Fresh off the introduction of Brandon Hyde as the 20th manager in Baltimore Orioles history, I can't get over how cool it was to have iconic Orioles legend Brooks Robinson in the front row.
Hyde alluded to that very fact during his news conference, and when I introduced Hyde's wife, Lisa, to Brooks, she repeated a story she had just told me. When she was having dinner in Florida before all of this was finalized, she saw a Brooks Robinson bobblehead in the restaurant and snapped a picture of it. That is called kismet.
As to the meat and bones of the actual news conference, we heard Hyde thank a lot of people who have helped him along the path that brought him to Baltimore. To me, the more names someone mentions, the more I can measure a man's sincerity and earnestness.
And I think more than anything he said, it was his manner that impressed me the most. He seemed much more at ease in talking off the dais to the media than he did on the dais. There wasn't a huge difference in the answers he gave, but the comfort he has in his own skin came through loud and clear.
Whenever I see the name Hyde in print or hear it somewhere, I can't help but think of the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."
The book is about man's battle with his alter ego. The good side of the man in the book is Dr. Henry Jekyll, and his bad side comes out in a different person altogether in Edward Hyde.
What I couldn't really get out of my mind in watching him for more than 45 minutes on and off the stage was how there didn't appear to be a lot of complications about him. In other words, what you see in this Mr. Hyde is what you get.
He honestly answered a question I asked about how his four times serving as a bench coach under four major league managers might influence his decision as to whether or not he wanted a 35-year-old version of himself or a 57-year-old who has managed a time or two to be his eyes and ears on the bench. He simply said he hasn't made his mind up on that. I appreciated a simple, candid answer more than some bombast that said as much.
One very interesting comment Hyde made -- which general manager Mike Elias later expanded upon -- is the notion that young players are coming to the big leagues so fast based on their talent level, which is triggering development at the major league level more and more. Elias said this is a major change going on in this day and age.
Neither Elias nor Hyde mentioned their predecessors on stage, but during the informal chat with media members off stage, both passed along glowing words for former manager Buck Showalter and former executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette. Elias especially mentioned that they had positive results despite some deficiencies in the organization.
It's interesting to juxtapose all the excitement of the past month in Elias and Hyde replacing Duquette and Showalter. While for many in the fan base, they were ready to turn the page as things turned south in Birdland; the cold-hearted reality is this regime will be allowed at the very least a two- to three-year grace period for it to truly prove itself. The wins and losses won't come close to the first couple years of the Duquette and Showalter show.
Hyde didn't feel the need to impress us in the media by knowing that outfield prospect Austin Hays was close or left-handed pitching prospect DL Hall could be close. He doesn't know these people yet, and admitted as much.
One thing come across crystal clear: Brandon Hyde intends to make the most out of his first big league managing opportunity. Perhaps there hasn't been a manager at an introductory news conference who hasn't felt the same way, but Hyde seems to believe it to his core.
And besides, what other first-time manager has Brooks Robinson sitting there rooting for him?
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles