He'll be wearing a different uniform, and he'll be working out of the visitors' dugout and clubhouse. But Bill Masse will be back at Waterfront Park tonight when the Thunder open a three-game set with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.While Masse said in spring training that he's happy in New Hampshire and happy with the Toronto Blue Jays (the Fisher Cats' major league affiliate), he's still bitter over being fired by the Yankees for reasons that weren't true.
It's no secret that his personality didn't mesh with some at the top of the Yankees' player development hierarchy, in particular minor league pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras. Masse has even admitted that much. Heck, he reportedly wasn't even their top choice to manage the Thunder when they first promoted him to Double-A before the 2005 season. But he said the Yankees claimed he put winning over player development, specifically top prospect Phil Hughes' development, an accusation he vehemently denies.
Anyhow, that story has been beaten to a pulp. Of more immediate importance, the Fisher Cats are in second place in the Eastern League Northern Division at 12-7, five games behind the 17-2 Thunder. While both team's strengths and weaknesses (good pitching, weak offense) are similar, their compositions are very different -- Trenton is laden with young prospects (especially pitching-wise), while New Hampshire is loaded with veterans (three Fisher Cats spent all of last year in Triple-A!).