Dan Plesac praised his former MLB Network colleague and current Phillies manager, Joe Girardi.
Earlier this year in spring training, several former Phillies players and managers were set to join new skipper Joe Girardi‘s coaching staff as guest instructors — Ryan Howard, Brad Lidge, Larry Bowa, Charlie Manuel, Pete Mackanin, and Dan Plesac.
Several of them were still able to make the trek down to Clearwater and coach ahead of the final Grapefruit League game on March 12. Among them, Plesac, who donned red pinstripes the final two seasons of his 18-year pitching career in 2002 and 2003.
The former southpaw and current MLB Network analyst has served as a spring guest instructor for the Phillies since 2015, also under previous managers Ryne Sandberg, Mackanin, and Gabe Kapler. But, Plesac believes that this year stood out the most, saying Friday afternoon on MLB Network that he noticed an “upbeat vibe” during the first week of when Phillies pitchers and catchers reported.
MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger noted that no one usually connected Girardi with the phrase “upbeat vibe” during the 10 years he spent as manager of the New York Yankees from 2008 to 2017.
Plesac said he believes Girardi, who worked at the studio with him and Amsinger after his Yankees departure, really missed the game, managing in particular. He added that he thinks Girardi will be an even better manager in red pinstripes than what he was previously with the Yankees.
“There are big expectations with the Phillies. Their payroll is big. They are expecting to win,” Plesac said. “He wanted to go there. I think they wanted him and he wanted to be there.”
Plesac continued that he noticed a “vibe of accountability” in the Phillies’ spring camp under Girardi, albeit it coming to a sudden halt in mid-March.
“The players were excited to have him,” he said. “When he walks in a room, he is a presence. Everybody was on their toes and was sharp.”
“He is the right guy at the right time for the Phillies.”
Now more than ever, having the “right guy” during these unprecedented times is important; we will soon see if that translates into the regular season, set to begin in less than three weeks.