March 13, 2013

Former Dogs manager takes charge in Atlanta

Fredi Gonzalez is learning on the job in his third year after replacing a legend in the Braves' dugout.

By JEFF SCHULTZ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Continued from page 1)

Fredi Gonzalez
click image to enlarge

Fredi Gonzalez, who managed the Sea Dogs in 1997, was “the perfect guy at the right time” to manage the Braves, according to Atlanta GM Frank Wren.

The Associated Press

WITH THE DOGS

Fredi Gonzalez managed the Sea Dogs in 1997

The team went 79-63, beat Norwich in the first round of the playoffs and lost to Harrisburg in the finals.

He's right, of course. But Wren and Gonzalez both must be aware that the Braves are overdue for postseason success. It has been 12 years since the franchise won a playoff series. But this comes back to the pressure component that Gonzalez quickly dismisses.

"Pressure is people who have to work their (rear) off all week to put food on the table. We're playing a game. This isn't pressure. This is fun. I take every day like that. You drive around the (Florida) turnpike, and here we are getting ready to play a spring training game on a beautiful day, and there's guys working on the side of the road, getting paid, what, $8 an hour? That's pressure."

He has it good. He managed in Florida. He worked for Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who spends offseasons burning down forests and then can't figure out why people look at him sideways.

It took him two months to get over 2011. It took him a few weeks to get over the playoff loss. This season, the bar is high, but Gonzalez embraces that.

"My goal is always the same -- make the playoffs and go from there," he said. "If we had a lesser team, we'd still have the same expectations, as far as I'm concerned."

The losses of Chipper Jones, David Ross and others have led some to wonder about the team's leadership. Again, Gonzalez smiled. Isn't that his job? "As the manager, it's my job to lead this team in a certain way," he said.

He's comfortable being the one out front.

 

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