Originally from Orange County, CA, Bobby Crosby was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the first round (25th pick) of the 2001 MLB Draft. Crosby went on to play 747 Major League games recording 62 homers and 276 RBIs, and was the 2004 American League Rookie of the Year. On November 5th, 2019, Crosby was named Stockton Ports Manager for the 2020 season. I was able speak with Crosby to discuss the upcoming season and his thoughts on his first professional manager job with the Ports
Not done with the game just yet, the transition from player to coach came naturally to Crosby when his playing days were over. Crosby opened up the Bobby Crosby Baseball Academy in Orange County, a one-of-a-kind facility that allowed players of all ages to work with a former Major Leaguer while enjoying the game of baseball. The BCBA opened in 2014 and only just recently closed when he began coaching at the professional level.
Last year was Crosby's first year coaching professionally with the Midland Rockhounds, the A's Double A affiliate, and he loved every minute of it. During his time with the Rockhounds, Crosby was heavily involved with fielding, hitting and began to dive into the analytical side of baseball learning where to put players in the best positions that will not only help that player succeed but the overall team.
When asked how to describe his manager style, Crosby answered "I get along with the players really well. I would say I am a player's manager and I wouldn't say that's a bad thing." Crosby takes pride in his ability to connect with players and being able to help them become better baseball players. Having been in their shoes not too long ago, he understands and relates to all the emotions they go through and knows what it takes to get to the major leagues. Crosby did acknowledge the importance of being an analytical manager as well, "To be a good manager, you can't just be all of one thing."
Crosby believes the biggest difference from when he was a player verses now is how analytical the game has gotten, saying "There's a stat for everything!" We also discussed how technology has changed the game too. "Players can now watch film and see their swings. I didn't see a video of my swing until I played Triple A ball!" Players now have all this information instantly at their fingertips and they need to capitalize on using it to become better, which is where Crosby hopes to step in.
After asking Crosby who the most influential coaches he worked with as a player he spoke about Keith Lippman, currently A's executive vice president of player development, saying "I really liked how he treated me as player." Crosby also named Rene Lachemann and Ron Washington, even saying he tries to mimic Washington's coaching style today.
Since Crosby's is a first time manager, I asked what he is most excited about in his new role and he simply stated, "Getting to make players better." Player development is very important to Crosby and he wants players to leave better then when they first arrived.
As we began wrapping up our conversation I asked if Crosby had a message for all the Ports fans out there and he responded with, "Expect to see good baseball this season. We have a great staff. And expect to see a lot of passion this year." Crosby wants the fans to know he is very excited to be in Stockton and for this opportunity. I think it is safe to say the City of Stockton is just as excited to have Crosby here too.
Opening Day for the Stockton Ports 2020 season is April 17, 2020. Season ticket memberships are now available for purchase by visiting stocktonports.com or by calling the Front Office at (209) 644-1900. Purchasing season tickets gives fans the first right to All-Star tickets before being available to the general public. This is the first time Banner Island Ballpark will host the California League All-Star Game since 2007. Festivities for the day include FanFest, a homerun derby, the California League All-Star Game and a postgame fireworks extravaganza. More details about the All-Star Game coming soon. Stay up to date with all the latest Stockton Ports news by visiting stocktonports.com and following the Ports social media pages.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.