Infielder and slugger Marty Cullen was officially named as the Herts Falcons Bench Coach, amid many rumours and much speculation as to who Manager Jason Greenberg would appoint for the important leadership role.
Cullen – also the Herts Baseball Club VP in charge of Little League operations – came out of retirement last season and earned his place on the first team. His stellar performance at the plate in 2007 was much rejoiced by Herts fans, who were skeptical about how Cullen would play after injuring his lower back early in Spring Training. Despite the setback, Cullen hit .457 with 5 doubles and 13 RBI in 35 official at bats. His on base percentage (.583) led the entire Herts Club among regular starting players.
But it's not Cullen's performance on the field that earned him this coveted role. Rather, it's the work he puts in off the diamond, helping rookies to the game develop proper swings and fielding fundamentals. He is a tireless champion of youth baseball and the development of the great game in the United Kingdom. He is also well respected by his teammates and has developed a Clubhouse charm that will only aid him in the role of Bench Coach, where Cullen will need to walk the line between management and 'bat brother'.
Greenberg had only the highest praise for Cullen. “I trust him implicitly. He is the kind of guy that will lift up those around him, and the bottom line is that Marty shares my determination and optimism for what's developing on and off the field this year for the Club. There's a very special sense of activity and growth… and Marty is a big part of that. He's right in the middle of it. I couldn't ask for a better partner.”
After practice on Sunday the Falcons held a private strategy session, at which Cullen was reintroduced to the team in his new post. In his first words as Bench Coach, Cullen emphasized a 2008 gameplan which included revamped coaching signals, greater use of the designated hitter, and a commitment to 'small ball'. Timely bunting, stealing,
the hit-and-run, and effective 1st-and-3rd offense will factor greatly in the Falcons' tactical playbook this season, and Cullen will be at the helm, no doubt, helping to push runners around the bases.