Wal­lace hopes to stay in base­ball in his re­tire­ment

Coach says de­vel­op­ing pitch­ers is his pas­sion, but ‘it’s the right time’ to leave

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Jon Me­oli jme­oli@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/JonMe­oli

Dave Wal­lace, whose re­tire­ment as the Ori­oles pitch­ing coach was an­nounced Thurs­day by man­ager Buck Showal­ter, said Fri­day that he hopes to stay in the game and didn’t rule out the pos­si­bil­ity that could hap­pen with the Ori­oles.

“That de­pends on what is of­fered, I guess,” Wal­lace said on a con­fer­ence call Fri­day. “What I’d like to do — my pas­sion — has al­ways been de­vel­op­ing young pitch­ers, be that in uni­form, be that in part-uni­form, part-front of­fice, I don’t know. I’m not go­ing to say I’m sure there’s go­ing to be op­por­tu­ni­ties, but I feel pretty con­fi­dent that at some point, maybe there — I haven’t talked to any­one [in Bal­ti­more] about it just be­cause this is all so re­cent, but some­where in the in­dus­try. But I still love the kids. I still love de­vel­op­ing the young guys.”

Wal­lace, 69, who took over as the Ori­oles pitch­ing coach af­ter the 2013 sea­son, spent three years with the club, giv­ing him 36 years in pro­fes­sional base­ball. He over­saw a pair of play­off trips and a ro­ta­tion that ranked sixth in the Amer­i­can League with a 3.90 ERAover his three years.

He said leav­ing the team’s group of pitch­ers — from young, emerg­ing stars such as Dy­lan Bundy and Kevin Gaus­man to the pitch­ers who have come into their own un­der his watch such as Chris Till­man, Zach Britton, Dar­ren O’Day and Brad Brach — will be dif­fi­cult.

It’s some of those re­la­tion­ships, he said, that make a re­turn in some ca­pac­ity to the Ori­oles or­ga­ni­za­tion ap­peal­ing.

“Ob­vi­ously, I’ve got ties in Bal­ti­more,” he said. “You guys know Buck, be­ing the best game man­ager ever. I think our re­la­tion­ship was pretty good. I haven’t talked to [ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent] Dan [Du­quette] or him or any­body about that. We still have some time here. I guess at this point, we’ll just wait and hear be­cause, like I said, some of the most dif­fi­cult things are walk­ing away from re­la­tion­ships with the play­ers. That’s what you miss.”

How­ever, fam­ily mat­ters took him away from the team for around four or five days a month this sea­son, and Wal­lace said that con­trib­uted to his de­ci­sion to step away from be­ing a ma­jor league pitch­ing coach.

“There’s a lot of rea­sons why it’s the right time,” he said. “Things hap­pen in your life where you want to just kind of smell the roses a lit­tle bit. Fam­ily con­cerns. We’re get­ting up there in age a lit­tle bit, and just want­ing to not get to the point where some­body has got to force you out. So, I think greed gets a lot of peo­ple. I’ve been very, very for­tu­nate and thank­ful, and talk­ing things over with my wife, think­ing this was the right time to see the grand­kids, see our daugh­ter through high school, and yet still con­tinue to stay in the game in some ca­pac­ity.”

His re­turn to the Ori­oles was an­nounced later last off­sea­son than was the re­turn of other coaches, and Wal­lace in­di­cated the past few sea­sons have al­ways ended with thoughts about his fu­ture.

“I didn’t make the de­ci­sion [last off­sea­son], but it was cer­tainly a con­sid­er­a­tion,” Wal­lace said. “I mean, it’s hard to say. You al­ways think about it. The last cou­ple of years, you won­der, ‘ At what point?’ As you guys know, I had some health is­sues. That was years ago, but — knock on wood — thank God for all the bless­ings, I’ve stayed healthy. I feel good and still have en­ergy and know the job can be done, but some of the things that came up at home with fam­ily life, I think we al­ways look at where we are in our lives and want to know if we can find time to en­joy some of the finer things.

“That’s spend­ing time with fam­ily, see­ing grand­chil­dren, grand­chil­dren par­tic­i­pate in sports, take trips — just do things that you haven’t been able to do in years. I’m not 45 years old anymore. You won­der how much time you have left to do that stuff, and while you’re phys­i­cally ac­tive and able to do some of it as well.”

Showal­ter, at the team’s end-of-sea­son news con­fer­ence Thurs­day, said the search for a new pitch­ing coach would be­gin soon, with the first step be­ing a look at in­ter­nal can­di­dates. Although Showal­ter praised bullpen coach Dom Chiti as an ob­vi­ous can­di­date, it was un­clear whether the team is will­ing to move him from his cur­rent role.

Said Wal­lace: “I think with the abil­ity Dom has, he can do al­most any­thing he wants. He is such an as­tute base­ball/ pitch­ing guy, my good­ness gra­cious. I’m not ever go­ing to speak for him, be­cause he can pick and choose his own, but he’d be good at any­thing he does. I’m not sur­prised if he’s one of the stronger can­di­dates, but you’d have to talk to Buck and Dom. My good­ness gra­cious. And I know the re­spect he has within that club­house with the play­ers.”

NOTE: Barely two days af­ter their sea­son ended, the Ori­oles’ quest to add play­ers through any means avail­able dur­ing the off­sea­son has al­ready be­gun. The team an­nounced Fri­day that left­hander Jed Bradley, a 2011 first-round draft pick of the Mil­wau­kee Brew­ers, was claimed off waivers from the At­lanta Braves. To make room for Bradley, the Ori­oles des­ig­nated in­fielder Paul Jan­ish for as­sign­ment. Bradley, 26, made his ma­jor league de­but this sea­son for At­lanta af­ter the Braves pur­chased him from Mil­wau­kee in June. He al­lowed four runs over seven in­nings in seven ap­pear­ances for the Braves, though he had some suc­cess work­ing as a start­ing pitcher for At­lanta’s Dou­ble-A and Triple-A af­fil­i­ates once he switched or­ga­ni­za­tions.

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