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Templeton to manage Yuma Panthers
Maui. Fullerton. Chico. Long Beach. And now, Yuma.
In a press conference introducing the new ownership and the change of the Yuma Scorpions to the Yuma Panthers, Templeton was introduced as the team's fifth manager in the past five years.
Templeton said he originally planned on spending the summer lowering his golf handicap after coaching Maui in 2011 and leading Chico to a GBL title in 2010. Once he found out about the Yuma opportunity, he said he jumped at it.
“When the Golden Baseball League first started, (commissioner) Kevin Outcalt came to me and asked me where I would like to manage. The first place I picked was Yuma. I told him I knew a lot of people there, still had a lot of friends there. I wanted to come and manage in Yuma.
“I took seven years, but now I'm here. ... To tell you the truth, I'm really happy. This is where I always wanted to be.”
Templeton is a 16-year Major League Baseball veteran. He spent 10 years with the Padres when they had their spring training in Yuma.
“I always liked the facility here. When we come here, guys look forward to playing in this park. Everybody knows it's well-manicured and always well-kept. The pitchers love throwing off the mound. I've just always been a fan of Yuma.”
Templeton will take over a team that, despite a new owner, has not won a title in its seven years in the league. For the first time since the 2008 season, the team actually has players from the prior year's club coming back.
Seven players are still under contract, including second baseman Carlos Leon, catcher Jonathan Jaspe and starter Andrew Romo. The team was managed last year by Jose Canseco.
While Canseco is not back, general manager Jose Melendez was offered his job from last year but is weighing his options.
It's been a tumultuous history for the Scorpions, which has included unpopular affiliation deals with former leagues and reports of management groups not paying obligations to area businesses and players.
“There's a lot of things that happened with the old management. Don't judge us by the old management,” Templeton said. “We're coming in here new with some good, fresh ideas.
“We're not looking to just put ballplayers out on the field. We're looking to put winners out there. Most of the people here have seen the teams I've brought in here to play. Most of them are good competitive teams. That's something you can look forward to this year.”
And Templeton said the new ownership group, led by team president Will Joyce, is intent on writing a new chapter in Yuma baseball history.
“They told me they wanted to put a winner on the field,” Templeton said. “They told me they want to be involved with the community. Right then and there, that told me they didn't want to just own a team and put players on the field. They want me to put a winner on the field and have the community watch a good, solid baseball team. And that's what I intend to do. The first two years with Benny (Castillo) here, he put a good product on the field, and people came to watch it. That's what I intend to do.”