Unfinished BusinessPosted: September 1, 2010
This Just In….
There has been an alleged sighting of a Bob Stoops looking fellow on the campus of USC. The man, riding a beach cruiser, was wearing sunglasses, a backpack, and grey Chuck Taylors. Witnesses said that they saw the man with a wedding ring on walk into a classroom at USC and sat down in a nondescript seat without saying a word.
No student asked him if he was supposed to be in the classroom with allegedly caught the man off-guard. Reports said that the man had come prepared with comments in case he was asked about his legitimacy. They included, “I’m a Narc”, “No I am making sure my kid comes to class”, and the real answer, “I’m finishing up my degree.”
The “Bob Stoops” look-alike was actually me and I am finishing what I had started 13 years ago. When I left USC I had a total of 22 units remaining on a Finance degree. I took 2 correspondence classes in 2003 and 2004 respectively while playing in Houston. So that left me 14 to go.
The short story is that new Head Coach, Frank Cruz, had interviewed me for an assistant coaching position on the team. He said that I could take classes while I coached. It isn’t a paid position, as I am still pursuing broadcasting or a paid coaching job.
So that is what happened. All of a sudden, I was enrolled in classes and about to return to college 4 days after my 35th birthday.
For those of you who don’t know me, I am a guy that jokes around a lot. But when it comes to coaching, I am very serious. As I think about it, I have been coached by some of the best in the game.
Tim Ammentorp (Redondo Union HS Baseball Coach) taught me about character and integrity. He also showed me that different players have to be coached and handled in different ways. He has been the biggest influence in my life after my Dad.
Mike Gillespie (My coach at USC and now UCI) has one of the highest baseball IQ’s in the game. He taught me the details of fundamental baseball which are essential to winning. He also taught me how to care for players and still hold them accountable.
Manny Acta (Manager Cleveland Indians) was my manager in Single A. He was the person who taught me how to use my hands when fielding a ball. He also taught me baseball strategy at the professional level. His baseball IQ is through the roof.
Jackie Moore (Bench Coach Texas Rangers) was my Double A manager. He taught me how to care for players. I have never been around another person in the game who cared for his guys the way Jackie does. He taught me how to respect players, as well as, how to defend them if an umpire gets out of line.
Tony Pena (Bench Coach New York Yankees) was our Triple A manager. He taught me that you can never let up in the game of baseball. He also showed me how to identify what players do well so that you can help them get back on track. Another thing he taught me was how to smile even when the game is crushing your heart.
Jim Hickey (Pitching Coach Tampa Bay Rays) was our Triple A and Big League Pitching Coach in Houston. Jim taught me that coaches have to be consistent with their actions. He is a master at communication and unmatched in identifying pitcher mechanics.
Mike Maddux (Pitching Coach Texas Rangers) was our Double A pitching coach. He and I talked almost everyday about baseball an hour before batting practice. He taught me how to identify holes in batters swings or tendencies of base runners. I also got to watch him mentor Roy Oswalt and teach him the value of strikes and balls in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.
Jimy Williams (Manager Houston Astros) taught me how to throw a baseball with accuracy and carry. He taught me how to teach the fundamentals of throwing which may have been the biggest piece of wisdom I have ever received in ball. Along with those skills, Jimy taught me how to define rolls for position players so that they can anticipate when they are going to be used according to the situation.
Gene Lamont (Third Base Coach Detroit Tigers) was our third base coach in Houston. Gene may have the highest baseball IQ of anyone I have met….Robbie Thompson (Third Base Coach Yankees) may have the only mind that rivals Gene’s. Gene taught me about aggressive base running and understanding the value of each out according to the situation. He also taught me how to force an opponents into making a low percentage decision.
Joe Girardi (Manager New York Yankees) taught me how to give a team a Vision and purpose. I have never run so hard in my life as I did with the Yankees. It was because Joe changed my vision of why we run. He is a big believer in staying away from the Law of Diminishing Returns. The Yankees work harder than any team I have been on or can imagine and Joe taught me how to properly rest players.
I feel fortunate to have had these men coach me. It is now my turn to pass on the wisdom I have learned from coaches who taught me about the game. My only goal is to make sure that these kids that I coach know that I care about them. That they understand that this isn’t about me. It’s about them.