Now a Triple-A manager, Barney plays the waiting game
Only three years removed from playing, Darwin Barney, the ex-Oregon State and Southridge High star, has landed in a pretty prime spot for his next job in baseball.
He's the manager of the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, the Nashville Sounds. He's only 34 years old, and it's a big step up to be a manager, but clearly the Rangers see something in Barney to give him such a lofty position in the organization.
The ongoing health/economic crisis stopped baseball and all other sports, and Barney plays the waiting game along with everybody else, staying at home in Oregon and "playing teacher" to his kids and "helping my wife."
Nashville television station WKRN had an interview with Barney this week.
"We're trying to be healthy and do what's best for our communities around us," said Barney, of the Rangers and minor-leaguers, who had their spring training cut short.
No timeline has been determined for baseball's return, although a report circulated this week that Major League Baseball had been considering gathering all 30 teams in Arizona for regular-season games — without fans, and players practicing social distancing by possibly sitting in stands, and doubleheaders scheduled (presumably in Arizona heat).
"It's an idea. It's a good idea," Barney told WKRN. "In a sense that it's trying to make baseball relevant again. There's a long ways to go till we get to that point. There have been no official talks with real government officials that make those decisions.
"Everybody wants sports to happen again. You want to turn on the TV and see guys out there doing their thing. I don't know how realistic that is (for Arizona games)."
It's unknown how such a start would affect a minor-league manager and players. A May start to the season doesn't sound realistic to Barney, because of the time needed to train first, but perhaps a launch in June could happen.
"I'd love to hope that I'm back to work in a couple months," Barney said.
There has also been chatter of no baseball season, which Barney can't imagine baseball owners and executives agreeing to, considering the millions of dollars that would be lost.
"I think we're going to play some games and have a World Series champion," he told WKRN. "People have been saying the season is too long for years; now, all of the sudden, they want us to play all the games."
Barney said he has been keeping in touch with minor-league players, who would likely be sent to Triple-A, each week, "just keeping guys in the loop."
After a prep career at Southridge, Barney played at Oregon State and helped the Beavers win back-to-back College World Series championships in 2006-07. He played for eight years — 814 games — in the big leagues with the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays. He had a .246 career average with 625 hits, and played excellent second base; he set a major-league record with 141 consecutive games without an error in 2012 with the Cubs, earning a Gold Glove Award.
He's also an investor with the Portland Diamond Project, which hopes to bring big-league baseball to Portland.
Joining Barney on the Nashville staff is fellow former OSU standout Tyler Graham, who had spent the previous three years as director of player development at Oregon State.
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