BALTIMORE -- It's his team from Day 1, and Dave Trembley knows it. The Orioles' manager is coming off one of the most eventful seasons in his life and hoping 2008 will be a little less hectic. Trembley started last season as bullpen coach and was promoted twice -- once to bench coach and once to manager -- in a span of six months.
Now, he's hoping to use Opening Day to set the tone and put his own stamp on the organization.
"I think this is more about the direction the team's going in now than it is about Dave Trembley," he said hours before his team kicked off against Tampa Bay. "I had an opportunity when the season was over last year to reflect on everything that happened to me. I had a whole lot better opportunity to prepare for what was going to occur once we came to Spring Training."
Trembley took the reins in Spring Training and stressed fundamentals and professionalism, preaching the little things that he thinks can win big ballgames. Trembley knows he has a younger team and knows that his mission statement involves education, but that doesn't mean he plans on ceding victories as part of the developmental process.
Trembley, who managed Minor League teams for 20 seasons, has walked that particular tightrope before.
"Last year, I was just real fortunate to be here as a coach after all the years I spent in the Minor Leagues," said Trembley, who went 40-53 with the Orioles last year. "I understand the significance of it. I understand the responsibility that goes along with it, but I really haven't spent a great deal of time dwelling on anything other than getting the team ready to play."
Baltimore shed several of last year's regulars, including shortstop Miguel Tejada, staff ace Erik Bedard and center fielder Corey Patterson. That means Trembley has to lean on youngsters a little more than he'd like, and he made a point to say Monday that he's not putting too much stock into any outsider's opinion of his team.
"I don't read it," Trembley said. "I don't listen to it. With all due respect, we haven't played any games yet. It's like I told the players on the first day of camp -- never underestimate what you can do with hard work, dedication, a great attitude and playing like a team. Let's see where we are at the end of the season. Let's not put the cart before the horse."
The Orioles have had 10 straight losing seasons and won just 69 games last year, but Trembley's looking forward. The manager has said multiple times that he doesn't plan on talking about 2007 anymore. Now, he's primed to find ways to help his young players improve, budgeting their playing time and trying to keep everyone involved.
"My responsibility and obligation to them is to try to make them a part of the club and to communicate that to them," he said. "I have to find opportunities for them to play on a regular basis, and I'm confident well be able to do that. What I've tried to do is talk to all these guys before we got here, try to tell them what the expectations are and what their roles are going to be."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.