Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Mike Breyman Named Joliet Slammers Manager

Photo courtesy of Paul Baillargeon/
After spending seven seasons with the Gateway Grizzlies as a player or a coach, Mike Breyman is off to to the Joliet Slammers for his first managerial gig.   Congrats to Mike..well deserved!

Breyman thought he would be at Gateway for at least a couple more years before getting his first shot as the head man of a ball club..he told me that in this audio interview I recorded with him recently.  The decision to leave couldn't have been all that tough.  Opportunities like this don't come open often.  When a manager job comes open, you have to jump at the opportunity, and Mike did.  Always fun catching up with the Attica, OH's my interview with him..

Mike Breyman Interview

Breyman played for the Grizzlies for five seasons..he was the face of the organization.  If you know the Grizzlies, you most likely know Mike Breyman.  #33 served as the Rascals hitting coach for two seasons after a one year stint with the Grizzlies as bench coach in 2009.  The move back to Gateway made sense..after all, Breyman has said he will always call Gateway home.  The fans know him..and they love him.  He's an entertaining, passionate, hard-working guy who knows the game of baseball as well as anyone.  Here's a few stories I have on Mike from the 2012 season..

Photo courtesy of Paul Baillargeon
Mike has some great traits, but to me his best trait is he's a hard worker.  Few people care as much as Mike.  In fact, some around him could argue that he cares too much!  As a coach, he prepared like he did as a player, and I know he'll do the same in a manager role.  His video camera was his best friend in 2012.  He had a little flip cam that he took everywhere.  He recorded players at bats during games and then went back and re-watched the tape, often with particular players alongside.  I can recall many encounters on the bus (I sat across from Mike on the bus) where Mike sat with Chris McClendon, John Shelby and others, trying to help them get better.  It was entertaining to watch him break down a guys swing..he does it as good as anyone.

The players love him.  He isn't much older than many of the others (31) so like manager Phil Warren, he has a great relationship with the players.  He can relate to many of them.  Breyman, like many of the players, was a star player at a big college (Kentucky) but for some reason he never got a shot in affiliated ball.  When Mike talks, players listen.  They value what he has to say and you can't say that about all player/coach relationships.  Breyman admitted to me that the player/coach relationship might change a little bit now that he's the manager and not a coach.  Either way, he develops a solid relationship with his players.  That won't change.  The Joliet Slammers player's will enjoy playing for Mike Breyman.

Congrats to Mike on the advancement.  Well deserved for a guy who I call a friend.  It will be neat seeing him call the shots in 2013 and beyond!

       -Voice of the Grizzlies, Adam Young 

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