Colorado Rockies: Walt Weiss enjoying transition from manager to coach
By Jake Shapiro
DENVER – The rise of the Colorado Rockies from cellar dweller to the playoffs started a season before Bud Black. For the first time since 2010, the Rockies won 75 games in 2016 and that club was led by Walt Weiss.
Weiss managed the Rockies from 2013-2016 to a 283-365 record. The former Rockie and resident of Denver returned to the Centennial State for 2018’s opening weekend. Now the bench coach of the Atlanta Braves, a laid back and rather joyful Weiss spent Saturday with familiar faces.
Along with Braves First Base Coach Eric Young Sr., the two spent time with outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and former pitcher Pedro Astacio around noon. All four are on the club’s 25 best players list for the Rockies 25th anniversary in 2018.
Weiss flashed a smile when he saw some more familiar faces, “Wow, I didn’t expect to be in such high demand.
“It’s ironic, because last time I left the Rockies I came to Atlanta as a player, and now I’m doing it again,” the first year Braves bench coach told Rox Pile in an exclusive chat. “There are some consistencies and parallels. Coming back here is a little weird. I spent 15 years with the Rockies in some capacity or another. It’s strange, but I think the year out gave a little separation. Things are great overall.”
Weiss spent the 2017 baseball season making almost weekly trips to Chapel Hill, N.C., where he played collegiate baseball. This time, he was there to see his son Bo, a well-regarded right-handed pitcher, wear the Carolina Blue.
The 1988 AL Rookie of the Year with the Oakland Athletics, Weiss, spent the final three seasons of a 14-year Major League career with the Braves. This is his first time serving as a coach in the majors, performing essentially every other role in the bigs from special adviser to scout to manager.
“It’s been neat,” the 54-year-old said. “I’ve really enjoyed this role. It’s a lot easier to connect with the players. As a manager, you really have to go out of your way make an effort to connect with players. It’s a little weird for a player around a manager. They don’t open as much. I’ve really enjoyed that, being more hands on with the players.”
Weiss continued on that beat.
“My typical day is baseball stuff,” he said. “That’s one of the things I didn’t like about managing. Most of your day is non-baseball-related things and I didn’t like that.”
Much happier to hold a mitt, fungo and give signs than carry a notepad and be in high demand, he clarified.
“I’m not talking about the media. I’m talking about dealing with all different departments,” Weiss said. “And you’re not out there getting your hands dirty with the players. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. Everyone else’s headache in all these different departments becomes your headache and I know you sign up for that and I got that. But I am enjoying this role.”