MISSOULA, Mont. - We are just one day away from the first pitch of the 2017 Missoula Osprey season.
It will be another year full of fresh faces and this season one of those new faces is manager Mike Benjamin.
Benjamin was selected to lead this year's ball club back in January and he's already making an impact on his new team.
"He's probably one of my favorite coaches I've ever had," said Osprey third baseman Joey Rose. "He gets to know you. He knows the game, he teaches you a lot. Just a great guy."
"He's a great guy. Been around him a little bit, about three months," said Osprey pitcher Williams Durruthy. "I believe he's a player's coach, which is always awesome."
Benjamin is no stranger to developing young talent. He last managed in 2015 with the Diamondbacks Single A team the Kane County Cougars.
"There (are) times where people are going to say, why didn't you bunt," said Benjamin. "That's going to be part of the development versus the winning. There's also going to be situations where we're going to try and win versus the development and I might get phone calls. I just got to hang with them."
Benjamin also brings with him the experience and wisdom of a 13-year career in the majors. That will likely go a long way in managing a winning team.
"This year I think we've got some guys that can drive the ball, so it might be just sit back and try not to get in their way and just let them swing," said Benjamin. "But obviously they're going to tell me what I have to do. If we have to play small ball then that's always going to be an option also."
As for his new home in Montana, it's safe to say he'll fit right in.
"I've heard nothing but good things about this place," said Benjamin. "I'm a fisherman, so it's going to be good."
The season starts Monday in Billings and Osprey fans are looking forward to a good start on their home field when the 2017 club makes its Garden City debut on Friday.