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Good Baseball Coaches Make A Difference

Ron Washington making a difference with the winning Braves - Image Credit: Bill Menzel Latino Sports

LOS ANGELES, CA — Baseball coaches and managers have come and gone over the years. Managers have lasting names, but coaches, for the most part, are forgotten. That’s too bad because they are the glue that keeps a ball club together on and off the field. They are with the players every day. They are the first to arrive and the last to leave the ballpark and are baseball lifers to the core.

Coaches bring their life experiences to the clubhouse, where they will share their unique stories and vital advice with the team’s young players. It goes beyond all the instructions and tweaks to a swing or a pitch. They are so crucial to the development and cohesiveness of a team. Whether it is advice on how to approach an at-bat or deal with the press, they know it all—having experienced the good and bad of what could happen in the career of a professional ball player.

Brian Snitker, manager of the Atlanta Braves – Image Credit: Simon Lindenblatt/Latino Sports

They will take the bullet for an organization when the lineups stop hitting, or the bullpens break down. They will get fired like managers because you can’t fire the roster. They will eventually find another job in another organization and repeat the cycle many times in their coaching career.

I love to watch them on the field pre-game with their players. The love and passion they have for the game is a beautiful thing to see. One of my favorites is Ron Washington, third base coach and infield guru for the Atlanta Braves. Watching and listening to his interaction with the young and veteran infielders of the Braves is fantastic, as he tirelessly works with them before every game of the year.

Ron Washington – Image Credit: Simon Lindenblatt/Latino Sports

If you can get to a game early enough to watch these coaches around the batting cage, hitting grounders, or in the outfield, you will see another interesting aspect of the game. They constantly teach and correct their players as they try to improve them. It is always fascinating to see them working with all the other coaches from their organization in spring training, where ninety percent of their coaches are roaming the back fields of those complexes.

This game takes work. Get a hit 30% of the time, and you may get to the Hall of Fame. Get a 30% on your driver’s test, and you will ride the bus. Therefore, veterans are always trying to improve as well as the young ones. They need constant coaching from someone watching for little things to help them improve. Coaches see things that most players don’t. A player may view a video of himself and see one or two things; his coach will see three or four things.

I understand they are getting little recognition. After all, no one goes to a game to watch the coaches. Remember this, he is not there to collect the batter’s elbow pads and give him his sliding gloves or to toss a foul ball into the stands. Next time you watch a first base coach with a stopwatch in his hand, it is because one of his duties will be to time the pitcher’s delivery to the plate to see if he can get an edge for his runner. They study opponents’ arms and will know who they can and can not run on. The coach goes unnoticed by the fans but not by the players.

Ron Washington – Image Credit: Emma Sharon/Latino Sports

It is time to recognize Baseball’s low-profile, intricate pieces. They are the last remnant of boots on the ground, baseball men on the field. They can never be replaced by “Numbers Jockeys” who don’t have years of experience in uniform, either as players or coaches. Baseball coaches make a difference, just look at the Braves coaching staff.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Joe Grady

    September 30, 2023 at 9:20 am

    Great article by a baseball man. Not by analyzing data

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