Adam Spolane, a self-described minor league baseball broadcaster who works at a radio station in Houston where most people don’t know his name, managed to break the one of the biggest stories of the baseball offseason, as the Detroit Tigers stunned many by hiring inexperienced Brad Ausmus to be their next manager.
For a few weeks, little was known or reported locally about which way the team was leaning with regards to a replacement for Jim Leyland. The team interviewed Lloyd McClendon, Brad Ausmus and Rick Renteria, but nothing conclusive was reported about a choice. Many assumed Detroit was waiting to speak with Boston’s bench coach Torey Lovullo early this week. Then, late Saturday night, a tweet from Spolane declared that Ausmus would be traveling to Detroit to take the Tigers’ job on Sunday. After Ken Rosenthal and others picked up the story, it was quickly confirmed. What was the timeline which led up to Spolane finding out first, and what does he think about the fit of Ausmus in Detroit? We chatted with him this week to get his side of the story.
TDSS: Obviously you can’t reveal your sources, but take us through your wild Saturday night as the news broke. What was the timeline that led to you discovering that Brad Ausmus was indeed poised to be the next manager of the Detroit Tigers?
AS: It happened quickly. I got a message at around 4:00 central (5:00 EST) from a source that said Ausmus was going to be the Tigers manager. Because of who the source was and the relationship that the source had to one of the parties I knew, the story was true but I asked a couple of questions to just fill in some blanks which is what led to my tweet about Ausmus going to Detroit Sunday to accept the job.
TDSS: Being Houston-based (where Ausmus spent a good chunk of his career) what are your thoughts on Ausmus in general? Do you believe he will make a good manager for Detroit?
AS: I wasn’t around a lot when Ausmus played for the Astros, but there is a reason why he’s been talked about as being a future manager for as long as I can remember. People who were around more will tell you that he’s the smartest player they’ve ever been around. People have also told me that he essentially ran the pitching staff towards the end of his time with the Astros. He’ll be a great manager not just because of how smart he is, but because he’ll have the respect of everyone in that clubhouse.
TDSS: Do you beleive previous managerial experience is overrated as it relates to managing a major league baseball team? Should the Astros have considered Ausmus during their recent managerial changes regardless of his age or experience?
AS: I think it helps, but I don’t think it is critical. I don’t think it’s a big deal that he never managed in the minors, either. There is no way to replicate what being a big-league manager is like. There might be some growing pains at first, but let’s remember, he’s going to a veteran team that knows what they’re doing.
The Astros did consider Ausmus before hiring Bo Porter last year, but he declined a chance to be interviewed. He was still playing for the Dodgers when they hired Brad Mills after the 2009 season.
By the way, this is a good story by Brian McTaggart about a game that Ausmus sort of managed for the Astros back in 2006.
TDSS: Finally, a tiny bit of sarcasm here, but has your life changed at all since breaking the news?
AS: Well, I gained about 200 Twitter followers, which I will probably lose once college basketball season starts and I start ripping Tom Crean every other tweet, but other than that, I’m still just a Minor League Basbeall broadcaster that works at a radio station where most people don’t know my name.
If you’d like to enjoy more of Spolane’s thoughts on baseball or his ripping of Crean during the upcoming college basketball season, a topic which has become relevant to many in the state of Michigan, feel free to follow him @AdamSpolane on Twitter.
Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax