FORMER Winnipeg Goldeyes manager Hal Lanier had his first summer off from baseball in 16 years but he found his way to Shaw Park on Friday to visit with Goldeyes manager Rick Forney.
Lanier, who managed the Goldeyes from 1996-2005, paid a visit prior to Game 3 of the best-of-five American Association semifinal series.
He is in Winnipeg this week for family reasons. His wife Pam's son and his wife are expecting the arrival of their third child, another granddaughter for the Lanier family, any day now. Lanier and Pam arrived to visit and help out for a couple of weeks and it turned out the Goldeyes were playing their biggest game of the season so far.
"We had the trip planned, but I stay in contact with Andrew (Collier GM) and Rick and I keep up with it (Goldeyes) all the time. I've got to," said Lanier, 70, who said he listens to Paul Edmonds and the TSN 1290 broadcasts of the Goldeyes games on the Internet. "I miss the game. I keep up with the Goldeyes and the previous teams I've managed and keep up with the players' stats."
Lanier managed the Normal CornBelters of the Frontier League in 2010 and 2011. He led the CornBelters to a 44-52 record in their inaugural 2010 season and a 46-50 record in 2011.
"I've been in independent baseball for 16 years except for this year, this is the first summer off, not by choice. I'm going to try to get back into it next year, in independent baseball, of course," said Lanier, whose contract was not renewed by the CornBelters. "This summer, all I did was play golf."
He lives in St. Cloud, Fla. Lanier, who was managing the Fish when Forney was both a pitcher (1997-2000) and pitching coach (2000-05), is impressed with the club.
"To do it (win the series) in front of your home fans would be outstanding for them," he said.
email@example.com Twitter: @WFPAshleyPrest