MARYVALE, ARIZONA -- Things would be just fine for the Milwaukee Brewers if it is second-verse, same as the first, for Manager Ron Roenicke. He set the bar pretty high in his first season on the job, and he says he can't wait to get going again.
If Roenicke looked comfortable as the man in charge during Brewers Spring Training 2012, that is appropriate, because he says he feels quite comfortable, as the man in charge of all of the on-field aspects of the team. It is a nice place to be for the 55-year-old baseball lifer.
"I know it took awhile for me to get the opportunity, but I think sometimes we want to push things to have things happen for us earlier. The timing was right last year, and the place was right," Roenicke said.
Roenicke had never managed in the Major Leagues, or anywhere since 1999 for that matter, when he was hired to succeed Ken Macha in Milwaukee. "I have two new nicknames: Dark Horse and Number Four. I've worked hard to get to this point. I don't like talking about myself. The focus is not on me - it's on the players. It's to get to September and have those games mean something," Roenicke said.
Armed with much better talent than Macha, Roenicke quickly proved to be a good fit for the job. "They had a goal, and they set out and they did it," Roenicke said.
When you win 96 games and a division title in your first season as manager, and a first-round playoff series in your first season as manager, odds are you will get several more seasons as a Major League manager. Roenicke needs the contract to reflect an evident future.
"I think with the year we had last year, and I am expecting to play well this year, obviously I want to do this for a long time, and I really feel blessed at the position and the place that I am in now," Roenicke said.
Roenicke understands that life will be different without Prince Fielder and his veteran pinch-hitters and a couple veteran relievers, but Roenicke says he's up for seeing how it goes. "Things went really well last year, and when things are going well, everybody looks good. When you have some of those testing times, I definitely buy into that you find out the character of a person, when things are not going well, so we'll see," Roenicke said.
After all, with Roenicke, what you see is what you get.
Opening Day for Roenicke and the Brewers is Friday, April 6th at Miller Park against those same St. Louis Cardinals who ended Milwaukee's playoff run last year.