BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo Bisons introduce Ken Huckaby as the 21st manager in the Herd’s modern era of the franchise on Friday afternoon. News 4 Digital Sports Reporter Mary Margaret Johnson sat down with Huckaby to learn more about the new guy in charge.
It’s probably been a whirlwind getting to this point, just how excited are you to finally be here in Buffalo?
“I’m extremely excited to be here in Buffalo. It’s been a great experience so far, being able to bring my wife up here and show here around, shes never been up here before so it’s been great so far,” Ken Huckaby said.
You’ve been in the Blue Jays organization for the last seven years, twice as manager, and over the last three years you’ve been Toronto’s minor league catching coordinator. How does your experience as catching coordinator help as you come back to the dugout as manager here?
“I think my experience as a catching guy and the catching coordinator, being able to observe what Buffalo has done the last few years, it brings a sense of togetherness,” Huckaby said. “We preach individual performance, we preach purposeful practice, now we’re going to bring a compete to win factor to our teams this year. I think the players in Buffalo will benefit from it a lot.”
In your introductory press conference today, you mentioned that you really did miss being on the field. What made this job so appealing to you?
“Just the level, for one. The players that are here I actually have known their entire careers since they’ve been signed,” Huckaby said. “So I’m familiar with the players as individuals, but I don’t know them on a personal level yet. So to know the group that could potentially be here is very very intriguing to me.”
What’s the general mindset of minor league baseball? You guys do make these relationships and you hope to help them make it to the big leagues, how do you make those relationships when they are here?
“That’s the simple part, just making sure that they know that we care, and that we have their best interests at heart. As a staff, that’s our main focus is not on ourselves but on these kids to get them to the major leagues. And until we can get them to buy into what we’re selling, they’re not going to buy it. So we’re really going to work hard on getting them to trust us, trust the process, and trust that we’re trying to get them to the big leagues.”
Spring training is right around the corner then in 91 days we’ll be here at Sahlen Field for the home opener, what work needs to go into getting you guys ready in these next couple months?
“The work with the staff in the next couple of weeks will be setting the parameters about what we want to do here, then in spring training we really can start putting the framework together on the potential players that we will have so that when we get here, we can start firing on all cylinders when the season starts,” Huckaby said.
It seems like a lot of work, but you still probably will have a little bit of time to play here before the season gets started. What are you most looking forward to being here in Buffalo?
“Obviously the restaurants, the weather lets us get out, it’s a little chilly but we’re able to walk around, then some of the nicer restaurants that are around here. Like I said at the beginning of this, my wife is here with me now, whenever I was coming here before I was usually alone, so it’s nice to have her with me.”
The Bisons open up the 2020 season on Thursday, April 9th on the road against the RailRiders at Scranton/Wilkes Barre. The home opener at Sahlen Field will be on Friday, April 17th when the Bisons host Rochester.