The majority of players who stack the rosters of short-season Class A teams in the New York-Penn League are fresh selections from the annual MLB draft. The short season represents their first exposure to baseball as a profession. As such, their managers play a crucial role in their transition and development as major-league prospects.
For Gerald Laird, at the helm for his second season with the Connecticut Tigers, his depth of experience as a player helps to make him a better manager of these young players. Laird spent 13 years in the majors as a catcher for six teams and won a World Series with St. Louis in 2011.
"As an ex-player, like I tell these guys, I’ve been in your shoes," Laird said. "I’ve been through every level of the minors. I’ve been in the big leagues. I’ve been sent down from the big leagues. So everything they’re going through, or can expect to go through, I’ve been through. I think that helps out a lot."