After a six-year stint in the Twins organization that saw him break into the major leagues in 2016, Dean became a free agent for the first time in his career this past offseason.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Dean, a former Cheap Stitched Jerseys third round pick out of Boston College. “My agent asked me my thoughts on possibly playing in Korea because there was a team with interest calling.”
Not wanting to prematurely close any doors, Dean listened to Kia Tigers’ offer and, after talking to former teammates who had played overseas and consulting with his wife Katie, the Naugatuck, Conn., native decided the opportunity was too good to pass up.
So far it looks as though it was a good decision, as Dean has found some success on the mound for the first-place Tigers, posting a 4-5 record and 4.43 ERA in 14 starts in a hitter-friendly league.
While at times the game may look like it comes easy to the lefty, living on the other side of the world in a completely foreign land is anything but. Aside from being thousands of miles away from his wife and family, the language barrier, Dean said, is the toughest part of playing in Korea, and having an interpreter is essential.
The Rooneys’ management philosophy has carried over to their heads of football operations through the years, including current leader Kevin Colbert, who is the first to hold the general manager title. It’s about drafting well, making key free-agent and trade acquisitions and then developing the players with excellent coaching staffs. And not overreacting to anything negative.
Patience is key for this team. That explains it having just three head coaches in the past 48 years: Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin. All three went through occasional losing periods, but those were followed by multiple playoff seasons and Super Bowls.