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Baseball’s Hot Stove League heats up

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | COURTESY PHOTO New Bucks Head Coach Jamie Quinn brings an impressive resume and a vision of aggressive baseball.
New Bucks Head Coach Jamie Quinn brings an impressive resume and a vision of aggressive baseball.

Present a way of doing things and fit the personnel into it, or evaluate the talent at hand and build a new template?

That’s the challenge for a manager in any business, one that becomes most apparent for an individual managing a team sport.

Jamie Quinn was diplomatic when the question was put to him about his approach to managing the Shelter Island Bucks in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League for the 2015 season.

“It’s going to be little of both,” Mr. Quinn said. “You can’t be a team manufacturing runs when you get a bunch of big boppers.”

But he added he’s partial to a “small ball” approach if he has the right mix of athletes. He likes teams to be aggressive on offense, not just with stolen bases but taking the extra base and always putting pressure on the opponent’s defense. That run-and-gun strategy has paid off in his coaching career; when he was an assistant coach in 2012 with Hofstra’s baseball program, the team led the nation in stolen bases.

Last year the Bucks had a stirring run at the end of the season, making the finals of the HCBL after multiple comebacks, only to lose to a powerhouse Southampton squad in the championship series.

For a young man — he’ll be 29 when the Bucks open at Fiske Field this summer — Mr. Quinn already has an extensive resume, coming to Shelter Island with professional coaching experience for the Arizona Diamondbacks working in the player development department. He’s also been a pitching and catching coach for the United States Merchant Marine Academy and was bullpen coach for the Long Island Ducks from 2009 through 2012.

His dream is to stay a baseball “lifer,” with an immediate goal of coaching a Division I university program.

A Long Island native, growing up in Bethpage and now living in Carle Place, Mr. Quinn was a catcher in his playing days, a position that’s an ideal launching spot for coaching and managing the game.

“I’ve heard that something like 50 percent of major league mangers were catchers,” he said, explaining that not only does a catcher call every pitch, but sets defenses and has the whole field in front of him.

The new skipper won’t have a lot of rules for the 2015 Bucks roster. “Be on time, which is the most important rule,”’ will be sacrosanct, he said,

There will also be advice to his young charges on understanding the goals they’ve set. His college-age players will be reminded, he said, that “there’s the life of the Hamptons and the temptations that are there.”

Mr. Quinn knows expectations are high, but he’s ready for the challenges ahead.

As a pitching coach on winning teams — his Merchant Marine Academy staff had the lowest ERA in a decade in 2013 under Mr. Quinn’s tutelage— he will focus on the Bucks pitchers.

Young pitchers, especially, have to be reminded that they’re not alone when they take the mound. “I tell them you don’t have to strike out everyone,” he said, emphasizing when an opponent steps into the batter’s box it’s nine payers against one, and not one-on-one.

The Bucks will be ready to go right out of the gate, Mr. Quinn said. “You only have a two month season,” he added. “We’ll hit the ground running in the first week.”