For the first time since they came to Buffalo in 1994, the Cleveland Indians have gone outside their organization to select the Bisons' manager.
Marty Brown knows that means the Tribe has taken a big chance on him. And he's ready to reward its faith.
"There's a lot of homework to be done between now and spring training," Brown said Friday as he was introduced as Herd skipper during a news conference in the team's Dunn Tire Park clubhouse. "One thing I've never been scared of is work. I love to get on the field and see a player get better.
"We have a plan. We want to make sure to get these guys prepared to go to Cleveland and help (new Indians manager) Eric Wedge. That's the bottom line."
Brown, 39, has managed the Nashville Sounds the last two seasons but asked the parent Pittsburgh Pirates for his release after a 72-71 campaign this year. He originally planned to accept a job with the Tampa Bay chain but sent resumes to several other clubs. John Farrell, Cleveland's director of player development, quickly showed interest in Brown.
It had been widely thought that Farrell would promote Brad Komminsk, who won 93 games last year at Double-A Akron, to replace Wedge as the head of the Herd. After all, the last four Buffalo managers (Wedge, Joel Skinner, Jeff Datz and Brian Graham) had come from Cleveland's Double-A affiliate.
But sources close to the Indians say Farrell was hugely impressed by Brown's interview and wanted someone who already had experience managing in Triple-A to fill the Buffalo post.
"I think John called every boy and his dog that knows me before he interviewed me," Brown quipped. "The interview process was very detailed. It was a comfortable setting, and I tried to be as up front and honest with John as I am with my players. He's going to find out how I am anyway. There's no way to hide it."
Farrell is scouting in the Dominican Republic and was unavailable for comment Friday.
"I spoke to John Farrell a couple weeks back when he was interviewing Marty, and John was very pleased," said Bisons General Manager Mike Buczkowski. "He thought he would be a great fit for the job in Buffalo."
Brown, who played 35 major-league games for Cincinnati and Baltimore from 1988 to '90 (he batted .180 in 61 at-bats), played with Nashville in 1988 and was selected for the inaugural Triple-A All-Star Game at then-Pilot Field.
"The Rich ownership here has always done things the right way and that was no exception," Brown said. "A lot of the time I spent here was getting my butt beat by the club here at the time. I remember having an eerie feeling in the seventh inning when you were up by four runs. That's the kind of thing I'd like to see our club have this year: a never-say-die attitude."
Pitching coach Carl Willis and hitting coach Carlos Garcia will return to Buffalo in 2003. Cleveland has promoted former Bison Torey Lovullo from manager at Class A Columbus (Ga.) to Class A Kinston (N.C.). . . . Catcher/designated hitter Chris Coste, the Bisons' MVP last season after batting .318, signed a minor-league deal Thursday with Boston. . . . The Indians have re-signed pitcher Jason Beverlin, who won a team-high 10 games for the Herd before being lost on waivers to Detroit . . . Utility man Bill Selby, the Bisons' modern-era RBI leader, is expected to be ready for spring training despite breaking his left hand in a Mexican League game earlier this month.