Although the Orioles are a week away from a visit to Chicago, the sight of the White Sox gives manager Brandon Hyde a sense of home.
A White Sox farmhand from 1997 to 2000, Hyde retains familiarity with the organization. He played for three of its major league coaches, Nick Capra, Daryl Boston and Curt Hasler, in the minors. He spent a season under current White Sox manager Rick Renteria as bench coach with the Cubs in 2014.
“This is a homecoming for me in a lot of ways,” Hyde said before the teams began a three-game series Monday night at Camden Yards. “There’s a lot of guys over there that have been really important to me and that I played for.
“It’s always cool to play the White Sox ’cause there’s a lot of familiar faces over there for me and guys that I look up to and am close friends with.”
Renteria has a great deal of familiarity with what Hyde is trying to accomplish in Baltimore. Much of his time in the South Side has been spent heading a rebuilding project, while his one year as the Cubs manager preceded a playoff run in 2015 and World Series title in 2016.
Hyde, in his first year as the Orioles manager, is balancing a constant push for player development while trying to remain competitive.
“You’re always trying to give guys opportunities to learn certain things through particular experiences,” Renteria said. “Sometimes, I think you’re trying to balance out everything while trying to win ballgames at the major league level, which can be trying at times. In the end, I always say if you’re developing, you’re winning because at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, when they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing, you give yourself a really good chance in the long run of winning, so I think you find a way to make sure that you keep encouraging, teaching, motivating, and by the same token, keeping a perspective on what’s going on it the process.”
Renteria, Capra and Boston see Hyde as capable of those tasks. Capra, the White Sox’s third base coach, was Hyde’s manager for much of his time in Chicago’s system, with Boston as his hitting coach. Hyde was primarily a backup catcher for Capra’s teams, but he always came to the ballpark prepared.
“He’s always been very passionate about the game of baseball,” Capra said. “He was always one of the guys that would listen and learn, applied what he had learned. He might not have been the most talented guy, but when he was in there, he did a great job with the young pitchers. He knew what he was doing.”
As an undrafted free agent out of Long Beach State, Hyde was one of the oldest players Boston, Chicago’s first base coach, remembers working with. That maturity proved beneficial.
“He was always helping,” Boston said. “He always knew all the plays. Brandon was a great kid. A hard worker. Him getting a big league job is not a surprise.”
Hyde began his coaching career in the then-Florida Marlins system, working as a minor league manager, infield coordinator and major league bench coach. He served as the Marlins’ interim manager for one game in 2011 and joined the Cubs the next year as minor league infield coordinator.
Before joining Renteria’s staff, he was Chicago’s director of player development, a position Renteria pointed to as valuable to Hyde’s current role. He was Joe Maddon’s first base coach from 2015 to 2016 and bench coach from 2017 to 2018 with the Cubs before coming to Baltimore.
His mentors believe those experiences add up to create a manager ready for whatever the Orioles’ rebuild brings.
“He’s patient,” Boston said. “He’s a teacher. He knows this is a rebuilding process. He calls it a player development situation. He’s prepared for that.”