It’s been almost a year since the Colorado Rockies dismissed Lenn Sakata as manager of the Modesto Nuts during a Saturday night road trip stop in Bakersfield.
The firing was so sudden and so unexpected that Sakata never really had the opportunity to say goodbye to much of the Modesto front office staff, with whom he had a great relationship, or to the fans, which whom he had a special relationship.
It didn’t take long for Sakata, who had unprecedented success as San Jose’s manager in the first decade of this century, to return to baseball. He was back in San Jose at the beginning of this season and this week has brought his team to John Thurman Field.
I had the chance to catch up with Sakata prior to Thursday’s sold-out Independence Day game against the Nuts and we talked about several things: the differences in managing between organizations, the changes in the manager’s position since Sakata first became a minor league manager in 1988 (in Modesto,) whether he has any empathy for the struggles of his former Nuts’ players who remain in Modesto this season and what he would say as a goodbye to Modesto had he been given the opportunity last season.
The entire interview (about four minutes) was captured on video, and you can watch it HERE.
If Sakata looks warm, well this was shot outside the San Jose clubhouse about five minutes after batting practice with a stadium temperature of about 98 degrees.