try to give the players as much information, whether it is on opposing pitchers or their players. I have to have that information to. All lot of it is based on feel, instinct and hunches.
ITP: Is it hard for a minor league team to build chemistry with players constantly moving between teams?
Roadcap: It's kind of hard, but I think each individual is different and some players fit in better and some of the changes we've made have been for the better. I like the way everybody's been working and everybody's having fun now. Sometimes you have to make some changes as a team, before you start having fun at the ballpark.
ITP: You played in the Chicago Cubs organization for a few years. What do you miss most about playing?
Roadcap: The money. (Laughs) I think in managing you're competing as a manager for win and losses. As a player you're competing for the team and organization and against other people, so managing is a little bit similar. There's a day with any athlete when you know that your times over, unfortunately mine came at an early stage. That's the way it goes, but I enjoy what I'm doing now. It's hard to look back and say, "Well I wish I would have, could have or should have,' but those days are done.
ITP: What position did you play?
Roadcap: I played catcher.
ITP: Who do you think is the most promising prospect on the Timber Rattlers' roster right now? Why?
Roadcap: There's all lot of kids on this club that have all lot of ability. Some players' rise a little bit quicker than others, some take a little bit longer. We all know Adam Jones has a great future, I think there's some other kids too…. Balentien, Colton, if he can figure some things out. Oldham has progressed nicely, and Feierabend. There's all lot of kids in this club that could have a good future. But I always say that it's up to them. With the ability that some of these kids have, it's up to them how far they want to go. Every player in that clubhouse has enough God given ability to play in the big leagues. They need to soak up as much information as they possible can, so they can come out here and be a competitive player everyday.
ITP: What do you tell your team after a tough loss?
Roadcap: Sometimes you don't have to say a whole lot. You can tell by the mood in the clubhouse, there already down, so you don't have to say anything. You might have to go out and pat a couple of guys on the back and say, ‘Hey, we'll get them tomorrow.' Sometimes it's a little easier to get on people after a win than after you loss a game. It depends on how you lose it, if it's total stupidity in how you got beat or some mistakes, but most of the time I don't say a whole lot after a tough loss.
ITP: How does this team compare to the 1999 Wisconsin team? (Roadcap managed the 1999 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers to a division title in the Midwest League that year)
Roadcap: Well, there's all lot of similarities. The pitching is starting to shape up; in '99 we had Scott Acheson and Justin Smith in the second half. The bullpen the last couple of games is starting to shape up, if we can keep it up, we'll be very similar to that '99 team. This club has all lot more team speed. Maybe defensively we were a little bit better in '99, but I think this club still has a shot to do some things defensively. There's some comparisons, but '99 was five years ago, hopefully we can duplicate that feat, but again, it's up to those players in that clubhouse, in how far they want to go and what they want to do?
ITP: Have any of those players made it up to the big leagues?
Roadcap: Matt Thornton is up there right now. Like I said, it was a mix and match type of group. They just gelled really well and they came out to compete and played hard everyday.
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