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Life in the Minors: Chapter 9 - Coaching in the Minors

by Drew Casey
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Anthony Pucik : WFUV Sports 

The Mini Mets and Baby Bombers rely heavily on their coaches to show them the ropes of professional ball.

For the fourteenth consecutive year, WFUV talks to the members of the Brooklyn Cyclones and the Staten Island Yankees in the New York Single-A Penn League about the trials and tribulations of being minor league ballplayers. The long bus rides, the low pay, 76 games in 80 days. This is a look into Life in the Minors: How the Other Half Lives.

This weekDrew Casey and Brendan Bowers discuss coaching in the minors.

The Brooklyn Cyclones with Drew Casey:

With the New York Penn League All Star game coming up Tuesday on Coney Island, the Brooklyn Cyclones continue to hover just above .500. They are currently leading the wild card race, but the Connecticut Tigers and Staten Island Yankees are right in the mix. Mets first round pick Michael Conforto leads the team in hitting with an average well above .300 and hopes to continue to lead the Cyclones toward the playoffs. The team has been successful this season in large part due to the coaching they have received in the Mets organization. 
 
For Cyclones first baseman Jeff Diehl, the coaching that he has received in the minors has been more advanced than in high school. The 2011 draft pick utilizes the depth of knowledge that each of the coaches has about the game. 
 
Fourth year pro and Cyclones outfielder Joe Tuschak couldn't agree more. He believes that the coaching in the minors is the best around. While some of his coaches at Northern High School in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania played college baseball, there is no comparison to his minor league coaches that have over 30 years of experience in America's pastime. 
 
Cyclones catcher and Florida native Tomas Nido commented on this year's coaching staff in Brooklyn, especially manager Tom Gamboa. Nido stated that Gamboa likes to speak to players on the team individually and has very good communication skills. Because of these qualities, the team respects Gamboa and listens when he speaks. Gamboa means well for the entire team and is a large part of the Cyclones organization.
 
As for Gamboa himself, he's very modest and humble. When asked about his job in Brooklyn, he simply said that it was his duty to give these players an opportunity to play and show their skills. In order to get the most out of their ability, Gamboa is a firm believer in molding all of the players into a cohesive unit. 
 
In all, coaching in the minors plays a huge part in the development of these minor leaguers. The Cyclones will continue to learn from the coaching staff down the stretch and hope to bring a championship back to Coney Island. 
 
Participating in this Tuesday's New York Penn League All Star game for the Cyclones are Amed Rosario, Jhoan Urena, Michael Bernal, Marcos Molina, Shane Bay, and Corey Oswalt.
 
The team will have 13 games left in the regular season following the All Star Game. Seven will be against Staten Island, and six will be against Tri-City.
 

The Staten Island Yankees with Brendan Bowers:

Being a manager in the minor leagues, especially at the short season single A can be tricky.  The goal of any manager is always to win today, but in the New York Penn league there are several different things the manager has to worry about.  Unlike the Majors where you have the same 8 starts almost every game; mangers in this league have to make sure everyone on the team gets a chance to show the team and organization what they can do.  While managers always what to win games, the development of these young ballplayers comes first in this league. 

Austin Aune, the second round pick by the Yankees in 2012, thinks that there is not much difference between coaching in high school and the minor leagues.  He says that coaching staffs at both levels have the same goal; to get the player to the next stage.  In high school their goal was to get the player to play college ball, or drafted, and in the minor leagues, their goal is to get the player to the next level.  Austin Aune has been struggling this season, hitting .223 with three HR’s and 16 RBI’s.

Coming out of Washington State in this past draft, outfielder Collin Slaybaugh says the coaching staff in Staten Island has been helping him a lot.  He says that each coach approaches coaching with a different philosophy, and that they have all helped his game in one aspect or another.  Slaybaugh has seen action in 22 games so far this season, batting .234 with five doubles and eight RBI’s.

Manager for the Staten Island Yankees, Mario Garza, says that the main difference between amateur baseball and the minor leagues is development.  Whereas in armature baseball the goal is to win now, Garza says that he and the rest of the coaching staff have to put development of the players ahead of winning, because the goal of minor league baseball is to create big leaguers.  Garza goes on to say that there are two steps to molding armature baseball players in professional baseball players in Staten Island.  The two steps are, teaching the players how to handle the daily grind of playing baseball every day, and teaching them to be Yankees because there are higher expectations and tradition that go along with being a professional baseball player.

 

The Staten Island Yankees are 30-29 right now and are 1.5 games behind the wild card leading Brooklyn Cyclones.  While the coaches have to keep development in mind, there is no denying the fact that they are trying to drive this team into the playoffs.  With the allstar game three days away, the Yankees are heading into their last two weeks of the season and have seven games left against Brooklyn.  These seven games against Brooklyn could very well decide which team makes the playoffs.  Let the rivalry begin.  

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