Big step just part of the business for Pevey

April 16, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

BALTIMORE - The way Marty Pevey sees it, his life didn't change ... everything around him just got bigger.

You almost get the feeling Pevey feels like he stepped through the looking glass, hand in hand with Alice. He's now in a land of bigger budgets, bigger clubhouses, bigger stadiums and bigger responsibilities.

That's because the former Hagerstown Suns manager did baseball's version of a quantum leap. In one swing of the fungo bat, Pevey jumped from Class A Hagerstown to the big time with a promotion to bullpen coach for the Toronto Blue Jays.

"It's still baseball. It's still the same business," Pevey said on April 9 before Toronto took on the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. "It's just now, everything is more magnified."


Bigger maybe, but there's no awe in Pevey's voice when he talks about going from the bushes to the big time in the span of a simple phone call.

He's still the picture of confidence that stood in the third-base box and filled out the lineup cards at Municipal Stadium last year. Pevey's fire and confidence helped mold the Suns into playoff shape with a 81-60 record.

And that may have been his ticket to better and bigger things.

"Yeah, I think last year helped me get here," Pevey said. "I think any time you are successful, it builds confidence in yourself and in the organization in you. Maybe the way we played last year sold them on me."

Pevey did something right. His promotion hit like a bolt of lightning. One minute he was coaching an instructional league game, the next, he was on his way to Toronto.

"I was in the third-base box and they took me off the field," Pevey said. "(Minor league coordinator) Jim Hoff came out to the field, all excited, and told me I had a call from Toronto. You don't expect to go from Hagerstown to the bigs. I feel awfully blessed."

The move stunned Pevey because he expected to be working his way up the managing ladder.

"I just figured I would be managing in the organization somewhere," he said. "I didn't have any expectations of where I'd be, I'd just be managing. I thought I could have even been back in Hagerstown."

Now, as Toronto's bullpen coach, he spends time as a traffic cop, instead of directing traffic around third base.

"I'm in charge of working with the catchers," said Pevey, who was a catcher during his playing days. "And I'm the bullpen coach. I make sure the pitchers are prepared in the bullpen for the situations they could come into."

In between his responsibilities, Pevey still admits he still enjoys playing manager.

"The minors isn't a bad place if you are managing," Pevey said. "You work hard in the minors ... everyone does. But now I sit out there and try to think like Jim (Toronto manager Jim Fregosi). I'm learning a lot because guys like Jim, Mel Queen and (bench coach) Jim Lett know a lot of baseball."

To Pevey, this call to the majors paled a little in comparison to when he got the call from Montreal as a player, but it's definitely a close second.

"I was excited because getting to the majors is everybody's dream," Pevey said. "But let's put this time in context. I'm not playing anymore and coaching is the only way I'd make it to the big leagues again. When I did play, that call was one I'll never forget."

So, for now, Pevey will enjoy his new big surroundings and soak in every experience to be ready for wherever the crazy world of baseball may take him.

"I'm happy with the position that I'm in now," Pevey said. "If anything else happens, great. I'm here and I'm learning. I like this organization and I'm thankful to be here right now."

And as big as things may get, that will always stay the same for Marty Pevey.

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