Bo Knows Baseball

Gary_denbo1BOSTON – I get done with a nice, relaxing train ride from the Big Apple to Beantown, swapping ball stories with Al from Philadelphia, who is in his 70s and was telling me about watching Ted Williams’ smooth stroke in games back in the day at old Shibe Park, and I step into my hotel room and imediately get a phone call.

The search is over. Your Toronto Blue Jays have hired the one and only Gary Denbo to replace the self-proclaimed goat, Mickey Brantley, as the club’s new hitting coach. Denbo comes to the Jays after serving as the Yankees’ roving hitting instructor and he’s now been given the task of righting the offensive ship that sunk and flat-out stunk during this past season for Toronto.

Denbo never played in the Majors and barely cracked the Mendoza line over four Minor League seasons in the Reds system back in the ’80s, but he’s maintained various coaching/managing/front office/scouting jobs with the Reds, Yankees, Indians, and even those pesky Ham Fighters over in Japan.

Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi said the club had a list of names that they had interest in for the job, but the Jays only ended up interviewing Denbo and Toronto’s own roving hitting guy, Dwayne Murphy. Ricciardi received permission to talk to Denbo from Yanks GM Brian Cashman, received glowing remarks from the likes of Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, and added that Denbo blew them away in the interview.

Ricciardi went on to say that the Blue Jays need to find their identity as an offensive club, much like the Yankees and Red Sox have done. Toronto likes the way Denbo focusses on preparation, and Ricciardi said his new hitting coach is big on breaking down video. Toronto’s GM also indicated that hiring Denbo was more his call rather than Gibbons, who was "on board" with the decision. Brantley was Gibbons’ pick at the time he was hired.

10 Comments

I thought I’d re-post this here. I find JP’s comments interesting, specifically on the response from Abner. From the sound of things we might have a good batting coach. I really do like the idea that Denbo appears to have a method and plan.

Maybe that’s what bothered Abner. lol

Gary Denbo has played a major role in developing the talents of New York Yankee players into Major League caliber hitters.

Thought by many in professional baseball to be one of the top young hitting instructors in the game, Gary has been instrumental in developing hitters such as Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, Ricky Ledee, Alfonso Soriano, and many other successful major leaguers.

Described by Yankees skipper Joe Torre as a “workaholic”, Torre says, “Gary has brought a fresh voice, a new approach and a tireless nature and openness to incorporating new technologies”.

Players swear by Gary’s communication and teaching and toiling skills, and believe slumps will be more short-lived because of his ability to spot and correct flaws quickly. Gary, considered a ‘new age hitting instructor’, has developed a method of combining video and computer analysis of the baseball swing. He uses a library built with the swings of top hitters in the game to serve as a teaching source in developing proper swing technique.

Gary’s alert manner and quick eye in seeing faults, along with his ability to relate to young hitters and to communicate those flaws clearly and concisely, have made him one of the top hitting instructors in the game.

Gary is now in his 19th year in professional baseball. Following a four-year playing career, he became a coach in the Cincinnati Reds organization before joining the Yankees as a minor league manager in 1990. A true winner with proven results, Gary has taught all levels of hitters from high school age rookies to the current World Champion New York Yankees. Gary has been a part of Championships at every level of Yankee baseball.

Compliments of http://www.hittingacademy.com/visitor/vbiogdenbo.cfm

That’s a smooth pic of Denbo. Looks like a high school yearbook picture of a jock showing his sensitive/brooding side.

Interesting that he’s become so successful as a coach despite never even really making an impression in the minors. I’m not saying that to knock him, it really is just kind of interesting….

gsumner:

I really wish I could see Thomas in front of the camera. I thought he would do a good job and you seem to be a fan, but he really is getting ripped apart all over the Internet. Here’s one sample:

http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2007/10/04/frank-thomas-shouldnt-quit-his-day-job/

Hem

That Thomas article was after the first game. I saw him in the second game and thought he did well. Of course I am a fan and do like him, so maybe I wasn’t really objective.

Jordan

You should forward this to the Jays.

Torres Lands New Cuban Client

Posted Sep. 18, 2007 7:03 pm by John Manuel

Filed under: Daily Dish

Miami-based agent Jaime Torres, who has represented Cuban defectors such as Jose Contreras and recent signees Yohannis Perez (Brewers) and Yoslan Herrera (Pirates), has a new client available to meet with major league teams.

Alexei Ramirez led Cuba’s Serie Nacional in home runs last season with 20 and was a member of Cuba’s top-level national team for the last three seasons, winning an Olympic gold medal in 2004 in Athens and playing for Cuba’s World Baseball Classic team, which placed second to Japan. His birthdate has been listed as being either April 25 or Sept. 22, 1981, depending on different international tournament records. Torres reported the Sept. 22 birthdate in a call to Baseball America.

