Tampa Bay Rays have a bluechip manager prospect in Butera

Blake Butera stored with the regimen all through the 2022 baseball season. Just as in 2021, he aroused from sleep, ate breakfast, were given in a exercise and arrived at Riley Park early, continuously to greet a new Tampa Bay Rays prospect or two.

Same consequence, regardless that.

Butera used to be the consistent of a repeatedly converting Charleston RiverDogs roster.

At 29, he led a workforce to Charleston’s first minor league baseball name in 99 years.

At 30, on Sept. 20 in Lynchburg, Va., he watched the 2022 RiverDogs – with a virtually utterly other solid – have fun a two-game sweep in the Carolina League Championship Series.

By 35, Butera must be managing in the massive leagues. If no longer for the Rays, for every other membership that acknowledges how an vigorous seize of latest high-tech analytics and old-school instructing mesh with superb conversation abilities.

He’s that excellent.

'Special' RiverDogs' Tampa Bay prospects win second straight title

“He’s helped me in ways I can’t explain. He’s an amazing person, and he’s an amazing coach,” stated RiverDogs shortstop Carson Williams, the Rays’ 2021 first-round draft select. “His knowledge of the game is impeccable. He’s really special.”

Butera’s level-headed manner is absolute best for a low-level Class A minor league workforce. Or a Major League contender.

“Same Blake every game,” pitcher JJ Goss stated, “win or lose.”

So much like 36-year-old Oliver Marmol, the previous College of Charleston participant. Marmol didn’t play Major League baseball both, however he’s off to a tremendous get started as St. Louis Cardinals manager.

“I can’t tell you I’ve ever seen him mad,” Williams stated of Butera. “It’s unbelievable. There’s frustration at times, sure, but I’ve never seen that man really get mad.”

Italy is aware of. That nation has added Butera, on mortgage from Tampa Bay, to its training body of workers for the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza is Italy’s manager.

“What an honor,” stated Butera, a former Boston College infielder from Metairie, La. “It should be fun.”

Mr. September, RiverDogs take Game 1 of Carolina League Championship Series

‘No Neck’ and Biancalana

Charleston minor league baseball has had such a lot of excellent, intriguing managers over time. From Billy Scripture and Jack Krol to Scott Fletcher and Torre Tyson.

Buddy Biancalana as a light-hitting Kansas City Royals participant used to be a David Letterman punch-line, and preached his logo of meditating to RiverDogs gamers.

Former Chicago White Sox outfielder Walt “No Neck” Williams at his introductory Charleston press convention in 1993: “I would have worn a neck tie but I have no neck.”

Charlie Montoyo went from managing the likes of Josh Hamilton and Carl Crawford in Charleston to managing the Toronto Blue Jays.

Greg Colbrunn helped the Arizona Diamondbacks win a World Series as a participant and the Boston Red Sox win one as a trainer, with a RiverDogs manager function in between.

There may by no means be a manager story to match with Dave Trembley, no longer anyplace. The Charleston Rainbows manager in 1991 and 1992 had by no means performed skilled baseball. But he wound up as Baltimore Orioles manager for all or portions of 4 seasons.

Trembley whilst managing teams of most commonly no longer very proficient San Diego Padres minor leaguers would have beloved running with the 2022 RiverDogs.

The skill contains 11 gamers ranked a few of the Rays’ best 30 potentialities through MLB.com: Williams (No. 3), pitcher Cole Wilcox (No. 9), 3rd baseman Willy Vasquez (No. 10), outfielder Brock Jones (No. 12), outfielder Mason Auer (No. 13), infielder Junior Caminero (No. 19), pitcher Sandy Gaston (No. 22), catcher Dominic Keegan (No. 24), Goss (No. 27), 2d baseman Ryan Spikes (No. 29) and pitcher Nick Bitsko (No. 30).

Plus Bobby Seymour. The 2019 ACC Player of the Year at Wake Forest went 4-for-4 with a stroll from the clean-up spot in Game 2 in opposition to Lynchburg.

Charleston gamers those remaining two seasons additionally benefited a great deal from the tutelage of veteran pitching trainer R.C. Lichtenstein.

Butera doesn’t have to say sorry.

Because the RiverDogs successful a Charleston-record 88 video games in the common season is extra spectacular than successful a pair of best-of-three playoff sequence to get championship rings.

More to winning RiverDogs than zaniness, food and Bill Murray

‘Blake’s the most efficient’

The day-in, day-out consistency is the place Butera excels.

Though he deflects reward and offers credit score to “the Rays’ organization,” kudos from younger gamers and outdated fanatics displays the occupation pattern.

“Blake’s the best,” Seymour stated. “He really understands players. He makes things extremely simple. He doesn’t get on you too much but you’re going to know when you do something wrong and he approaches it the right way. Everyone has so much respect for him.”







RiverDogs T-shirt

The Charleston RiverDogs’ Carolina League championship T-shirt contains the names of all 60 gamers who have been at the roster all through the 2022 season. Staff/Gene Sapakoff



Al Phillips, a longtime baseball fan with a minority pastime in the RiverDogs, lives inside strolling distance of Riley Park. He attends maximum house video games.

“How can teams be this good without a good manager? And almost totally different teams,” Phillips stated of Charleston’s back-to-back championship winners. “And the players are always so excited and always high-fiving. They really play together.”

The RiverDogs’ legitimate 2022 Carolina League championship T-shirt is lovely cool. The names of all 60 gamers who hung out in Charleston this season are at the again.

It’s a machine-washable or frameable tribute to Butera’s skill to juggle, modify, keep in touch, educate and stay on successful.

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff

Blake Butera document

Age: 30

Hometown: Metairie, La.

College: Starting infielder at Boston College

As a minor league participant: Two seasons in the Tampa Bay Rays group

As a minor league manager: Led the 2021 Charleston RiverDogs to Charleston’s first minor league championship since 1922; led the 2022 RiverDogs to a two-game sweep of Lynchburg in the Carolina League Championship Series

2023 World Baseball Classic: Will sign up for manager Mike Piazza’s training body of workers on mortgage from the Rays

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