Vahe Gregorian: On the personal traits and fresh voice Matt Quatraro brings to Royals

Vahe Gregorian, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Baseball

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sit down for a chat with new Royals manager Matt Quatraro, as I had the opportunity to do Thursday morning at Kauffman Stadium, and chances are you’ll walk away struck by several impressions.

For me, those include the further sense he’s both unassuming and comfortable in his own skin … and that those traits figure in his apparent perception of the job as a connector and delegator more than someone who must immediately assert authority.

Moreover, I came away thinking of how much he’s a reflection of his upbringing in Selkirk, New York, complete with an urge to nurture but allow space to grow.

As he spoke of his parents as “super steady” and “consistent” but not micromanaging his life, it was easy to picture how he’d apply to this job the notion of their “simple life lessons without telling you what to do or how to do it all the time.”

What also resonated was the self-deprecating way he appreciates every phase of his journey to this first MLB managerial job at age 49 — including how a quirk opened this path when he might well have become a history teacher instead.

If not for a chance to play in Italy falling through after the end of his six-year minor league career in 2003, Quatraro said, he wouldn’t have been in position to take a coaching assistant job for Tampa Bay (that led to everything else) when somebody else suddenly quit.


“I fell in,” said Quatraro, whose parents and wife were teachers. “And who says (a life in baseball) was better or worse, right?”

What also stood out, once more but perhaps still surprisingly to some, was the premium he puts on the human touch and relationships.

That certainly runs counter to any notion that Quatraro being well-versed in analytics, which the Royals have stressed as urgent to further engage now, means he will be in rigid servitude to numbers.

Instead, it’s very much like he put it the day he was introduced last fall as Royals manager:


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