The Club announced on Thursday that Matt Walbeck had been relieved of his managerial duties and longtime coach in the Atlanta system, Rick Albert, will take over the position.
“This is just best for the organization at this time,” said Rome Braves general manager Mike Dunn before the team’s 5-4 win over Greenville on Thursday night.
This was Walbeck’s first season as manager in Rome as he took over for Randy Ingle who led the team from 2006-2010. In his short stay in Rome, Walbeck amassed a record of 28-56, including the team losing their last eight games before the All-Star Break to finish in last place in the first half standings.
The team’s 3-11 record in the second half didn’t do much to help his standing either.
Albert comes to Rome from most recently the Gulf Coast League Braves where he was hitting coach. Overall, he has worked in the Atlanta Braves farm system since 1972 where he has managed at every minor league level and was the organization’s 2000 Minor League Manager of the Year.
Albert said he was surprised when he got the call on Wednesday night from Atlanta Farm Director Kurt Kemp offering him the opportunity.
“Kurt called me and asked if I could finish out the year here, and I certainly wasn’t expecting that,” said Albert. “But I’m happy to be here and help any way I can.”
Albert said his expectations for his new squad are simple.
“I want them to act like professionals and play hard and that’s really all I ask,” said Albert. “The key is to cut them loose and just let them play. Hopefully, they’ll learn from the mistakes they make and get better, and we can have some fun doing it.”
Dunn said he is looking for Albert to come in and stabilize things for the duration of the season.
“We are just looking for some team continuity right now,” said Dunn. “We want to put the players in an environment where they can get better and get to the next level because that is our main goal here.”
Dunn said that Albert would at least be with the team for the rest of this season and then the organization would evaluate things afterward to see where they would go from there.