SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- It's a normal morning practice for the San Francisco Giants at their training facility in Scottsdale, Arizona. Jose Alguacil goes through the workout like he has for virtually his entire professional career, and in the same uniform too. But this year isn't exactly like all the others because Auggie as he is known around here, wasn't sure this was going to be possible.
Alguacil was a member of Bruce Bochy's coaching staff. But when Bochy retired, Auggie was temporarily out of a job.
He has meant so much to the Giants organization that they offered to keep him around and bring him back to manage the Flying Squirrels again.
"I've been here 22 years. This is home for me," Alguacil said. "When they offered me to go to Double A, that's where I started my career as a manager. I have good memories back there. "
Auggie managed the Squirrels in 2015, the last time they finished with a winning record.
Developing players for the big leagues is the primary job of a minor league manager, but so is teaching players how to win.
"We have to create that culture," Alguacil said. "We have to bring it back. When I went to Richmond, that's the first thing I said."
Anytime he talks about baseball, Alguacil will often use metaphors from his other sporting love, boxing. In fact, he had a short lived amateur career in which he stuck around long enough to appreciate what it takes to be successful as a fighter.
"Three fights," he said. "I got knocked down and I didn't want to do it anymore."
That fighting spirit served Alguacil well three years ago when he was struck in the face by a foul ball at a Spring Training game. He was actually thankful the ball hit him and not the coaches sitting next to him because he knew he could survive a potentially fatal situation, in part, thanks to his guardian angel.
"My dad was with me the entire time," he said. "He passed away five years ago. He's been my angel. I know he's with me everywhere. The relationship isn't seeing him everyday, but I know he's with me every day."
That entire episode helped mold Alguacil's perspective about the game. Yes, wins and losses are important, but so is how his players carry themselves in whichever town they call home. Be prepared to see plenty of him and his Squirrels all over the RVA once the season starts.
"We like to play with a lot of fans at the stadium," he said. "We have to do whatever it takes in our life because they're a big part of what we do. If we like their support, we have to give back to them."
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