DENVER -- Walt Weiss remains quite popular after spending four seasons with the Colorado Rockies as a gritty shortstop. And now the team is hoping he can bring that tenacity to his new role as he makes the rare leap from high school coach to major league manager.
He steps in for Jim Tracy and is given the task of turning around a young squad that's coming off a franchise-worst 64-98 season. To add to that pressure, Weiss has only a one-year deal to transform the team, not to mention a Rockies executive looking over his shoulder from an office right next to his in the clubhouse.
Weiss knows exactly what he's getting into, fully ready to reward the Rockies' leap of faith in him.
"There is no question the pink elephant in the room is I haven't done this before," Weiss said. "This is a job that I'm going to have to figure out on the fly."
Before this job, Weiss' only head coaching job was at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colo., where he led his son's team to a 20-6 record and a spot in the state semifinals last spring.
Still, Weiss learned from some of the best in the business during his 14-year playing career, which began with the A's. He plans to incorporate Tony La Russa's vision of the game and Bobby Cox's ability to create a winning culture into his own managerial persona. He will also rely on Pittsburgh skipper Clint Hurdle for some friendly advice from time to time.
"There is a blueprint there for me, on
"Players love real -- they know it and they can smell it."