Baseball: Auckland Tuatara retain manager Stephen Mintz for 2020/21 ABL season

Stephen Mintz.
Stephen Mintz. Photo credit: Photosport

Auckland Tuatara manager Stephen Mintz has committed to a third year in charge of the Kiwi Australian Baseball League side.

The affable North Carolinian has been the club's manager since its inaugural season in 2018 and led the side to a maiden playoffs berth last year, where they lost to eventual champions Melbourne.

The 51-year-old is eager to get back into the action and carry the momentum from last season into their next campaign.

"I'm super excited," Mintz told Newshub. "Tuatara nation, where we brought it from in two short years I'm pumped to get back and fill that stadium up again, be there for our fans and continue to make sure we give New Zealand and Auckland something to be proud of.

"The culture that we're building there, we'll continue to do that the same way.

"The guys will keep playing hard and we'll do things in a fashion that makes the Tuatara respected, not only on our island, but the whole ABL."

Tuatara chief executive Regan Wood says the decision was completely straightforward.

"We didn't need to think about who we wanted to lead this side next season," Wood says. 

"'Mintzy' has done an amazing job to help establish the Tuatara in the Australian Baseball League.

"His coaching ability, baseball experience, knowledge of the intricacies of this league and his ability to connect with people is a massive part of our success."

Mintz is still employed by Major League Baseball's Texas Rangers, who are pleased enough with the developing relationship between the two teams and his performance to allow him to continue downunder.

The Rangers are also interested in sending more coaches to the club for development.

"We just had to make sure the Rangers were happy and that Mintzy was keen to come back," says Wood. "It didn’t take long to confirm that. 

"The arrangement has worked really well for all of us."

Next summer will mark Mintz’s fifth season in the ABL, after leading Adelaide to the 2016 championship series and a second consecutive playoffs appearance a year later.

On Monday, the Tuatara also confirmed the return of hitting coach Darren Bragg.

The American, who's on loan from MLB's Cincinnati Reds, was hailed as the driving force behind the wholesale improvement to the team's run-scoring, particularly with star slugger Andrew Marck.

"Bringing 'Braggs' back was a no-brainer as well," Wood says. "He is a great fit for our organisation and works really well with Mintzy, albeit with very different philosophies and personalities. 

"They make a brilliant team."