Name: Andy Skeels
Age: 45
Occupation: Manager of the San Jose Giants

Andy Skeels has served as manager of the San Jose Giants for three seasons, including the 2009 season when the San Jose Giants set a new record with 93 victories on their way to winning the California League crown.

Skeels attended University of Arkansas where he double majored in English and Philosophy and played as an All-American before he was drafted by the San Diego Padres in 1987. A former catcher, Skeels spent the following 12 years playing professional baseball with the Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees organizations. Under Skeels, The San Jose Giants were honored as the Class A Advanced Team of the Year in 2011 after a 90-win campaign that resulted in a playoff berth.

How long have you lived and worked in San Jose?
I live here during the season but I live in Arizona during the off season. This is my third year managing the San Jose Giants, so I’ve been here in San Jose for three seasons.

At what point did you decide to make coaching your career?
I’ve been coaching and managing since 1998 and I made that decision after I was done playing. Every player gets to the end of the line where they can’t play any longer and they move on to do something else, and if you’re lucky enough you get a job in baseball.

What do you like most about San Jose?

The fans are great here, and everyone from the people in our front office to my coaching staff. Also, the weather and the proximity to San Francisco; I think that’s a big benefit for us as a club. I grew up in California so a lot of it is familiar to me; it gives me a chance to see family and friends when we play here.

What has been the most exciting game of the season so far?
The game where we went into extra innings, there were 12 innings [against Bakersfield Blaze, May 25]. That one leaps out. We won that one. There are no highlights when you lose.

At the end of a hard day on the field, what keeps you coming back?
Well, I’ve been doing this for 27 years so I must love it. The kids keep you coming back, the game keeps you coming back, and there’s always something to do a little bit better the next day. It’s a long season and baseball is a sport that is born out of hope and optimism, and I guess at heart I still believe in all those things. Every day is a chance to see something new that you’ve never seen and to see players develop in ways that you haven’t seen yet. It’s a pretty good deal to be able to come out here every day.

How do you spend your free time when you’re not at the ballpark?
We don’t have much, but typically when I get a chance I’ll go play golf as much as I can. Maybe a museum here and there, but it’s a long season and there’s a lot of travel so typically on days off, you just try to slow down a little bit and step away from everything for a day.

What are some of your favorite places in San Jose?
Most of my free time I spend at golf courses. Coyote Creek takes care of us pretty well. I like downtown, there are some interesting things down there.

Who is the most interesting person you’ve met in San Jose?
I would say baseball’s a great sport because it allows you opportunities to meet so many kinds of people. Baseball fans provide such an interesting tapestry and cross-section of people everywhere you go, so at the ballpark I’ve been very fortunate to meet a lot of interesting people.

We recently had some veterans here and I was fortunate enough to get to talk to them and hear their stories, like about how they were wounded in Iraq. It’s always interesting to hear about kids who are the same age as my players who are willing to take on such a noble effort as going to war. Those are interesting people to me. I think more people should hear their stories and for me I always look forward to meeting those kinds of people.

More information on the San Jose Giants and the 2012 Season Schedule.