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Dascenzo manages to keep his focus on the players.

Byline: Steve Mims The Register-Guard

BASEBALL

Doug Dascenzo will begin the next stage of his life in baseball this season when he becomes a manager for the first time with the Eugene Emeralds.

Where the new job leads him down the road is not of immediate concern to Dascenzo. He's more focused on where he can lead his players in the future.

"You know what I want to do?" Dascenzo said when asked of his long-term aspirations. "Give these kids this year the best possible chance and put themselves in the best position to be successful and know the system and to be sure they have fun. Our stuff as coaches and instructors and managers will happen when it happens, so I'm not worried about that."

Bill Bryk, the San Diego Padres' minor-league field coordinator who worked closely with Dascenzo for the past six seasons, said Dascenzo could fit in almost anywhere in the organization.

"He's big-league," Bryk said. "He could be a big-league coach. Maybe this turns into something where he manages for a long time. In my opinion, he can do a lot of things in the game. He's a good evaluator. We're lucky to have him."

Dascenzo retired as a player in 1998 and immediately went to work as a hitting instructor at San Diego's AA affiliate in Mobile, Ala., for one season. For the past seven seasons, he has worked as San Diego's minor-league outfield/baserunning instructor, a job that took him around the Padres' system teaching two of the aspects of the game most responsible for his seven-year major-league career.

The 5-foot-8 Dascenzo played for the Chicago Cubs from 1988-92 before finishing his career with one season apiece in Texas and San Diego.

"The game was a little different back then than it has been the past six or seven years," said Dascenzo, who makes his managerial debut Monday when the Ems open the season in Boise. "I was a guy who could run, pinch run, spot start here and there, play defense for a couple innings. I was not a premier guy to play every day. I actually had better games when I was playing a couple games each week."

Dascenzo was a regular in the Cubs' lineup in 1992, playing 139 games and batting .255.

In his other six seasons, Dascenzo never played more than 118 games, but he always found a role on the team and it usually revolved around speed and defense. He stole 49 bases during his career and did not commit an error in the outfield during his first three seasons as he began his career by playing 241 errorless games to set a National League record at the time.

"Not everyone is going to be a major-leaguer and be an every-day guy," said Dascenzo, who had a career batting average of .234 in 540 games. "The way the game was back then you had to have pinch runners and pinch hitters and defenders, but the last few years it has not been that way. Speed has obviously gone away a little bit. Obviously it is more of a power deal and you've got guys on the bench that come off and hit home runs instead of having one or two guys come out to play defense. But if you're good enough, you'll get there some kind of way, however they are playing the game."

Dascenzo, who turns 42 on June 30, has visited Eugene each year since 2001 as a roving instructor and said he liked working with San Diego's short-season A affiliate.

"I always enjoyed coming here and seeing the kids in their first year because they do bring excitement," he said. "They are anxious to get going and it is easy to get knowledge to them in their first year because they suck it up like a sponge."

Eugene president and general manager Bob Beban saw that same excitement from Dascenzo before the season started as he would call the Ems' office on a regular basis during the spring.

"He'd call to find out how things were going," Beban said. "He is just sociable. We had a social event the other night and he was great to be around, telling a lot of stories and having a lot of fun. It's a different mind-set from other years and it all comes from the top. Roy Howell, as good as he was, was different from Dascenzo. Dascenzo is more outgoing and more interactive with the players."

Bryk said Dascenzo has the qualities necessary to be a good manager.

"He is a very good communicator, motivator, and he has a passion for what he does," Bryk said. "He's first class."

Dascenzo - who resides in LaBelle, Pa., with his wife, Patricia, in the offseason - looks forward to his new role.

"I'm excited and my family is excited and it is going to be good," Dascenzo said. "I'm going to learn a lot about the game in another way, seeing a different side of it. I think it is about time for me to try and do this and broaden my horizon. I think guys get stuck sometimes doing one thing too much. It's going to be good for my development as a baseball guy. I'm excited and up for the challenge."
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jun 18, 2006
Words:882
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