Baseball never stops for Smokies’ manager Buddy Bailey. The end of his minor league schedule merely marks the beginning of his next assignment, and for the past ten years, Bailey’s assignment has led him to South America to manage Los Tigres de Aragua in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Over the past decade, Bailey’s Tigres have been a dominant force in the league. Their success has seen him garnished as a rock star in the baseball-driven South American culture, and with good reason. Since joining the franchise, he has guided the club to the Venezuelan League championship series eight times; winning six of them, including one as recently as the in the 2011-2012 season.
Bailey received the prestigious honor of being named International Manager of the Year following the 2006-2007 season following a championship campaign. In 2009, Bailey managed Venezuela to the title in the Caribbean World Series, Latin America’s most prestigious club-level baseball tournament.
International success has become synonymous with Buddy Bailey. The 2012-2013 season in the Venezuelan League witnessed a rare stumble for Los Tigres de Aragua. At 23-39, Bailey’s team was eliminated early on from championship contention.
This year’s Tigres had two members of the Chicago Cubs farm system on the roster. Left Fielder Ty Wright of the Iowa Cubs saw action in 20 games and posted a .247 average. Center Fielder Jae-Hoon Ha played in 27 games. Ha struggled only posting a .218 batting average, but was a perfect 6 for 6 on steal attempts.
With the end of the Venezuelan Winter League, Buddy Bailey now turns his attention to getting ready for spring training with the Chicago Cubs and a regular season as field manager of the Tennessee Smokies. After all, baseball never stops.
Jonathan Reed/Smokies Radio Network