Ramirez, who went 6-for-16 (.375) in the WBC, has played shortstop for Pinar Del Rio but has played the outfield and second base for Cuba in international competition. He hit .335 with a .574 slugging percentage this season for Pinar del Rio.

“He’s going to be available to teams this Thursday at the Hilton hotel in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic,” Torres said Tuesday. “He is in the process of establishing legal residency in the Dominican Republic.

“I think this is one of the top two players in Cuba. He’s an exciting hitter who led the league in home runs and can play infield or the outfield.”

Ramirez, who played in Cuba for Pinar del Rio (Contreras’ old club), is married to a Dominican citizen. Once he establishes residency in the Dominican and goes through the U.S. government’s “unblocking” process–a procedure aimed at preventing Cubans from funneling money back to the Castro government–he will become a free agent.

***I “borrowed” this post from the Yankee site.

Better late than never, but here are a few of the names the guys I work with call A-Rod…none are particularly flattering
Mr Choketober

A-Roid

A-Rob ( obvious reference to his contract )

As for Steinbrenner’s statement about Torre’s job , if it was done to spark the Yankees into winning , it worked… for one game . It put a tremendous burden on a team that was not built to succeed this year, they were offence rich and pitching poor. As much as I am not a Yankee fan , Torre did a fantastic job bringing this team to the postseason.

Denbo has all the credentials . I hope he is a good fit for Toronto , only time will tell

Theres an interesting article on Denbo’s approach on sportsnet.ca. After reading the article, I like the guys approach and think he’s on the right track.

If Canseco is right, when his next book is released, we might be calling A-Rod-Ster-Rod

JP’s hiring of Denbo is a good one.Although I still think that Brantley was the scapegoat for things he couldn’t control,management did hire up instead of taking a step back.Denbo has a great rep with the Yankee hitters and we all know how they’ve just plain wore out pitchers over the years.As much as I love Zaun as our catcher and leader in the clubhouse,if Torre is fired maybe the Jays should offer Possada a 1 or 2 year deal to be reunited with Denbo.I know he didn’t have a good ALDS,but year after year he quietly produces both behind the plate and at the plate.

I’ve kept track of Denbo a little over his career because I’m a fellow Indiana boy (now living in Toronto and a Jays fan for going on 10 years). This guy is the real deal! I’ve seen articles over the years about how well prepared he is, and the likes of Martinez, Jeter and Posada give him a ton of credit…Mike Lowell worked with him after his dismal season with the Marlins and credits Denbo with turning things around for him.

****, from what I saw, the only reason he was fired from the Yankees Hitting Coach position in 2001 was because Steinbrenner had to have a scapegoat after losing game 7 to the D-Backs.

Only time will tell, but it appears as though JP pulled a rabbit out of his hat!

As the article at Sportsnet.ca rightly pointed out, a team approach is sorely needed on the Jays, especially when it comes to their offence. Wells’ me-first attitude and desperation to swing at the first pitch hoping for a fastball were true rally-killers. I guess Wells or Brantley, or both didn’t think that the opposition would realize that Wells is a first-pitch swinger and cross him up, BUT THEY DID..OVER AND OVER AGAIN THIS SEASON. Brantley was old school and I suspected that he wasn’t into watching and utilzing video to prepare the troops. All he seemed to do is stand at the railing in the dugout with that expressionless stare.
Now that JP has made a change to a cerebral hitting coach, is it possible that he might realize that his former roomie, Boomhauer Gibbons, with his country boy, laid-back, sloth is not the answer as Manager? I suspect that moving out Whitt as bench coach was requested by Gibbons since he realizes that he couldn’t carry Ernie’s jock as a catcher and he certainly lacks Whitt’s expertise as a strategist. As long as Ernie was sitting next to him in the dugout anybody with any baseball knowledge would always wonder how Gibbons got the job. His two main qualifications were that he was the bullpen coach when Tosca got fired and he used to be JP’s roomie in the minors. As soon as you hear Gibbons speak at a postgame press conference, you just know that he would never have been hired at an interview for the job of manager of a major league baseball team.

Good luck to the new hitting coach to get Wells to stop being selfish and to vary his approach at the plate. He also will have his work cut out for him to patch up the major hole in Wells’ swing when it comes to offspeed stuff low and away, which every prepared pitcher in the league would throw him when he got to two strikes. That’s why Wells would so often swing at the first pitch.

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