DENVER -- Outfielder Eric Young Jr. has a unique perspective on what new manager Walt Weiss can do for the Rockies.When Young was growing up, his father was the starting second baseman for the Rockies, but still learning the trade. The veteran shortstop who worked alongside him was none other than Weiss. Young hung around the clubhouse -- he recalls Weiss smiling at him and calling him "Lil' E" -- and got to see Weiss' leadership first-hand. "The biggest thing I can remember is hearing my dad saying that Walt Weiss made a big impression upon him when he was what he would call a 'rough second baseman,'" Young said. "He would tell me, 'I have Walt Weiss to my right and Andres Galarraga to my left, and I knew if I made a misstep, they would pick me up.' Everyone on the team picked one another up. Guys like Weiss made sure the team was going to be good as a whole." Young and the Rockies have welcomed the hiring of Weiss, who was chosen to replace Jim Tracy, who resigned on Oct. 7 on the heels of the worst finish in franchise history (64-98). Young began as a Minor Leaguer in 2004, when Weiss was working as a special front-office assistant.
First baseman Todd Helton, who began his Major League career in 1997 -- which happened to be the last of Weiss' four seasons with the club -- texted that Weiss is a "good man."Weiss may be a first-time manager who spent last year coaching high school ball in the Denver area, but center fielder Dexter Fowler believes Weiss built his credibility in ways that matter -- his 14-season career and the familiarity he built with many Rockies who came up through the system a few years back. "We work hard, that's not a question," Fowler said. "The fact is that you have a guy you respect and is respected around the league. The guy did it for a number of years. That's all you can ask for, a guy that works hard for you, and that gets you to work hard as well. "I remember coming up and working with him on the Minor League side of things, and he definitely helped out with his knowledge of baseball. We've got a younger guy that's played the game a lot and knows a whole bunch about it." Like Young, Fowler recalls Weiss when he was young and impressionable. Weiss spent the final two years of his career (1998 to 2000) with the Braves. At the time, Fowler was a youth baseball standout in the Atlanta area. "They had him and Mark Lemke when they were at Fulton County Stadium, and I remember how they worked," Fowler said. "He worked hard and hustled all the time, which was awesome. At that age, you see guys that don't hustle. You take note of that, then you see the guys that really did. It stuck out." The respect for Weiss doesn't stop in Colorado. Oakland general manager Billy Beane played with Weiss when both were prospects in the Athletics organization. Weiss was the starting shortstop on Oakland's 1989 World Series-winning team. "Everybody respects him," Beane said. "He's not long with the word. When he said something, it meant something. He's well liked. It didn't surprise me when I saw [he was hired]. "I enjoyed talking baseball with him. He was a young player on a great team. He had a lot of respect from guys that eventually were going into the Hall of Fame. He could say a lot without saying a lot. He's incredibly well liked and respected." In other staffing news, The Denver Post quoted GM Dan O'Dowd as saying he was interested in Jason Giambi as hitting coach. Giambi, a veteran first baseman who played for the Rockies from late 2009 through 2012, impressed the club in an interview for the managerial job. "We consider him a Rockie. We hope this is the spot he will consider," O'Dowd told the paper in an interview during the General Managers Meetings in Indian Wells, Calif. "He was very impressive in his interview for the manager's job."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. Ken Gurnick contributed. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.