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Stingers’ new boss is filled with energy

Brumley was at Double-A level last season

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It'll take more than a little snow and ice to cool the enthusiasm of Mike Brumley.

During his first visit to Franklin Covey Field as manager of the Salt Lake Stingers, Brumley wasn't phased by the winter wonderland and Olympic signage blanketing the community.

"I know this is a great baseball city. I always loved coming here and playing," said Brumley. "Right now, there's another event on people's minds. Hopefully when we get toward the end of spring training, everyone will change their shift over to us."

Brumley and Tony Reagins, the newly appointed director of player development for the parent Anaheim Angels, flew to Salt Lake City Tuesday and met with Stingers officials. They also toured the stadium.

"We're trying to make this Angels territory," said Reagins, who oversees all minor league operations for the organization including Provo of the Pioneer League. "Everything about the situation here is positive. Logistically, all of it fits."

Another good fit, added Reagins, is Brumley. Salt Lake's fourth manager since the team relocated to Utah from Portland, Ore., in 1995 is an experienced player and coach. The former major leaguer guided Double-A Arkansas to the Texas League championship last season.

"What you'll find in Mike is a guy that has a very sound baseball background. His knowledge is overwhelming and his work ethic is off the charts," said Reagins. "That's what you'll find in our organization across the board — guys that are committed to tireless work ethics and people that really want to win. I think that's what Mike brings to the table."

Brumley likes to turn things loose on the field but expects his players to work hard every day and take preparation seriously.

"I feel part of my job is trying to push them as close as possible to their potential," said Brumley. "Especially, when they are this close to making it."

Most of the players assigned to Salt Lake will participate in spring training with the Angels. Camp opens Feb. 14 in Arizona.

"From what I can tell the personality will be real good," said Brumley, whose team in Arkansas relied on baserunning, defense and pitching.

Several of the Travelers are expected to join Brumley in Salt Lake. The group includes former BYU standout Gary Johnson, the Angels' organizational player of the year two seasons ago.

The Stingers roster will begin to take shape in the middle of March. They'll break camp at the end of the month and head to Salt Lake City for a couple of workouts before opening the season at home on April 4 against Portland.

Brumley can't wait.

"After the holidays, you get into a mode of getting ready to go back to work," he said. "And get excited about baseball."

Recent acquisitions by the Angels have increased optimism within the organization. Pitchers Aaron Sele and Kevin Appier, along with slugger Brad Fullmer, are newcomers in Anaheim.

"I think at the major league level we started off slow in the offseason. We didn't do much and people thought we were just going to stand pat. But we were patient and waited for opportunities," said Reagins. "Those things, I think, show our fans that we are committed to winning. We really want to be successful in 2002."

The franchise has stepped up its scouting efforts, he added, and has more pitching depth than ever before.

"I think we're headed in the right direction. We've done a lot of right things in the past and I think we're just going to build upon those things," said Reagins. "Hopefully, the Angels and Salt Lake are the beneficiaries of our success."

PHILOSOPHICALLY SPEAKING: Reagins and Brumley, who moved into job vacancies created when Darrell Miller and Garry Templeton did not have their contracts renewed by the Angels, share a similar philosophy when it comes to their new duties.

"We want to be competitive. No doubt about it, but our first and foremost objective is to develop big league ballplayers," said Reagins. "You want to win (In the minors). You just have to find that mix. It's a juggling act."

NOT THIS YEAR, EITHER: There may be future Angels in the Franklin Covey Field outfield this season, but there won't be any real ones. Reagins confirmed that the Anaheim Angels won't be coming to Salt Lake for an exhibition game in 2002. They didn't visit Utah last season, either.

"That's something we've talked about and we really have to take that under consideration," said Reagins. "But as of right now, there is no plan to come for an exhibition game. It's something we'll have to talk about in the future."

ON THE NET: The Stingers launched their revamped web site Tuesday. Visitors to stingersbaseball.com can purchase tickets and merchandise online as well as participate in several interactive features.

E-MAIL: dirk@desnews.com