SPOKANE, Wash.-- Wednesday marked a milestone for Indians manager Tim Hulett. He joined the club in 2007, and has been around ever since - for more games than anyone who has ever had the title "skipper" in Spokane.
"I love coming to Spokane, I love the Northwest League, so I'm really appreciative of it," Hulett said.
Eight years was never in Hulett's plans.
"I was just gonna experiment, see how the season went," Hulett said.
One summer turned into two, and before long Hulett became more than a seasonal visitor to Avista Stadium.
"I fell in love with it," Hulett said. "They keep hiring me back, so I keep coming back."
He has, 543 times to be exact. On Wednesday he set the team record for games managed, passing Harry Ostedeik, Spokane's skipper from 1910 to 1913.
"I feel very fortunate."
Like so many coaches, he loves the basics of the game. That makes him well suited for a job that requires starting from scratch year after year.
"They're hungry for baseball, they're easy to coach," Hulett said. "They love to listen and learn."
It's not unlike the gig he holds down during the spring, as a high school coach in Louisiana.
"It's not that much different for me," Hulett said. "I coach the high school team the same way."
Which has yielded good results. Back-to-back state titles there, as well as some hardware in Spokane. They won the 2008 Northwest League title, and made a return to the championship round two years later.
"You never get tired of winning championships."
One of the joys of the job, just like seeing top prospects climb the ranks from Spokane to the big leagues.
"You take a lot of pride in it."
With a talented roster that's off to their best start in over a century, Hulett may soon get those experiences again. And with that kind of success, 543 more games could be on the way.
"Let's do it."