Catcher Brad Ausmus of Los Angeles Dodgers a Successful Manager in Waiting
Most fans in Los Angeles knew Brad Ausmus was going to retire before he did.
The 41-year-old catcher has missed a large part of the 2010 season with back problems and appeared more comfortable providing quiet advice to teammates than squatting behind the plate for nine grueling innings on aging knees.
Ausmus will get the opportunity to take the reins for the Dodgers in one their few remaining games.
He has already experienced the game from the position of manager, having coached the Dodgers in their final regular season game in 2009, manager Joe Torre appointing him for the day.
If anyone reading this has been to a game in the last two years, they have noticed the leadership qualities instilled in the catching sage.
He has served as a mentor for Russell Martin, providing insight from years past. He has tweaked the fundamentals of young pitchers such as Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw. Finally, Ausmus took young fireballer Kenley Jansen under his wing when Jansen was called up midseason.
In his 18-year career, Ausmus has played in just about every stadium in Major League Baseball, having played in the National League and American League. Brad will finish his respectable big league career just shy of 2,000 games played. To have played that many games as a catcher is like doubling the number of games played for a starting pitcher.
Not only do catchers participate in the game, they also have a vital part in the outcome of their team's defense. For Ausmus, when he catches, he also calls the game for his pitcher. Catchers sometimes act as assistant coaches, calling the game for pitchers, shifting the defense in any given situation, directing traffic on relays from the outfield, and saving wild pitches from giving away bases.
Brad Ausmus will make a name for himself off the field the same way he did on it: with dignity, respect, and knowledge. Expect Ausmus to take several teams to success in years to come.
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