I guess it was "check with your local minor-league manager" day. This time, Ed Weaver of the Troy Record checks in with Jim Pankovits, Tri-City ValleyCats manager.
The team not only occupied last place in the Stedler Division from July 3 on, they also tied Auburn for the worst record in the entire league.
No one was more disappointed that first-year manager Jim Pankovits.
"No doubt, the way the season played out was unexpected and not what we wanted by any means. I couldn’t be happier with how hard these kids have worked. My staff (pitching coach Gary Ruby, hitting coach Joel Chimelis) worked extremely hard and I think we prepared hard and played hard. We’ve done everything we could to be successful on the field, but unfortunately things didn’t work out in the won-loss department. And that’s part of (player) development. Offensively, it seemed like they all got off to a bad start. If it had just been a couple of guys, and we had a couple getting off to a real good start, then it they could have learned from one another. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was collective, for whatever reason and that weighs on you, too. When you’re struggling individually and the team struggles, that’s an added burden...
...“(In spite of) what’s happened here this year, we’re trying to develop winning players. And I think they’ve learned the concepts of what they need to do but it’s going to take longer for some that for others and unfortunately we’ve got a lot of times here that it’s going to take even longer. We probably won’t see the fruits of this labor for some time, but I think we will. I’ve seen some tremendous progress with some hitters and with some pitchers."
The rundown: Legitimate prospects, according to Weaver -
Longshots, but still prospects, according to Weaver -
Obviously the wins and losses doesn’t reflect that (is did). I think our (2009) draft was top-heavy with younger players. I didn’t take a real deep look at other teams’ drafts but it’s obvious that the majority of the better players in our draft were in Greeneville. We did have some good players here, though, but I think, for whatever reasons, it took the majority of kids here a long time to make the transition and adjustment from where they came and I take responsibility for some of that.”