New Defenders manager Steve Decker and I had a good chat tonight. I came away with an overwhelmingly positive reaction to what he had to say. Some, Defenders fans, may not sit well. Some of it will excite you.
*Decker said his main priority is player development. If the team happens to win, that's even better.
*He said all of his teams have played the game the right way. They play hard and with respect.
*He's tired of the excuses. He said whether it was from instructional league or elsewhere, all he heard from players was how they couldn't hit at Dodd Stadium. Not so, the new manager said. Decker wants the players to use Dodd as a weapon, and not a liability.
*Don't expect big power numbers out of the lineup, but do expect -- if he can get the guys he wants to do this -- a very fast, very aggressive team on the bases.
*This is a very confident man with a track record of winning in the minors. He knows this will be tough, but he thinks that most of the players he gets will have played for him in either Salem-Keizer or San Jose, so they already know what he expects. If they can make the adjustment to Double-A, which he considered the proving ground, then there might be winning baseball in Norwich.
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