LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Matt Walbeck came to the Winter Meetings in hopes of securing a job for next season. Instead, he is leaving Orlando unemployed and still confused about the path that has taken him from guiding the Double-A Altoona Curve to the Eastern League title to being dismissed by the Pirates in early September.
The 2010 Eastern League manager of the year is now managing nobody.
Walbeck said he has found little interest from teams since the Pirates dismissed him days after last season ended. He quickly compiled a resume but got no bites from teams, Walbeck said. He hoped face-to-face meetings with executives in Orlando would net results, either as a manager, coach or coordinator, but instead he "never had a meeting of any substance," Walbeck said.
"It is really quite humbling and making me appreciate what I've done (in my career)," Walbeck said. "This is the first time in my life that I have not been involved in baseball since I got out of high school."
That resume Walbeck compiled is seemingly impressive. He guided Altoona to an 82-60 regular season record before knocking off Harrisburg and Trenton en route to the Eastern League title. The Curve's performance netted Walbeck the Eastern League manager of the year award. Walbeck, 41, was also named Baseball America’s Minor League Manager of the Year in 2007 with Double-A Erie (Tigers).
Walbeck, who played parts of 11 seasons in the major leagues as a
"I come back this year humbled and with respect for the game, and most importantly looking to be part of an organization," Walbeck said. "And it didn't happen."
The reasons behind Walbeck's dismissal were never made clear. Walbeck previously disputed claims that he did not follow the Pirates' prescribed development programs. He opted not to revisit that topic in Orlando.
"I did the best that I could and certainly feel that I added value to the Pirates organization," Walbeck said. "I know that I left Pittsburgh in a better position now than when I got there. I know I did a good job.
"I appreciate the Pirates giving me the opportunity to manage in their system and I hope they do well from here on out. I will probably look back in a few years and realize this was a good thing for me."
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