No big deal, the manager says: “With these guys it’s easy to feel that way about them. That collective group in (the clubhouse), we’ve been through a whole lot together in a short period of time.”
Culberson was hit in the seventh inning. Snitker was ejected for vehemently arguing the delayed call that the pitch was a strike. The Braves scored nine runs in the last three innings of that game and beat the Nationals 10-1. To anyone who might ever question the relationship between the Braves manager and his team, first baseman Freddie Freeman suggests you look at that sequence.
“It’s pretty evident how we care about Brian Snitker and how he cares about us. Just go to that game and how we responded to that,” Freeman said.
The 63-year-old Snitker has a son, Troy, a hitting coach with the Houston Astros, who is as old or older than most of the players his father manages. Rather than being a drawback, the age difference has served the Braves well.
“I feel like he has 25 kids, I really do. He treats us all the same way, he views us all as his kids. He’s shown it the last two years,” Freeman said.
“He cares so much about us. I think you see it all the time throughout the year with how he has guys’ backs,” shortstop Dansby Swanson said. “He’s almost parental to us. He loves us and protects us and obviously wants the best for us and would do anything to make sure he has our backs.
“You can just go play knowing he has your best interests at heart,” Swanson said.
It's a delicate balance the manager strikes, between the practical need to win and the emotional attachments to his players. In a bottom-line business, make no mistake that Snitker is going to place the team first (and in first, as it so happens).
But the simple fact that he’s capable of showing how sincerely he cares about his guys’ well-being along the way should only make them bust it a little more for the guy perched along the dugout steps. This is not the kind of manager you’d want to disappoint.
Who wouldn’t want to work for a boss like that? How many are lucky enough to say that they do?