ATLANTA — Interim manager Brian Snitker decided about six weeks ago that he wanted to be the Atlanta Braves’ full-time manager.
Snitker had worked as interim skipper since May 17, steering baseball’s worst team into something more respectable.
After 40 years in the Braves’ organization and three months as interim manager, Snitker believed he was the right man for the job.
“There’d be times when I was driving back from a game or just driving around where I was like, You know what? I would like a crack at this. I’d like to take a shot at this,'” Snitker said Saturday.
Snitker met with president of baseball operations John Hart and general manager John Coppolella earlier this week. Hart and Coppolella also spoke with bench coach Terry Pendleton, first base coach Eddie Perez and third base coach Bo Porter about the job.
When the season ends Sunday, Hart and Coppolella are expected to begin the process of interviewing candidates outside the organization.
Snitker said the interview was his first, for any position, with the Braves.
He managed 20 years in the minor leagues, worked seven years as third base coach under Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox and was in his third Triple-A stint when the Braves promoted him to replace the fired Fredi Gonzalez on May 17.
When Snitker took charge, Atlanta had the majors’ worst offense and a shaky pitching staff. It took until late September for Atlanta to no longer have baseball’s worst record.
The Braves are 57-65 under Snitker and had won 10 of 11 before Friday’s loss to Detroit. They acquired slugger Matt Kemp on July 30, which boosted the offense substantially, but still have the fewest home wins in the majors (29) during their final season at Turner Field.
“When everything was just spiraling, I was still learning the job,” Snitker said. “I don’t know, just like a player, you never figure this thing out. This is a sport, and I guess why we keep coming back, you just never get on top of this thing and got it. It’s a constant work in progress whether a player, coach or manager.”
Pendleton, Perez and Porter confirmed Saturday to The Associated Press that they interviewed this week, but declined to give details.
Pendleton, a Braves assistant coach for 15 years, was the 1991 NL MVP and a major reason why Atlanta went from worst to first and advanced to its first World Series that year.
Perez, the MVP of the 1999 NL Championship Series, played 18 of his 20 seasons in Atlanta. He’s in his 10th year as a coach.
Porter, in his second season as an Atlanta coach, managed the Houston Astros to a 121-203 record from 2013-14.
Snitker was pleased to get the interview done before the season ends Sunday. The atmosphere is expected to be charged when the Braves close down a sold-out Turner Field.
“It’s part of the process,” he said. “A week from today, we’ll see how things are, where everybody is.”