Home / World News / Walt Weiss returns to Colorado without much fanfare, but plenty of satisfaction with the Braves

Walt Weiss returns to Colorado without much fanfare, but plenty of satisfaction with the Braves

Even if he was in a gorilla suit, you could spot Walt Weiss during batting practice. He stands with his right foot crooked and casual, leaning his hand into a bat, a natural extension of his arm. It’s the posture of a man born to be around baseball.

“It’s in my blood,” he said.

The former Rockies manager held that stance again Saturday in his return to Coors Field, this time in a blue uniform instead of purple. He returned to the game this season as bench coach of the Braves under first-year manager Brian Snitker, part of Atlanta’s club overhaul meant to match a major rebuild with a young and talented system of rising prospects.

Weiss’ return to Denver came Friday in the Rockies’ home opener, without much fanfare but with plenty of satisfaction.

“It is weird coming back here,” Weiss said inside the visitor’s clubhouse. “But this job has been better than I expected, to be honest with you. I was really excited to get a call from Snit, because I have history with the Braves.”

There were moments during spring training at Champion Field in Florida when Weiss put on his Braves uniform and thought about how he blew back into baseball. His four seasons at the helm in Colorado oversaw some lean years, when the Rockies transitioned from a top-heavy cast of veterans to a homegrown core of young players.

He arrived in 2013 as manager in Colorado to find a mess, inheriting a 98-loss team, and through three years the club saw little improvement in the standings while they rebuilt from within. They twice finished last in the National League West. His fourth season saw improvement to a 75-87 record and a jump to third in the division.

And then he left, vexed by what Weiss thought was an unproductive relationship with general manager Jeff Bridich. He chose instead to watch baseball from a distance, taking a year away from the game.

And after former Braves manager Bobby Cox recommended him to Snitker, Weiss rejoined the final club he played for. Weiss was an all-star shortstop at Atlanta for three seasons through 2000.

“It’s been more of a homecoming than I thought it would be,” Weiss said.

His new job roused Weiss into new territory. Snitker tasked him with coordinating a spring training program. He is a sounding board and a player’s mentor. He introduced Snitker to an analytical and statistical bent to managing. And he is specifically helping guide the Braves’ coveted young shortstop, Dansby Swanson, just as he did Troy Tulowitzki and Trevor Story in Colorado.

“I always gravitate toward the shortstops anyway,” Weiss said. “I’ve been fortunate. I had Tulo and Trevor and now a kid like Dansby. It’s a natural connection for me. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Dansby. We’ve had some really good conversations, below the surface.”

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