Let’s be real about this first base coaching nonsense. Davey Lopes was nice and all and while the team’s stolen base percentage did lead the league the last few years it was only slightly higher than the years before his arrival. They already had good base-stealers. Lopes’ contribution has been severely over-rated. It’s not like he was out there performing brain surgery. He was working a damn stop watch. Lots of people could do that job and I’m sure the Phillies will find one. Hopefully they will hire the only first base coach endorsed by WSBGMs: Steve Jeltz.
First, let’s look at the actual responsibilities of the first base coach:
1) Yell “BACK!” when the pitcher makes a move to throw over.
2) Congratulate the player when he makes it to first safely, regardless of the reason. (He’s not there to judge, just to support unconditionally.)
3) Argue with the umpire when the runner is called out on a close play, not to get the call changed, just so the player doesn’t argue and get thrown out. (This job includes holding the player back physically so some strength is needed.)
4) Stand relatively close to that thing painted on the ground that looks like the symbol next to the “p” button on your keyboard. (This one –“ [ “.)
5) Hold the players’ shinguards, elbow pads, batting gloves, etc.
6) When a player makes the final out of the inning at first, a first base coach must carry his helmet and equipment back to the dugout and keep the player company before another player brings him his glove.
7) Make small talk with the opposing first baseman.
8) Hold the stopwatch.
9) If instructed by your manager, control the running game.
10) Catch slow grounders and then toss them to young fans in the stands.
11) Avoid all other batted balls that cannot be caught easily with bare hands. (Also, avoiding shattered bats and drunk Chicago fans that might attack is recommended.)
12) Participate in one Fanatic on-field entertainment scenario per homestand. Includes, but not limited to, dancing, smashing opposing team helmet or allowing the Fanatic to kiss and/or pelvic thrust in your direction.
Steve Jeltz can do all of these things as well as Davey Lopes, with the possible small exception of #9. Sure, because of his French roots, he may yell “REVENEZ!” instead of “BACK!” but I’m sure the players will adjust. And just think of what else Steve will bring to the team that Davey didn’t.
1) The all-time MLB French-born leader in most games played, at bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, runs batted in, and walks. Those credentials demand respect.
2) Career .210 AVG/.308 OBP means he could take over for Greg Gross as hitting coach if the team struggled.
3) With a .971 career fielding percentage you know he’ll field his area well and take some of the pressure off those over-worked right field ballgirlz. Sure, Lopes’ fielding percentage was .977, but Jeltz had way better range so he made more errors. If you understood UZR and Sabermetrics you would know that.
4) He only made slightly over $1 million during his playing days, so he won’t pull that “I’m not compensated for my value therefore my principles are compromised if I keep pulling down six figures” bullshit.
5) Jheri curl.
It seems pretty obvious to WSBGMs that Steve Jeltz should be the next first base coach for the Phillies. We hope you agree and spread the message of “Jeltz For First.” Thank you.