RedHawks formally introduce Coste as Interim Manager
The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks officially introduced Chris Coste as the interim manager for the 2020 season.
Coste played for the RedHawks before making it in the major leagues and ultimately winning a World Series with the Philadephia Phillies.
He's been working with the RedHawks since 2017 and most recently served as the bench coach before being named to replace Jim Bennett Monday.
"For me it's less of a celebratory, or major accomplishment and more of a, 'if this is what it takes to get us through this season," Coste explained of his feelings being named interim manager.
Coste reflected on the winding road to bring baseball to Fargo-Moorhead that the RedHawks and the American Association have faced during the global pandemic.
"Anybody that knows me knows whatever I'm going to do it's going to be 'giddy up' and I'm going to give 100%," Coste said of his approach to the season. "In this situation, I'll embrace the season we have ahead and the celebratory side of this is 'we get to have a baseball season' and that's pretty awesome."
The F-M RedHawks are preparing to play a shortened 2020 season with six teams playing out of three hub cities. Fargo-Moorhead is serving as one of those three.
RedHawks CEO and President Brad Thom sited a difference in philosophy in baseball decisions as the reason for parting ways with Bennett. Thom said Tuesday at a press conference that Bennett is, "absolutely [the] nicest guy in the world. Phenomenal. No one has one bad thing to say about the guy. It's just we had a little bit different philosophy in baseball decision to be made."
Coste understands the RedHawks philosophy and pointed to his own experience as a player at Newman Outdoor Field to explain what it should be like still.
"I was an original RedHawk. I saw this place packed pretty much every night for four straight years when I played here," Coste explained. "It is a business, we are a show. We want some of that."
"And that will be easy because when you have a guy like say Brennan Metzger comes to mind. If you watch Brennan Metzger on and off the field, you know he's a showman. And we do want some of that," Coste went on to say. "We want fans in the seats and when they leave, win or lose, we want them to want to come back. So there will be a huge emphasis from the on-field side for that as well."
Bennett, 54, went 63-37 in his only season with the RedHawks before losing to the St. Paul Saints (3-2) in the best-of-five 2019 American Association North Division Championship Series Playoffs, marking the first time the RedHawks made the playoffs since 2013. He was also named as the American Association Manager of the Year.
Thom said whether or not Coste would have been available as the interim manager, the organization would have gone ahead with releasing Bennett.
“The RedHawks have been a big part of my baseball career and I didn’t envision this situation happening, especially with everything else going on this year.” said Chris Coste. “I look forward to the future of the organization, but more importantly, my goal is to ensure the current 2020 season is positive and successful, not only for the players and team on the field, but also for the entire organization, and most importantly, for baseball fans and the entire Fargo-Moorhead community.”
As for the longterm, Coste said it's too soon to speak to the 2021 season and any plans to remove the interim tag.
"I will say this," Coste said, "I love what I get out of both Concordia and the RedHawks. They both provide me with; at Concordia I'm dealing with an amazing generation every single year. My coaches and my players. The RedHawks provide me with a different type of baseball life which I really need in terms of being around the professional side of it. To envision not having both of these, I don't see it."
The RedHawks had resigned six players from last year back in February including pitchers Brent Jones and Tyler Pike, infielders Correlle Prime and Leobaldo Pina as well as catcher Wilfredo Gimenez. Outfielder Brennan Metzger also confirmed with Valley News Live that he will return to Fargo this summer.
In addition to the roster the RedHawks had been building, the drafted another eight players in a distribution draft Tuesday.