Friday, October 7, 2011
The Big Hurt Is Open To Being A Hitting Coach
I remember on the night that Ozzie Guillen announced he was done with the White Sox that CSN Chicago had Frank Thomas on the postgame show to talk about Ozzie and the future of the White Sox. At the time, Chuck Garfien threw out a tongue-in-cheek question to Thomas about possibly taking over as the team's hitting coach when the team hired a new manager.
Only Hurt didn't laugh it off. He answered in a fashion that, while not coming out and saying he wanted to do it, at the very least made it sound like something that he'd already thought about before.
So now that the White Sox have announced Robin Ventura, Frank's old buddy and teammate, as manager, the question has been posed to Thomas one more time.
And yes, Frank is still totally open to an idea that is the equivalent of a 14-year old Fornelli wet dream.
"Interesting. I haven't had a chance to think about anything yet," Thomas said on Chicago Tribune Live on Thursday. "Robin's one of my best friends in life and I'll definitely listen."
Haven't had a chance to think about it my ass, you've already talked about it in the last few weeks.
Now, while the idea of having both Ventura and Thomas -- the two guys who I tried to be as a Little Leaguer -- in the White Sox dugout definitely brings out some nostalgic butterflies in my stomach, I'm not sure how great of an idea it would be.
Frank Thomas loved to study hitting. He looked at Walt Hriniak the same way a lot of people look at Jesus. The man devoured hitting, cared about nothing else but hitting, and wanted to be one of the greatest hitters ever.
But can he coach it?
Generally, when former players get into coaching, the great ones don't make great coaches. For a lot of them, it's hard to understand that some players just don't have the ability they had.
I can already see Frank Thomas asking Gordon Beckham "Whaddya mean you can't reach out and take that low and outside fastball and one-arm that son of a bitch 450 feet down the third base line? It's easy!"
Then again, the job of a hitting coach in MLB really isn't as difficult as it's made out to be. By the time most players get to the Majors, they already know how to hit. A hitting coach's job isn't to teach the player how to hit, but to help mechanics and maybe fix some mistakes they might be making.
You're not sculpting the entire statue, just chiseling off an imperfection here and there.
At the very least we'd probably see a lineup that was much more patient at the plate.
So maybe Hurt wouldn't be the worst person to have for the job.
Besides, it wouldn't be the first time he replaced Greg Walker.