Knights manager not thinking ahead to MLB opportunities

Charlotte Knights manager Joel Skinner got his first and only taste of managing at the Major League level back in 2002, when he served as interim manager for about half of the season with the Cleveland Indians. This year, he’s eclipsed the 250 win mark with the Knights. He already holds the all-time win record with Charlotte, but he’s not looking ahead to another MLB gig.

“I’m here focused on the Knights, and player development,” Skinner said. “That’s where I am in my stage of my career.”

The Knights feature several veterans with MLB experience, and pitcher Brad Penny said Skinner would do well at the next level.

“To me, a manager goes up there, and if your team gets along with him, which they would with Joel, they’ll be successful,” Penny said. “It’s all about players that you’re owner is going to give you, for one, as a manager.”

Although Skinner’s success could mean future opportunities to pursue a MLB managerial seat, he said there’s something much more important going on in his life.

“As we speak, my oldest daughter is labor (on Wednesday) with our second grandchild,” Skinner said. “So, hopefully everything goes well. Ten years from now I’ll be focusing on my grandkids.”

Skinner said family will always come first, but didn’t completely rule out a return to a Major League bench.

“You never know, “ Skinner said. “You’re never going to close those types of doors for sure, but again, it’s when you’re in athletics you’re focused on today, and the now, and that’s where I’m at right now.”