New face leads the Power
Two weeks ago, I brought everyone up to speed on the new manager for the Cincinnati Reds, David Bell. For this column, we are a lot closer to home as I recently caught up with David Berg, the new manager of the 2019 edition of the West Virginia Power.
Not only is there a new face in the Power dugout, the club is also starting its first season as the Class A minor league baseball affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.
Charleston is a bit familiar to Berg, who managed against the Power in the South Atlantic League (SAL) while manager of the Greensboro Grasshoppers in 2012 and 2014.
“It’s a nice ballpark, I had no issues with the city (Charleston) and I truly just enjoyed myself for the two previous years I was in the SAL,” he said.
Under Berg, the Grasshoppers made the SAL championship series in 2012 and reached the semifinals in 2014. For the past two seasons, Berg was the hitting coach for the Mariners’ Class AAA affiliate in Tacoma, Washington. Moving to Single A baseball means working with younger players and Berg likes that.
“Yeah, it’s enjoyable. It really is. This is the first full season of 140 games for most of these guys and that is where I think I’m best at, I guess you could say, teaching these guys how to be ready for all 140 games and not to be afraid to come into the manager and say, ‘Hey, I’m a little sore, what do I need to do about that to get better and be back on the field?’ I think I have a pretty good feel for reading guys and giving guys a day off.”
Berg is a former major league player, suiting up for the Florida Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays.
Berg last played in the major leagues on Sept. 29, 2004, for the Toronto Blue Jays. I asked Berg how much he draws from his own playing experience in managing a ball club.
“I draw a lot off of that. When I was coming up as a player, I thought I was a good college player and I always had a little bit of an edge where I didn’t think I was getting enough credit for what I could do. I spent a level at each year of the minor leagues and then in 1998 the Marlins had lots of openings and that created an opportunity for me. So, it’s not necessarily
all about what you can do, there has to be an opportunity there. It’s hard to make it to the big leagues, but it’s harder to stay there, because once you get there, it’s all about adjusting.”
Florida picked Berg in the 38th round of the 1993 draft.
Spring training is now up and running for all major league clubs. That means this will be the first time Berg has gotten to meet many of his prospective players.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “I don’t know a lot of the younger players, but it won’t take long to get back into the swing of things.” In his major league career, Berg batted .269 with 21 home runs and 163 runs batted in.
I have always found the Power to be very active in the community and that’s another thing Berg is looking forward to.
“That’s a big part of what the Mariners are about. We’re about the school visits, the hospital visits, etc. It’s just important to be a big part of the community you play in.”
The Power’s season opener is set for April 4 in Greenville. The team’s first home stand begins April 11 against Augusta.
Christian Deiss, 14, of Winfield, is a freshman at Hurricane High School.