Brian Poldberg had been the only manager for the Naturals since the move to Northwest Arkansas but not anymore.
The new Northwest Arkansas manager, Vance Wilson, takes over a Naturals team that went 59-81 last year. Many of these players played under Wilson at the Royals Advance A-affiliate, the Wilmington Blue Rocks, developing a close relationship.
“[At] Some point you’re going to have to get on the kid and if he knows you’re about them, they seem to take it and make the adjustment,” said manager Vince Wilson. “It’s just so important, they need to know I care about them. I’m here for them, my staff is here for them.”
“It’s a personal relationship as well as a professional relationship,” said pitcher Jason Adam. “On the field we keep it very professional, he’s strict, he expects perfection and we expect perfection from ourselves. Off the field he would do anything for us.”
Wilson played eight years in the majors and his experience will be a bonus in player development.
“He’s a guy that has a bunch of major league experience,” said infielder Whit Merrifield. “He knows what it’s like in our position, he knows how to handle his players.”
“Catchers and pitchers is the most thinking part of the game there is,” said Adam. “I like to get his point of view because he knows what it’s like to hit and he knows what to try and read a batter you’re opposing. He’s been great for me in that aspect.”
With opening day fast approaching, Wilson is anxious to get that first win.
“There’s always something special about your first win when you’re part of a team,” said Wilson. “See how guys react, how they celebrate, how they carry themselves, I think also says a lot about your team. I’m excited to see how this group, once they get their win, first one of the bell, how they react to it.”
First chance for that win will come on April 3rd as the Naturals travel to Frisco.