One of the two best managers in Curve history, Tony Beasley, will be returning to the Eastern League next season, while the other, Matt Walbeck, still doesn't have a job.
Walbeck, ousted by the Pirates after leading Altoona to the Eastern League title, attended this week's winter meetings in Orlando to shop himself. One would think he would be an attractive employee given his coaching resume, but he left Florida with no job and no prospects.
It's a weird and complex situation for Walbeck, who tried to keep an upbeat attitude when interviewed Thursday by Baseball America.
"It is really quite humbling and making me appreciate what I've done [in my career]," Walbeck told the magazine. "This is the first time in my life that I have not been involved in baseball since I got out of high school."
Walbeck is a good guy, as most everyone who met him during his two-year stay in Altoona can attest. But the way things played out with the Pirates -- they didn't like his communication skills, and some even wrongly criticized his work ethic -- obviously has made other organizations skeptical.
Is Walbeck somehow being blackballed? That's one way to explain how a guy who has won three championships, four manager of the year awards and spent a season as third base coach for the Texas Rangers would still be unemployed.
Then again, it could just be that the right fit hasn't come along yet and that, once it does, he will land in a good situation.
"I did the best that I could and certainly feel that I added value to the Pirates organization," Walbeck told Baseball America. "I know that I left Pittsburgh in a better position now than when I got there. I know I did a good job."
That he did.
But for some reason no one can or is willing to explain publicly, Walbeck remains unemployed.
"I will probably look back in a few years and realize this was a good thing for me," he said.
Beasley, the only other skipper to lead the Curve to the Eastern League Championship Series, has been hired to manage the Harrisburg Senators next season.
"I'm excited," he said by phone Thursday night. "I'm looking forward to kind of getting back to the swing of managing and having a complete team and impacting young men again."
Beasley spent the past three years as the Pirates' third base coach but was not retained when manager John Russell was fired and replaced by Clint Hurdle.
"I don't consider it a step back whatsoever," Beasley said of returning to the minors.
Beasley hasn't managed since leading the Curve to an 85-56 record and spot in the ELCS in 2005. He has always spoken highly of Altoona and is very well thought of here.
In my 18 years in this business, I can honestly say Beasley is my favorite coach or athlete I've dealt with regularly on a personal basis. He's a first-class, great guy and a true professional.
The Pirates have yet to name the Curve's coaching staff for 2011, but P.J. Forbes is expected to be promoted from Single-A Bradenton to manage the club.
Cory Giger is the host of "Sports Central" from 4 to 6 p.m. daily on ESPN Radio 1430 WVAM. He can be reached at 949-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.