By Robert Held
New Britain Bees manager Stan Cliburn will be managing in the Atlantic League All-Star game, but he will not be representing his current team. Last year, Cliburn managed the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the Freedom Division, and led his then team all the way to the Atlantic League Championship Series, before losing to the Somerset Patriots.
Ironically, Cliburn will be managing against some of his current players, since the Bees play in the Liberty Division and the Blue Crabs are in the Freedom Division. However, since Cliburn led Southern Maryland to the championship series last season, he along with Patriots manager Brett Jodie earned the privilege of leading each division at this season’s All-Star game.
The 2016 Atlantic League All-Star game will be held at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on Wednesday, July 13. This stadium is home to the Lancaster Barnstormers from the Freedom Division, who are this year’s host for the All-Star game.
“I feel honored by the Atlantic League to manage the Freedom Division,” said Cliburn. “Any time you are asked to be involved in an All-Star Game, it’s a privilege, but it is especially in Lancaster, a place I love.”
Cliburn led New Britain’s former team the Rock Cats from 2001-2005 and recently returned to the Hardware City to manage the new Atlantic League team the Bees. He was a long-time manager in the Minor Leagues for the Minnesota Twins before going to the Atlantic League in 2014. His first job there was as the hitting coach for Lancaster.
The Bees manager has coached in the minor leagues for several teams such as the Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins over 16 seasons. Cliburn, also played in the majors as a catcher for the California Angels. Besides the Atlantic League, Cliburn has also managed in the Texas-Louisiana League and the American Association.
Besides nearly leading his team to a league title last year, Cliburn hit the 1,500 career win mark as a manager.
While Cliburn has an impressive managerial resume, so does his fellow All-Star game manager Jodie. He has been leading the Patriots since 2013. Jodie had some big shoes to fill as a manager because he took over Somerset from legendary manager Sparky Lyle.
The Patriots manager played for Lyle from 2003-05 and then coached with him from 2006-12. Jodie has led Somerset to the playoffs in all three of his seasons as their manager. However, his first title did not come until last season.
During his career, Jodie played as a pitcher, and even faced the Barnstormers, this year’s All-Star game host, in the team’s first ever game as a franchise. Last season, on August 26, Jodie became the fastest manager in Atlantic League history to reach 250 career wins.
“Getting the privilege to manage the All-Star Game is great because you get to represent this fine league, and it means you had a really good season the year before as we won the Championship,” said Jodie. “I know Lancaster will put on a great event. They always seem to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s. My family will be there so I’ll still get to be with them. We will go to Hershey Park, which is nearby, with my kids. It’ll just be fun to see all the talent this league has to offer at one venue.”