Pat Osborn looked comfortable in his first Media Day with the Charleston RiverDogs. After winning Manager of the Year honors in the Florida State League last year as the Tampa Yankees skipper, Osborn is confident about his team in Charleston this year.
“Everyone’s going to play, and everyone’s going to play a lot with the way our team is made up. Exciting group. Really, really exciting to watch these kids play,” Osborn said of his team.
Before being named manager of the Dogs, Osborn had never been to Charleston. “I’ve heard great things. This is my first time in Charleston. Everyone I’ve talked to that have either played here, or been on vacation here, or lived here absolutely raves about the place. I’m looking forward to what Charleston has to offer. I’ve heard nothing, but good things about the stadium and the crowds and I’m fortunate to be here,” Osborn said.
Here are some other tidbits from Media Day:
- The RiverDogs open up with an exhibition game on the road at Myrtle Beach on April 5, one night before the season opener at Joe Riley Park in Charleston. Osborn is looking forward to that trip. “I think it’s fun. I played in the Carolina League for about a year and a half. We would always look forward to going to Myrtle Beach. I was in Kinston, NC in the Indians organization, so that’ll be fun to go there and see that place again. It was the Braves when I was playing, and now it’s the Cubs from what I understand.”
- As far as how he’ll manage that exhibition game, here’s what Osborn had to say, “It’s good because the guys get to play in a normal game atmosphere before opening night, but then again you got to use pitching too. We’re in the situation where we’re going to be able to use two guys to cover the game. And they won’t be ready again for another five or six days, and we’re going to have two guys join us from extended spring to cover any innings we need so that we go into opening night at full strength.”
- Anyelo Gomez looks to be the first in line to lock down the closer role. Gomez split time between Staten Island and Charleston last year and worked both as a starter and a reliever. “A lot of them is going to depend on their usage and how much they’ve pitched prior days. I think the name Anyelo Gomez is probably going to surface as the closer. As of right now, this stuff can change day by day, but if I had to name a guy that he’s probably going to get the first chance to come in to lock down a game, Anyelo Gomez,” Osborn said.
- No major injury news to report to start the season that would affect Charleston’s roster as of yet. “I don’t see anyone that’s on the shelf that will be joining us anytime soon. Pitching wise, I think there may be one or two down in extended that once they’re healthy, may come up this, but like any situation like that, we’ll kind of cross that bridge when we get there. If there’s a spot for them, they’ll make it work, and if not, maybe it’s with another team in our system,” Osborn said.
- As for his managerial philosophy, Osborn had this to say, “My philosophy is that I like to let these kids play. I don’t like to control the game. I like to let them play, make them feel comfortable. That’s not saying that if there needs to be a bunt put on, I won’t do that. I don’t do a lot of hit and running. I don’t like to bunt a lot. There are times that call for it. When there’s a situation that calls for it, I’ll put it on, but for the most part, these kids get better by playing the game, and I like to let them do their thing out there without me looking over their shoulder.”
- Joe Riley Park underwent a couple of changes during the offseason, most notably is the new Riley Park Club, which is at the top of the stands along the first base side. The new seating option will allow 200 fans on game day to enjoy a brand new experience at the ballpark. The club level will allow fans to watch the game in air conditioning with views of the wetlands behind the first base side as well as the baseball game, all while featuring an elevated food and beverage experience. For the fans in the stands, the old chicken wire backstop has been removed and replaced by netting that reaches to the end of each dugout to protect fans from line drives.