BayBears manager Turner Ward is the reigning Southern League Manager of the Year. Ward guided the BayBears to its best regular-season record (84-54) since 1998 and its third league title last season. It was the first year managing above Class A for Ward, who spent two seasons as a skipper in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization before beginning a three-year stint as BayBears hitting coach in 2008.
Drafted by the New York Yankees in 1986, Ward hit .251 in parts of 12 Major League seasons with six teams. He also spent a portion of the 1993 season playing for the Knoxville Smokies while in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. Ward claimed a pair of World Series rings as a member of the Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993, and belted a pinch-hit homer for the Arizona Diamondbacks in their 1999 National League Division Series against the New York Mets.
Accompanying Ward will be BayBears pitching coach Dan Carlson, hitting coach Jay Bell and athletic trainer Ben Fraser.
The BayBears have carried over their success from the 2011 campaign into the 2012 season. Under the guidance of Ward and his staff, the 2012 BayBears have been one of the top teams in the Southern League South Division, and have sported one of the league's five best team ERAs entering the month of June. Mobile also features a strong lineup with three different players among the top five in both home runs and RBIs: Alfredo Marte, Matt Davidson and Marc Krauss.
On June 7, 2012, the Southern League will announce the South Division All-Stars. On June 15, 2012, the league will release the South Division starting lineup and pitcher.