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Former Indian at the helm of Scrappers


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Tribune Chronicle correspondent


NILES - When the Mahoning Valley Scrappers begin the 2010 season tonight at Jamestown, N.Y., they will do so with manager Travis Fryman guiding them for the third straight year.


Fryman says the Scrappers are the perfect fit for him and after a 49-27 season in 2009, an 18-game improvement from 2008, the feeling is certainly mutual.


"I really love what I do here," the former Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers third baseman said. "I love working at this level. I'm very fortunate."


As much as he loves baseball, Fryman's priorities go beyond the sport. He says he's able to provide his players with a different prospective because he's been successful both on and off the field.


"I get an opportunity to impact these guys both personally and professionally," he said. "I'm a little bit unique because I've been there, and you don't see that a lot at this level. That gives me a great deal of perspective not only on their careers, but in life in general. I've been married 19 years and the divorce rate in baseball is pretty high."


Mahoning Valley pitcher Kyle Smith, who was with the Scrappers last season, is glad to be playing for Fryman again.


"It's a great experience because he's been to where we all want to be," Smith said. "He has the experience and I just try to go out and try to learn as much as I can from him. Not just in baseball, but how he conducts himself professionally. I just like to try to learn as much as I can from him because he's what we all want to be someday. He's done it and done it very well."


Smith said he's been impressed with how Fryman commands respect from his players.


"He's the nicest guy in the world and easy to talk to," Smith said. "You'll meet some guys who are kind of above you, but he's not that way at all. He's a great manager, very even keel and he expects a lot from you. He has our respect without being over the top with it. Some guys will yell at you to gain respect, but he instantly has it."


The most important thing for Fryman as a manager is teaching.


"A lot of what we do here is about teaching and allowing them the opportunity to learn the demands that come with playing every day and the importance of their preparation and routines," he said.


As far as wins and losses are concerned, success in the New York-Penn League - and at most other levels - is all about pitching, according to Fryman.


"Success on the field, like most of baseball, unfortunately it comes down to the quality of your pitching," he said. "It's hard for me to admit that as a position player, but it's true. We're going to be a little less experienced group on the mound from what I've seen this point. But on my end it's patience, a lot of patience and getting into teaching mode."





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I'll be watching the Scrappers tomorrow at 1$ general admission,hotdog,and 12 ounce drink nite. For 5 bucks I can get a ticket, 2 hotdogs and 2 drinks. I cant watch a little league game for that



Take in the Rib Cookoff in front of the mall while you're there.

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