When Todd Zeile arrived to play first base for the Mets in 2000, he quickly got to know his new manager, Bobby Valentine.
And while the two may have had a bit of an awkward first encounter, they soon got to know each other's tendencies and what to expect on and off the field from one another.
"You were always on your own schedule. Your BP was on your own schedule," Valentine said of Zeile. "You never got hurt. Always answered the bell. Never wanted to have any special treatment with the hitting coach. You had it, you had it, and you did. You had it, so you were easy to manage."
"I had a lot of guys (I knew on the Mets) already, because I knew Mike (Piazza) really well, and I knew Robin (Ventura) really well. So they had given some Bobby-isms, a little intel from the '99 season, and I think what I can remember about you more than anything is that you were strategic," said Zeile. "To you it was a battle on the field, it was 'Go out and do your job,' but there was an intellectual game, there was a chess match going on with you and the opposing manager.
"Every time you made a lineup card, you made a decision, and I think strategically you were as good as any manager, especially in the National League, that I ever played for, because you thought through every move ahead of time."