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Chrome Iguana Productions
Former BYU player and big leaguer Cory Snyder is managing the minor-league St. George RoadRunners.

A former Olympian, major-league veteran and All-American from Brigham Young University now serves as a travel agent, equipment manager, talent scout, player agent and hitting coach — all at the same time.

Ex-Cougar star Cory Snyder performs all those responsibilities while managing the St. George RoadRunners of the Golden Baseball League — an independent, Class A-level league with teams in Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California and Canada.

"You wear a lot of hats, to be honest," said Snyder, who earned All-America honors at BYU in 1983 before competing in the 1984 Olympics and forging a nine-year career in the major leagues, mostly with the Cleveland Indians.

"There's a lot more involved than in affiliated baseball," Snyder added. "But when you get on the field, it's all worth it."

Snyder became the RoadRunners' manager last season on the advice of former major leaguer Garry Templeton, one of the league's managers.

"He called me two years ago in the off-season and said, 'We're looking to put a team in St. George. I know you moved up there and you'd love doing this,"' Snyder recalled. "I had been doing a lot of camps and clinics, and he knew how much I loved working with kids."

Managing in St. George allows Snyder to stay close to his wife and two young daughters, who live in Mapleton.

"Family is very important to me," Snyder said. "It's only three hours from home, so the family can come and see me when we have home games."

Snyder's job also lets him pursue his passion.

"My love is hitting, and I enjoy teaching kids how to hit," he said. "It's something I enjoy and something I know."

Snyder hit 149 home runs during his major league career, including 33 homers with 82 RBIs in 1987.

Imparting his knowledge about hitting has enabled the RoadRunners to lead the league in batting average, hits, home runs, runs scored and fewest strikeouts.

"I've been doing what he's told me the whole year," said former major-league catcher Wiki Gonzalez, who is batting .369 after joining the team. "When I feel like I'm doing something wrong or I don't feel right hitting, I talk to him. He's been able to help me out."

Snyder also demands something more fundamental.

"He always expects you to play hard, play 100 percent, every day," Gonzalez said, "and we do."

Taking that approach becomes pivotal.

"It's more cut-throat here than I thought it was going to be," Snyder said. "You don't really have time to take on projects, overhaul kids and turn them into great athletes.

"Most of these kids have a pretty good idea of how to play. My job is to get kids back to affiliated ball. I say, 'You put up numbers' because scouts look at the top of the leader list and say, 'OK, that guy is in St. George. I'm going to call Cory and see about the kid.'

"If a kid doesn't get taken, my job is to make calls in the off-season and say, 'You know what? Give this guy a chance. Invite him to spring training."'

Snyder also must fulfill more mundane duties.

"I've got to go find players," he said. "I'm the traveling secretary. We don't have a trainer, so when we go on the road, I've got to make sure the trainer's bag is there. I've got to make sure that the laundry is put out for the guy who's going to do the laundry."

Dealing with an $83,000 salary cap for a 22-man roster can prove frustrating.

"Parts of the job just really wear on me, probably the money part and negotiating the deals," Snyder said. "It's nice that I have a general manager in Rick Berry and we work together. Two years into it, we're feeling our way through to find out the best way to do it.

"But to be honest, I enjoy these players. I try to treat them like they're professionals."

RoadRunners' outfielder Ryan Stevenson, the league leader in hits and runs, believes Snyder's approach goes beyond the professional.

"He just really cares about all his players," Stevenson said. "He really wants to see all his players succeed and get to the next level. He wants to push guys to their best potential."