Q&A with new manager John Massarelli

11/06/2013 10:25 AM -

The T-Bones announced Wednesday that John Massarelli has been hired as the club’s fifth manager since the team moved from Duluth prior to the 2003 season. He replaces Kenny Hook, who went 91-109 in two seasons with Kansas City. Massarelli, 47, brings to Kansas City an overall record of 716-536 in 12 seasons as a professional baseball manager. In those 12 seasons, eight of his teams reached the postseason (three missed out by one game or less), and he took two teams to the Frontier League championship series, winning with Lake Erie in 2009. You can read the official release here. The following, however, is more of Massarelli’s initial conversation with Matt Fulks, the T-Bones Director of Media Relations.

What made you want to take this job with the T-Bones?
John Massarelli: I told people that I was semi-retired because I decided I wasn’t going to manage again unless it was a perfect fit. There were only a handful of places I’d get excited about managing, and Kansas City was one of them. So when I talked to Chris Browne (T-Bones’ Vice-President and General Manager), I knew this was the right situation and the right organization, and I jumped. From all I know about the Kansas City T-Bones, it’s a great organization from (owner) John Ehlert on down.

You had last season off. What did you do?
JM: This was my first summer since starting in professional baseball in 26 years that I was off. It was my first summer without something to do. In 2008 I didn’t manage, but I was working for (Lake Erie) and trying to get that organization going. So I went from playing to coaching to managing. My wife and I are empty nesters, so to speak, because our daughter is in college. (Editor’s Note: John and Kelly, who were high school sweethearts, have been married 24 years.) We took the opportunity to take a vacation. We toured Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore — basically we took about a 12-day vacation out west, and had a blast. When we came back, I was refreshed and focused on my baseball school. As I said, I was semi-retired and wasn’t going to go back and manage. I guess I jinxed myself.

So, what about the T-Bones made it one of those jobs that you figured you’d jump?
JM: I’ve known about the organization’s reputation by talking with players and other managers. This is a small network. I know (former T-Bones manager) Andy McCauley really well, and I’d met John and Adam Ehlert a few years ago. Then you look at the fact that Chris Browne has been there since the beginning, which tells the strength of the organization. That’s stability. I’ve been through situations where we had three general managers in four years. That’s part of what left the taste in my mouth that, even though I love managing on the field, it had to be the right fit with the right people running it. Kansas City seems to be that fit.

How would you describe your overall managing philosophy?
JM: First, I’m a big believer in building chemistry with the team. I want to get 22 guys pulling in the same direction. In independent baseball, some guys want to get to the big leagues, and some have gone as far as they’re going to go, but they want to keep playing. So, you get guys who come in with different goals, but all 22 guys need to be pulling in the same direction for the club. That’s our early focus.

And after that, as far as the type of players you want?
JM: I like athletic players who are comfortable with the freedom I give them to make decisions. I don’t like to control guys. I like to create opportunities to score with aggressive base running. You also have to build a team that can win in all parts of the game. I don’t want to build guys around CommunityAmerica Ballpark; I want to go Gary or Wichita or Winnipeg — anywhere in our league — and score runs.
But I like athletic players. I like three athletic outfielders and infielders who can move around — three shortstops, if you will. On the pitching side, I like to build from the bullpen forward, with power arms for the back of the bullpen. I’ve had clubs lead the league in saves, but I don’t think I’ve had a single player lead the league in saves. When you play every day, you can’t rely on one guy six days in a row. So you need to build a bullpen with three or four, or even five or six, guys who are comfortable to save a game and who have the confidence of the defensive players behind them.

What’s your first order of business?

JM: The first thing I need to do is to meet the rest of our staff and get a feel for the players we have the rights to. After that we’ll get guys signed and start building toward another championship in Kansas City.

Again, John, congratulations on coming out of “semi-retirement.” We have some things planned with you for tbonesbaseball.com during the offseason, so we look forward to learning more about you during the offseason and then getting started in 2014.
JM: Thank you. I’m very excited and can’t wait to get started!

Search Archive »

Browse by Month »

July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007