Lexington Legends

Legends' new manager promises hard-playing style

New Lexington Legends manager Brian Buchanan
New Lexington Legends manager Brian Buchanan

Leading off Saturday for the Lexington Legends will be Brian Buchanan.

Fans will be introduced to the team's new manager at the third annual Legends Winter Bash in the Kentucky Ale Taproom at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.

Buchanan and his wife, Jill, who reside in Fort Myers, Fla., spent Friday looking for an in-season residence in Lexington. The couple have four sons, ages 2, 4, 6 and 8.

As for the "kids" Buchanan will be in charge of with the Legends, it's too early to tell who will be here.

"I think it will be a combination of some of the guys that were in Burlington (of the Appalachian League) and some of the guys that were at Idaho Falls (of the Pioneer League)," Buchanan said during a phone interview from Fort Myers. "Who those guys are, I don't know. ... Those decisions are made by people above my pay scale."

This marks the Legends' first season as a Kansas City Royals affiliate, after 12 years with the Houston Astros.

The Legends finished 39-30 in the first half last season, fourth place in their division. They went 30-39 the second half, finishing 69-69 overall.

Meanwhile, Buchanan was guiding the Kane County (Ill.) Cougars to a 68-72 season in the Midwest League, going 34-36 in each half.

As for the clubs that will stock this year's Lexington roster, Burlington (N.C.) was divisional champion (41-25) and playoff runner-up; Idaho Falls had the sixth-best record (35-41) in the Pioneer League.

Buchanan, 39, grew up in the northern Virginia town of Clifton, and attended Fairfax (Va.) Catholic High School and the University of Virginia.

Upon completing his junior collegiate season, he was selected by the New York Yankees in the first round of the 1994 draft.

A corner outfielder and first baseman, the right-hander spent parts of five seasons in the majors — with Minnesota, San Diego and the New York Mets.

His minor-league career spanned 13 seasons, and he also spent a year in Japan.

This will be his fourth year of managing, having spent two years at Idaho Falls and last season with Kane County.

"I'll definitely get thrown out of some games," he said, "but ... if I see a player doing something wrong, I'm more of a talker than a screamer-blow-'em-up type of guy. Unless it's absolutely warranted, I won't."

Hustle is not an option.

"I expect them to play hard," he said. "That's one thing, how I played the game — I ran every ball out and played hard, and I was ready every day. And that's what I expect the guys that come through there, is to respect the game and play it hard. That's all I ask."

Buchanan will report to spring training in Surprise, Ariz., on Feb. 21.

The Legends will arrive in Lexington on or about March 31, then open the season April 4 with a four-game road trip to Augusta.

The first homestand, seven games, will start April 8 against Asheville.

"I've been talking to other (guys) who were involved in playing, and scouts, and they love the area," Buchanan said. "It's a nice stadium, good area, good fans. I'm excited about going there."

■ Saturday night's Winter Bash includes hors d'oeuvres and an open bar. Buchanan will address the gathering. Scott Sharp, director of minor league operations for the Royals, will be on hand.

There will be a silent auction. Television screens throughout the room will be tuned to Kentucky's basketball game against Auburn, which tips off at 9 p.m.

Proceeds benefit the Kentucky and Southern Indiana chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


Legends Winter Bash

When: 7 p.m. to midnight

Where: Kentucky Ale Taproom at Whitaker Bank Ballpark

Tickets: $50. Available at Legends box office, LexingtonLegends.com or by calling (859) 422-7855