“THIS WILL MAKE for a good story,” former Fisher Cats manager John Schneider said from the other end of the phone call. “I’m in the hospital, so I have spotty cell service. I have a new baby screaming, a nurse trying to give discharge instructions and as we’re leaving the hospital that’s when my phone starts ringing.”
As you may have guessed by now, last week was not a typical week for Schneider. His wife, Jess, gave birth to their second son, Greyson, on Monday, and Toronto Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo offered Schneider a job with the big league club Tuesday. That’s the call Schneider received as he and the rest of his family were leaving the hospital.
“I could barely hear him (Montoyo), so I said I’d have to call him back,” Schneider said. “It was a crazy day. A new baby boy and and new job offer all in a few hours.”
Schneider, who guided the Fisher Cats to the Eastern League championship last season, accepted Montoyo’s offer and will be Toronto’s major league coach next season. Schneider, 38, said he’ll fill a variety of roles, but the job will place an emphasis on working with catchers.
Schneider has coached in the Blue Jays’ system for 11 years. He also spent six seasons with the organization as a catcher, and topped out at Triple-A Syracuse.
“My resume looks a lot better as a coach than it did when I was a player,” Schneider said, clearly poking fun at his playing skills.
Schneider also led Dunedin to the Single-A Florida State league title in 2017, when he had many of the same players he coached in Manchester this year. That group includes third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., shortstop Bo Bichette and infielder Cavan Biggio.
His relationship with many of Toronto’s top prospects may have been one of the reasons he was offered the job, but Schneider said that subject didn’t come up when he interviewed for the position in November. And if he hadn’t been promoted to Toronto?
“I think I would have been back there (Manchester) hopefully managing them to the playoffs again,” he said. “I loved it there. I really can’t say enough about how everybody was first class to me, and the fans only had to see me get thrown out once. I’ll always have fond memories.
“I knew from the get-go we were going to be a special team, but it’s the relationships you build along the way. You put that on top of winning a championship … it was a special year for me on so many levels.”
One player Fisher Cats’ fans may get to watch next season is Nate Pearson, a right-handed pitcher who was clocked at 104 mph (no typo there) in the Arizona Fall League all-star game. He began last year with Dunedin, but missed most of the season after breaking a bone in his right arm.
Toronto selected Pearson with the 28th overall pick in the 2017 draft. He’s listed by MLB.com as Toronto’s No. 4 prospect, although there’s some debate about whether he’s best suited to be a starter or reliever.
Former John Stark quarterback Parker McQuarrie picked up a scholarship offer from the University of Wisconsin last week. McQuarrie, who led the St. Paul’s School in Concord to an unbeaten season this year, also has offers from Boston College, Michigan, Purdue, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Rhode Island. Drew McQuarrie, Parker’s older brother, is a defensive lineman at Boston College.
Former Dartmouth College men’s basketball coach Dave Faucher will be the interim head coach for the Lebanon High School boys’ basketball team this winter. Kieth Matte has taken a one-year leave of absence from that position. Faucher worked as an assistant under Matte for the last two seasons.
Faucher, a Somersworth High School graduate, has also coached at Newmarket High School, Sanborn Regional, Kimball Union Academy, Daniel Webster College and Merrimack College.
Here’s the lineup for the first day of the Doug Chandler Christmas Tournament, a girls’ basketball tourney that will be held at Manchester Central on Dec. 26-28: Lebanon vs. Conant, Manchester West vs. Trinity, Manchester Central vs. Monadnock and Manchester Memorial vs. ConVal.
Chandler, who had been an assistant coach with the Central varsity girls’ basketball program since 2005, died last April.
Folarin Orimolade, a defensive lineman who played at Dartmouth, was part of the Calgary Stampeders team that won the Grey Cup — the Canadian Football League’s championship game — last Sunday by beating the Ottawa Redblacks 27-16.
Former University of New Hampshire wide receiver R.J. Harris led Ottawa in receiving with four catches for 66 yards in the loss. He also returned three kickoffs for 40 yards, and gained 31 yards on three punt returns.