Walt Weiss has a steep learning curve this spring. His learning curve will not result from his brief resume, but more so from having to learn about a great baseball team that's on the brink of something big. The Colorado Rockies signed Walt Weiss as their new manager after the departure of the well-liked Jim Tracy.
Although the buzz about Weiss' short resume is stirring the pot with the media, many who know him say that his lack of big-time manager experience is not going to slow him down. He is apparently committed to and motivated by what he does, making him valuable to the team, no matter what.
So far in spring training, Weiss likes what he sees in the speed some of the players are putting forth. In his initial spring lineup, Weiss has Eric Young, Jr. leading off and Dexter Fowler following second. This will be beneficial to Eric Young, Jr., the team's base-stealer. The new manager is also looking to increase Young's versatility, increasing the number of positions he can play.
Weiss recognizes that the rest of the team can hit for power, however, to get off to a good start at the top of the lineup, he prefers speed.
Weiss was initially drafted into the MLB by the Baltimore Orioles in 1982, in the 10th round of the amateur draft, but decided not to join the big leagues at that time. Instead, he decided to focus on his education and attended University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
In 1985, he was the 12th overall pick in the regular MLB draft, making his first major-league appearance with the Oakland Athletics in 1987. During this opening season, albeit a low-scoring offensive one, Weiss earned the honor of being named the American League Rookie of the Year. His play at the shortstop position was just absolutely phenomenal that his low batting average of .250 and his three homeruns didn't slow him down.
During his sophomore year with the A's, Weiss' homerun in a pivotal game gave the team their first title in 15 years.
1990 was Weiss' best year as a player, putting up personal, record-breaking numbers in hits, runs, and batting average. His nine stolen bases weren't shabby either.
After a dismal 1991 with the A's, Weiss was traded to a new Florida Marlins team during the 1992 off-season. In 1993, he played 158 games for the Marlins, but as a free agent, he chose to get out of the southeastern coast and move to the mountains. Weiss joined the Colorado Rockies when they were also a start-up team and became the first player to play for both the expansion Marlins and Rocies.
Weiss' four years with the Rockies were marginally successful before started to play for the Atlanta Braves as their starting shortstop. During his first year back in the east coast, he made his only appearance on the All-Star team.
In 2000, Weiss retired from baseball as a player, he returned to the Colorado Rockies organization as a special adviser and instructor tot he front office. There, he worked from 2002 - 2008, until he made the decision to spend more time at home as a husband and father. In order to keep his head in the game, Weiss has been coaching for Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colorado, where he brought the team to the 5A semifinals his first year.
Is He Ready?
As mentioned before, many critics out there are chastising the organization for bringing on a manager with very little experience. Others, however, think that Weiss' lack of experience will be beneficial to this team.
Whatever the case may be, the Rockies are poised and ready to have a great season. With injuries being worked out in Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki, the return of Carlos Gonzales and Dexter Fowler, and the addition of Nolan Arenado who is having the best spring training ever, there is no telling where the Rockies will land this year.