Dave Wallace says there wasn’t just one thing that convinced him to step aside after three successful seasons as pitching coach.
“Things happen in your life where you kind of want to smell the roses a little bit. Family concerns, getting up there in age a little bit and just wanting to not get to the point where somebody’s got to force you out,” Wallace said in a Friday conference call with local reporters.
Wallace is 69 and has had a long and distinguished career in coaching and in major league front offices. He’s not sure what he wants to do, but he knows what he loves.
“What my passion is is developing young pitchers, be that in uniform, be that in part uniform, part front office, I don’t know,” Wallace said.
“I’m not going to say I’m sure there’s going to be opportunities, but I feel pretty confident, maybe there, I haven’t talked to anyone there about it; this is all so recent, somewhere in the industry.”
Buck Showalter sitting next to Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette announced Wallace’s departure during Thursday’s season-ending news conference.
“I’ve got ties in Baltimore, and Buck being the best game manager ever, our relationship is pretty good. I haven’t talked to him or Dan,” Wallace said.
Wallace is highly thought of in baseball, and the Orioles' two postseason appearances in his three seasons with the team will only boost his stock.
He mentioned how proud he was of the development of Brad Brach, Zach Britton, Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Chris Tillman. Not being with them will be difficult, Wallace said.
“Some of the most difficult things are walking away from relationships with the players. That’s what you miss.
“I still love the kids. I still love the young guys, working with Kevin and Bundy…having a little bit of an impact on what they’ve been able to do. We’ll just see. My experience is pretty extensive, so I’m not that concerned what’s going to be out there, if anything at all,” Wallace said.
“It’s funny, but probably for the first time in my life, I’m not worried about next year and where I’m going to work. I feel somewhat relieved.”
Wallace seemed proud of the work he put in with Gausman and Bundy.
“I think the light went on about halfway through the year this year. He started to figure it out,” Wallace said about Gausman
“Dylan Bundy, who really hasn’t pitched, but his baseball acumen much to our surprise, is off the charts, pitching-wise. Those are the things that make you feel good.”
When Wallace came to Baltimore three years ago, he was Atlanta’s minor league pitching coordinator and brought along Dom Chiti to be this bullpen coach, and he endorsed his candidacy to replace Wallace.
“The ability Dom has he can do almost anything he wants. He’s such an astute/pitching guy. …He’s good at anything he does. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s one of the stronger candidates,” Wallace said.
Each month this season, Wallace left the Orioles to attend to family matters, but said he still had the energy to do the job. A year ago, he delayed his decision on whether to return for a few weeks after the season. This year, no delay. His mind was made up.
Walllace said he wanted to spent time with his family, participate in his grandchildren’s activities and take trips while still keeping a hand in baseball.
“The last couple of years, you just wonder, at what point,” Wallace said. “I’m not 45 years old anymore, and you wonder how much time you have left to do that stuff, and while you’re still pretty active and able to do that kind of stuff.”