Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Chatting with Giants manager Felipe Alou

Felipe Alou has been a baseball man since he started playing ball as a kid in the Dominican Republic.
Now he is towards the end of his baseball career
and he knows that a good manager is as good
as the talent he has on the field.
Prior to a game I sat down with Felipe and conducted an interview in Spanish(which here I
translated into English)

By Amaury Pi-González

It was almost four hours prior to game time at
ATT Park in San Francisco when I walked into
Felipe’s office inside the Giants clubhouse and sat with him to talk baseball.


Q: There are around 50 games left to be played this season, do you think your team has a shot ?

‘Yes, of course I do, anything can happen,specially
in our division, no team has dominated here, I think we have all been on first place and on last
place also”

Q: Armando Benítez so far a rough season, for
a moment you said you will make a decision
day-to-day according to the situation on who will
be your closer. Is Armando still the man ?

“Yes, he is. It will depend on the situation if I
decide to bring him in or not…I might bring
somebody else If I think we have a better shot
at winning the game”.

Q: Felipe,many think that the toughest decision for a manager is when to take out a pitcher, specially a starting pitcher. Is that the toughest decision for you ?

“No, not really. Because, you see, I gather all my
pitchers in Arizona during Spring Training and
I tell them when I come out to the mound I come
out to take then out of the game. So they are
already conditioned and know that when I come
out I do not come out to talk with them, but to
bring another pitcher in”.

Q: Regarding the same question. So, what would you say is the toughest decision that you have to make as a manager today ?

“I would say, to keep all 25 of my players happy,which is not easy. Specially here, I even have a son (Moises)playing for me and I have to
keep him and all my players happy and ready to
play…that is my toughest job…I cannot show any
favoritism over any of my players. It is a long season and there are always problems, with
25 players you have 25 different personalities; so yes…I think to keep everybody happy and content
is my toughest job”

Q: You played during the days of Mays,Mantle,
Aaron, great players. You have managed
Barry Bonds here with the Giants. Where do you
put him on that list ?

“Barry is one of the greatest players I have ever seen,the best player I have ever managed, there
is nothing he cannot do, he is one of the greatest
players of all time”

Q: As of this season there are only two Hispanic
managers in the major leagues, Ozzie Guillen and
you. Do yoi think there will be more in the near future?

‘Definetely…there are a lot of guys (Hispanics)that
are ready to manage today, like you said Ozzie
Guillen from Venezuela(as you know he won the last World Series)and then there are guys coaching today like José Oquendo that are qualified to
manage at this level. In the past there have been
others like Cookie Rojas, although he didn’t really
get a good chance to manage…Tony Pérez of course…yes there will be many more Latinos
coming to manage in the next few years”.

Q: How about your brothers Mateo and Jesus.
Do they have any ambition of managing like you?

“No, they do not want to manage, that is what they tell me…I don’t think they will want the job, they are doing something still inside of the game, but not
managing is not going to be for them”.

Q: Do you think to manage today is more difficult that in the days when you were a player ?

“Oh yes, probably. When I played there were not this many radio stations or television stations covering the games, there were a couple of newspapers in most towns (except New York and
places like that were they always have a lot of
Press people)but now you have to talk to many reporters, people like you also in Spanish, when I
played there were a bunch of us Latino players,but nothing like today”.

Q: You are one of the managers that arrive the
earliest to the park. Why ?

“You have to, I have meeting with my coaches,
many times with the General Manager, when we are on the road sometimes I even come in
earlier…you know, this is a full time job and I take it very seriously”.

We shared a joke or two in Spanish and I told him I remember at the end of his career when he
was playing for the Oakland Athletics and during
batting practice I use to ask him for an interview and he would say “Espera unos minutos y estoy contigo enseguida” (Wait a few more minutes and
I will be with you right away”.. and that he always
was true to that, unlike other players like for
example one Reginaldo Martinez Jackson
aka Reggie Jackson who stiffed me and other reporters so many times.

Felipe Alou is in his early 70s and I get the feeling he would rather be fishing on a beautiful river in his native Dominican Republic than riding the bus from the team hotel to the ballpark. I asked him about that and he smiled and responded “Oh si, bueno, siempre habra tiempo para ir a pescar”
Oh yeah, well, there will always be time to go

We shook hands, I left his office, I have just spent a few minutes with a man that has spent 60 years
inside this great game we call beisbol.


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