Meanwhile, Geren spends most of his time on the mental aspect of his job, making darn sure he's as prepared as he possibly can be when pitchers and catchers report to spring camp in Phoenix on Feb. 16."One thing that stood out during the breakfast I had with Tony, which was a great experience, was he talked about constantly working ahead of the game so the game doesn't get too quick," Geren said. "He talked about 'what if' and how to use it in your normal thinking process. I understood what he meant." The best managers have the ability to plan ahead -- one, two or three innings ahead. "I would do that in the Minor Leagues," Geren said, "but the game is so much faster at this level and you have to stay ahead." The extended conversation he had on the plane with Kuehl also had an "always-remember-this" moment. "He ran the A's system for many years and I consider him a legend," Geren said. "One thing he said that really stands out is that I would dive into this job so deep that it was important to make sure to have time for other things to stay balanced. "He said it would be best for me and my family to do things that would take my mind off baseball. That is great advice and I have a million hobbies. I love to snow ski, water ski, play golf, surf and even go bowling. I can always find something to do." The will be times when the pressure to win becomes overwhelming -- OK, most of the time -- and Geren said it's important to create an environment "where the players like to come to the field every day." And when they get there, there is only one rule they must follow: Be professional. "In the four years I have been here, there are not a lot of rules as far as how high to wear your pants or how short their hair must be," he said. "This is a group of players that play hard, play the game right and conduct themselves as professionals. We've had little problem with that." And what can the players expect from their new manager? "I am pretty aggressive," he said. "I like to push every day. Whether that relates into stolen bases depends on the personnel. But that has always been my thing as a manager." While he can no longer have the same buddy-buddy relationship that a coach can have with the players, there was another piece of advice Kuehl gave that will come in handy. "He told me, 'What you don't want is for players to say that as a coach, he was great, but as a manager he doesn't talk to us the same,' " Geren said. He said to make sure you have the time, or make the time, to talk to the players."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less