Hale, mentor Melvin reunite in faceoff as managers

Hale, mentor Melvin reunite in faceoff as managers

PHOENIX -- From 2012-14, Chip Hale was Bob Melvin's closest confidant, serving as his bench coach in Oakland and as his third-base coach in Arizona from 2007-09.

Friday night at Chase Field the pair squared off for the first time as opposing managers as Melvin brought his A's to town for a three-game series with the D-backs, who took the opener, 6-4.

"I'm not going to lie to you," Hale said. "It's fun to play against coaches and obviously Bob and all the players that are still there that were there when I was there. It's a special time. It's a team I grew up watching and rooting for, sitting in the stands a lot, so of course it's a cool time to play them."

Hale had interviewed for managerial jobs before being hired last October in Arizona by general manager Dave Stewart and chief baseball officer Tony La Russa.

Each time he came up short for jobs, Melvin would keep encouraging Hale.

"He's been the same guy," Melvin said. "He's always watched the game the right way. He's always prepared the right way. He has a great baseball mind. It was just a matter of getting the right opportunity at the right time, and this was it."

In his long career in baseball, Hale has come across many people who have influenced him, but no one more so than Melvin.

"Bob was the perfect guy to see how he handled the good times and the bad times," Hale said. "Just how to handle managing up, managing down. He helped me understand that losses are losses, we all hate them, but you have to get over them and move on and realize that guys are going to make mistakes sometimes. Sometimes I'd be a little hard on myself as a coach that we weren't in the right spot sometimes. You just can't control everything."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.