By Kody Acevedo
MESA— Chip Hale has made the best of a difficult situation.
The former Arizona Diamondbacks manager, who was fired in October, found a comfortable and familiar home during the off-season as third base coach of the Oakland Athletics.
“(It’s) like he never left,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin.
Hale returns to the A’s after two seasons as manager of the Diamondbacks. He previously served under Melvin as third base and infield coach with Arizona from 2007-09 and as bench coach with Oakland from 2012-14.
“I think when you get let go from a spot that you obviously had worked so hard to be in as manager of the Diamondbacks, it was hard,” Hale said. “It was hard on the family. You know, we sort of had to lick our wounds for a little bit, but right way you have to look for another job – that’s baseball.”
Hale said there were options to join other teams, but he knew Oakland was where he wanted to be.
“It’s an easy adjustment because, obviously, I know most of the people here – front office, the manager Bob Melvin, and most of the coaches I’ve worked with,” Hale said. “So it’s a seamless transition.”
Northern California and Arizona are both home to Hale.
The San Jose native graduated from Campolindo High School in the neighboring town of Moraga. He then made the move south to play baseball for the University of Arizona.
While sporting the Wildcats uniform, Hale established school career marks for most hits and walks and was a member of the 1986 team that won the College World Series.
For Hale, it is hard to be down, despite what happened with the Diamondbacks. He’s still in baseball, and there is something about spring in Arizona that feeds optimism.
“Every spring, every team feels like they have a chance to win a World Series and it starts here in Arizona,” Hale said. “Obviously the weather is beautiful. I live here in the winter, so I think it’s the greatest state in the world.”
Melvin said Hale’s presence has brought an added level of energy to the A’s clubhouse.
“It’s great to have him back and he’s a big part of what we do in this camp, especially with the infielders, the instruction, the daily workload,” Melvin said.
“When he was here three years ago, we went to the postseason every year. So, he’s used to us winning here, and we’re all looking forward to getting back to that.”
Melvin’s style still influences Hale.
“Everybody that touches you as a coach or manager, you sort of bring a little bit of them with you,” Hale said. “I can go back to my high school coach, to college with Jerry Kindall and all the way through (Melvin). All of those guys have something to do with you and the way you manage.”
As for the new role as third base coach, Hale is still adjusting.
“That’s what Spring Training is for,” he said. “More than anything, for a third base coach, is to get back out there, get some reads off the bat. You know, get back in the swing of things. It’s fun.”
(Video by Tyler Paley/Cronkite News)