Q&A With Former Beaver, Current Triple-A Manager Dave Brundage
Aug. 3, 2009
Former Oregon State pitcher/first baseman Dave Brundage is in his third season as the Manager of the Gwinnett Braves, the Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. He joined the organization in 2007 and immediately led the then-Richmond Braves to an International League title. Prior to joining Atlanta's organization, Brundage, who played at Oregon State from 1984-86, spent 12 years in the Seattle Mariners organization, with one year spent as the Manager of the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers.
During his tenure with the Beavers, Brundage batted .350, currently placing him in a tie for ninth in school history. He lead Oregon State in hitting in 1985 (.370) and 1986 (.366). In '86, he also led the club with eight home runs. At the same time, Brundage was stellar on the mound. He tied for the team lead with eight victories in 1986, and in the same year, was tops on the club with five complete games. Brundage also lettered in football in 1985.
After finishing his playing career with Oregon State, Brundage was selected in the fourth round of the 1986 Major League Baseball Draft by Philadelphia. He played one year in the Phillies organization before being acquired by Seattle in a trade with Mike Jackson and Glenn Wilson for Phil Bradley and Tim Fortugno on December 9, 1987.
Brundage played in 10 minor league seasons (1986-1994, 1998) including six seasons for the Triple-A Calgary Cannons (1989-1994). He is the Cannons all-time leader in games played (354), walks drawn (208) and ranks third in runs scored (196) and sixth in hits (302).
A native of Salem, Ore., he spoke with osubeavers.com prior to a game with Rochester last week.
Oregon State: How are things going in Gwinnett?
Dave Brundage: 'It's top notch. You can't ask for a better situation. Any time you've got your Triple-A affiliate 32 miles North of your big club, there's so many positives to it. Even just from a family standpoint. You're not dragging your families all over the place. Basically, guys are living in one place. We've had our fair share of callups. We've had probably 10 or 12 callups this year; 10 guys who have made their mark 32 miles South. It's been an absolute dream situation. Being here and having the new stadium, and on top of that, we're in Braves country (which is great). And Braves fans abound and certainly from anyone's perspective, being so close, it's easy to follow the future of the Braves.'
Oregon State: 'What was it like making a move from Richmond, where your franchise has to pick up and go somewhere else?
Dave Brundage: 'Well it was tough leaving Richmond when we were there. Probably the last week is when it really set in. The history that Richmond has in baseball and with the Braves organization, it was disappointing from their standpoint, I think. Any time your Triple-A affiliate, something that has been with the city for so long, that's the downside to it. But knowing that we were getting a brand new stadium built close to Atlanta, having our Triple-A affiliate right down the road and moving to the state of Georgia, where there are many Braves' fans, it was a good decision.
Oregon State: You recently had a fellow former Oregon State player, Kevin Gunderson, on the Gwinnett roster. What was it like managing a guy who played at your alma mater? I'm sure it doesn't happen too often.
Dave Brundage: 'You don't see it very often. I have a good relationship with Gundy and I obviously have times with him in regards to Oregon State. We always were talking about the Northwest, talking about the Beavers and having a good repoire. Gundy came up here on short notice and certainly had earned that promotion. You want him to get that experience, get his feet wet. It came down to numbers with Gundy, in terms of being able to stay here and get quality innings. With guys getting healthy at the big league level and having to make decisions, Gundy was one of the few guys who could go back to Double-A and he'll be there and get his quality innings and continue to improve.'
Oregon State: Often times you have to be the one who tells players they're being sent down. How do you try and approach this when it happens?
Dave Brundage: 'You try to approach it with the positives any time. You don't want to treat it like a demotion. There have been certain instances where you get guys who haven't pitched well and haven't earned that promotion. They may be filling in to get you through a week, but at the same time, when they've earned that promotion and come up here and pitched well, you really want to spin it as a positive. You want to make sure guys understand there are very few guys at Triple-A who can go down to Double-A, without releasing somebody. If you have the opportunity to pitch at Triple-A or Double-A, nowadays, you are one day away from going to the big leagues.'
Oregon State: How much are you able to stay in touch with how Oregon State is doing?
Dave Brundage: 'I always follow what Oregon State is doing. I'm a Beaver Believer through and through and always will be. Having grown up in the Northwest and being a Beaver fan all my life, and living a dream and able to attend Oregon State and play baseball and football, it was great. I've gathered great relationships and made many friends from Oregon State over the years. Those will never die. You're always staying in touch with friends, and everyone you've ever associated with from your college days or after your college days. You'll always have that.'
Oregon State: What stands out most about your time at Oregon State?
Dave Brundage: 'I think the close knit, the smaller city aspect. The relationships are close knit. At the time you don't realize it, but when you are done playing, or you are past your college days, it is something you will cherish the rest of your lives. It is something that stays with you your entire life. That's why we go to college; for the friends, relationships, the people along the way, and the experiences, whether they are good or bad. There's something always good to take from any of those.'
Oregon State: Have you had a chance to be back at an Oregon State game or to campus lately?
Dave Brundage: 'I get back and am always able to catch a game or two at football, but baseball, it's a lot tougher because I'm always gone during the summer (and spring). I've been gone, for what, the past 25 summers. I don't get much time off that time of year unless it's the all-star break. I've come back every all-star break during every baseball season. We always try to get together; friends and guys I've played with, whether baseball or football. Jim Wilson, is one, and we always stay in touch. Guys we played ball together with. Just maintaining that is important and we love getting down there.'
Oregon State: You've been called one of the best two-sport athletes in Oregon State's history. How humbling is that to hear?
Dave Brundage: 'Well, I don't think it's true (laughing). It is. It's very humbling to hear something like that. We all live vicariously, in one sense, through the past and what we've accomplished. I think just the entire family atmosphere, being there in Corvallis, and all the friends, that's something that no one can ever take away and I'll cherish it the rest of my life. I look at it as one of many who was on a team who had a tremendous experience at Oregon State.'
Oregon State: What makes it so special to work for the Braves organization? What makes it such a great place to work?
Dave Brundage: 'I think it's the loyalty. Loyalty in professional sports is hard to come by. Having done my homework and when you look up and down at it, and when you look at the people who have worked for the Braves, there's numerous people who have been here for 30 years, whether it be coaching or even guys in the clubhouse. It goes from the top to the bottom and it starts with John Schuerholtz. He has built this organization into one of the best franchises in all of professional sports. When you put your thumb on one distinct thing, it all comes down to loyalty. And it comes down to hiring good people and just wanting to be a part of something like that really intrigued. The opportunity was there to join one of the best organizations in professional sports.'
Oregon State: What is your ultimate goal within the organization? It's hard to look ahead, I'm sure, but where do you see yourself soon? The Major Leagues?
Dave Brundage: 'Well, it's a loaded question, in one sense. I don't think anyone ever wants to sell themselves short on their goals. At the same time, you want to be realistic. You want to gain that experience in no matter what you are doing and I believe I am. I'm paying my dues and I think any time you pay your dues and get that experience and succeed and develop like we are doing, we are headed in the right direction. I love what I'm doing here. But I would love to manage at the big league level. That's what I train myself every day for.'