General Manager of the Sharks, Jerry Murphy, was asked about the reason behind hiring Anthony Corona as an assistant coach for the 2013 season.
Bob Tankard (Vice President of Baseball Operations for the Sharks) and I were always impressed with the work habit and maturity of Anthony. In the inaugural season he was always the first player to arrive at the baseball field to work on his craft. He has the work qualities you would like to see in a person that you would like to hire in any business. You can see his commitment to become a better player, which I believe will be passed along to the players coming to the Vineyard next summer. I am a firm believer in leading by example.
What was the reason you decided to play for the Pittsfield Suns after playing your first season with the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks?
Well, first and foremost I just want to say that I am extremely excited to be coming back to Martha’s Vineyard after a year away. I decided to play in Pittsfield last season because it was a chance for me to play in another city. Ever since I started playing travel baseball, traveling has always been something I have loved and having the opportunity to play in a new city last summer was something I wanted to take advantage. In addition, as I was a member of the inaugural Sharks team in 2011 I had the chance to play for a new organization for a second consecutive summer, that being the Pittsfield Suns. There is just something exciting about being a part of something new. The fans really took to us right away. I really enjoyed my time in Pittsfield, but playing baseball on the Vineyard was an experience like no other and I am extremely excited to be back as a coach.
What do you see as the most positive impact you can bring as an assistant coach?
Since this is my first experience coaching at the collegiate level, I am going to take advantage of coaching under Mike Miller. I am looking forward to the opportunity to pick his brain, try, and learn from him as much as I can. As far as what I think I can bring to the table I’m going to bring a lot of passion and fire. I have always been a fiery player because I absolutely love this game and anyone who loves this game as much as I do can agree with me. I also believe I can really help the catchers and pitching staff. I have had many great coaches in my career and everything I have been taught I believe can pass along to the players. Also for some of the younger guys I feel like I can help them mature in their thinking and their preparation for each game, especially the catchers. Collegiate summer baseball is a different level of baseball and some of the younger guys may not know what to expect. I want to be that guy that they can come to if they need help in any aspect of the game.
How do you think you will feel about no longer being a player at a very young age?
Well, it’s something I don’t really want to think about at this point. As I am still finishing up my senior year of college baseball, my main goal has always been to get an opportunity in affiliated baseball. Ever since I was a kid, I always dreamed of being drafted and given a chance. I am working extremely hard this year to impress because I feel as if I have not yet reached my full potential in this game. There is still much I can learn and many aspects of my game that I can continue to improve, if just given the opportunity. I have spoken to many scouts since I have been in high school but I have never been given an opportunity yet. There are several right now that I know would like to have me, but I must prove to them that I am ready for the next level. As far as being a coach at the college level at such a young age, I think it’s going to be a little weird but since last summer I have gained the unofficial title as “The Veteran” so hopefully the guys won’t look at me that way. At this age however, I feel like I have a lot of knowledge to share with the younger players on the team and I just hope I can come in and have an impact on their college careers in some way, shape or form.
Will you have any regrets after playing college ball for four years?
I have no regrets. My college baseball experience was great and I will miss my teammates and coaches after the year is over. My college baseball experience made me a better baseball player but more importantly, a better man. College baseball can sometimes be a humbling experience and I had my share of struggles in college at times, but it taught me to always persevere and never give up on my dreams. I still have that goal in my sights and I intend to make the most of my last year. When it’s all said and done one day, I want to be able to look back and say I did everything I could and more. Doing the extra is something I also learned in college. If you wanted to get ahead, you had to do the extra to gain that edge on your opponent. I will carry that with me for the rest of my life no matter what career I end up getting into.
What major league ball player did you model your playing style after?
Well, as a person I always tried to model myself after Derek Jeter who is the ultimate role model, but my style of play was just different from that of Jeter’s. I had the Paul O’Neil type personality. I am fiery and am always expecting perfection from myself. I have learned in college that this isn’t the right way to approach the game and I have made tremendous strides in composing myself when I fail. Failure was never something I was good at accepting and still don’t. The difference is I am now able to contain my emotions and remain professional especially in front of fans. My defensive game however, I modeled after Jason Kendall. He was a small, stocky guy like me and his defensive ability behind the plate was something I always admired. Kendall’s speed was something that always impressed me as well and I tried to always keep my quickness and speed as I got older.
Do you see yourself coaching professional ball in the future?
I don’t even want to think that far ahead. Playing professional baseball is the first thing I want to accomplish. Once I do that, then maybe I’ll consider getting into it. Again, playing at the next level is the goal.
What wisdom will you impart on the incoming players?
The only wisdom I want to impart on the incoming players is to just never take for granted playing the game of baseball on a daily basis. This is the greatest game in the whole world and the goal of every collegiate baseball player should be to play at the professional level. I want to make sure these guys know that the only way to be successful in this game is to put in the extra time and make sure the effort is 100% at all times whether it’s in practice or in game situations. Perfection in practice is vital to success. Perfect practice makes perfect.
What is your goal for the upcoming Sharks season?
The only goal I have ever had, for any team that I have been a part of, was to win a championship. The same goal applies here. I believe just from looking over the roster that we have the type of team that can make a serious run at a championship. I’m excited to get started.
From you point of view, was the Futures Collegiate Baseball League a better league in 2012 vs. 2011?
I think the FCBL as a whole was better in 2012. The addition of the new teams and the new venues was an eye opening experience; one that I will never forget. With that said, the inaugural season I spent here on the Vineyard in 2011 will always be a very special time for me personally.
To the fans on Martha’s Vineyard, I am thrilled to be back, and am looking forward to an extremely fun and successful summer in 2013. I hope everyone is as excited as I am to get the season under way.