Every season I've done in MiLB has been enjoyable. But 2009 in Princeton stands out more than most.
The year before, I was a neophyte to the job, and frankly a little overwhelmed by it. There was so much to learn and take in -- sometimes too much -- and the P-Rays' struggles all season didn't make it much easier.
But then came 2009. With a year behind me I knew what to expect and felt much more confident, and working with Jared Sandberg, who took over as manager in Princeton, made the job immeasurably easier. He was open and honest and always had time to talk. He took me into his confidence and behind the scenes for a look at how things really worked. He provided knowledge and a perspective I otherwise wouldn't have learned. He also managed a winning team, which – after the long slog of 2008 – was a decided bonus.
Something else I learned about Jared is his devotion to his family. It was clearly important to him to spend as much time as he possibly could with them during the season, which isn’t an easy thing to do. It’s no stretch to imagine his decision to join the Mariners organization was motivated first by the opportunity to move back home, with furthering his career secondary.
(He's also one of only two managers with whom to have a beer after the game; the other was Robbie Hammock in Missoula, if you're scoring at home.)
It was obvious all the way back in '09 that Jared had the goods. It was no surprise to see him rise through the ranks in the Tampa Bay organization, and certainly no stunner to see him take the next leap with the Mariners. He'll do well there. Seattle has itself a winner.