ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. —
Sitting in the third base dugout Tuesday at Tropicana Field, the same one he was in when he made his managerial debut eight years ago, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde could look back on that day with a laugh.
Doing so June 19, 2011, might’ve been more difficult. Hyde, at the time bench coach of the then-Florida Marlins, learned two hours before a matchup with the Tampa Bay Rays that he would instead serve as the Marlins manager after Edwin Rodríguez unexpectedly stepped down amid a nine-game losing streak and 1-17 June.
“It was Father's Day on top of it,” Hyde recalled, “so there was a lot of stuff going on."
With the Orioles beginning a three-game series with the Rays on Tuesday, Hyde is making his second return to Tropicana Field since that strange visit. The other came in 2017 as the bench coach for the Chicago Cubs under manager Joe Maddon, the former Rays manager who was in the home dugout for that 2011 game.
Tampa Bay was the victor in a 2-1 game that Hyde quickly remembered the starters of, with James Shields on the mound for the Rays and Chris Volstad going for the Marlins. It’s not all he remembers from the game. Much of that day hangs with him, though he admits the only keepsakes he has from it are photos.
“It's the first thing I thought about” coming into Tropicana Field on Tuesday, Hyde said. “Even just at the hotel last night, whenever we're here, I definitely think about that day."
The field he visited Tuesday was slightly revamped with improved lighting and turf. The visiting manager’s office featured two photos of Hyde, one framed like any other manager and another of him arguing with an umpire Monday in Boston that led to his first managerial ejection.
That’s two more than the two-hour turnaround allowed eight years ago.
Hyde said it was Florida general manager Mike Hill who told him he was managing, but the day game had an eerie start as first pitch approached. As bench coach, Hyde had plenty to do in preparation for the game, but with the game getting closer and Rodríguez absent, confusion became rampant.
“Edwin decided that he didn't want to do it anymore without telling anybody,” Hyde said. “I was doing all my stuff and getting ready for the game, and I go in and he's not in the manager's office, so we were wondering what it was, and next thing you know, we found out that he wasn't here and had taken off. So had a little coaching staff meeting, and here we go.
“It was just so last-minute rushed. It was just a strange morning, to say the least. It was a day game, but it stunk because I really liked the manager that I was the bench coach for, and now all these things are in limbo, 'What's going on?' ”
The defeat was the only tab on Hyde’s managerial career before taking the helm of the Orioles this season. Jack McKeon, who led the Marlins to the 2003 World Series title, was officially announced as the team’s interim manager before the next game as Hyde returned to being bench coach.
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Since, Hyde worked alongside Maddon, as well as Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson and Chicago White Sox manager Rick Renteria, while with the Cubs. Those experiences have played a large role in giving Hyde the ability to instill the aggressiveness and resilience the Orioles have shown early on, proving the value of getting more than two hours to form a managerial identity.
Wednesday, 7:10 p.m.
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O’s starter: David Hess (1-2, 3.32)
Rays starter: Yonny Chirinos (2-0, 4.40)