Rodriguez delivers motivational speech

For eight years, Edwin Rodriguez replayed his introductory speech in his head. He even rehearsed it with his wife. “After the first time, she didn’t pay attention,” the Marlins manager quipped.

On Tuesday, it was no laughing matter. At age 50, Rodriguez finally gave the speech he had long dreamed about.

It was his first talk to start off Spring Training as a Major League manager.

The high point in addressing a full room of more than 60 players, was when he revealed his gut feeling.

“I have a feeling we’re going to be the last team standing in October,” Rodriguez told his club. “I really believe that. That was not the end, but that was pretty much in the middle.”

Rodriguez worked in the Marlins’ Minor League system for eight years before replacing Fredi Gonzalez last June. The first Puerto Rican-born manager in MLB history, Rodriguez is in his first year big league camp as a big league manager.

During his 15-minute speech with the club, Rodriguez informed the club of his expectations.

“It was a very good situation and a very good experience,” Rodriguez said of his team meeting before Tuesday’s workout. “We told them what we expected of them, not only for Spring Training, but for the season. It was nothing fancy. I didn’t deliver nothing fancy.”

Make the routine plays, and “master the obvious” are a couple of themes he has preached to the team.

“We’re going to learn to play the close games, and we are going to have to be accountable for our actions,” Rodriguez said.

— Joe Frisaro


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