Dickerson and his fellow Oriole coaches wait to hear their fate - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Dickerson and his fellow Oriole coaches wait to hear their fate

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

BOSTON—Everyone seems focused on the status of Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette. It seems they forget other members of the staff are also in limbo.

The contracts of Showalter’s coaches are expiring, too. Pitching coach Roger McDowell, finishing his second season, and hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh, who is in his fourth year, have been criticized by fans. Other coaches who don’t receive as much attention are in the same precarious position.

First base coach Wayne Kirby and bench coach John Russell are completing their eighth seasons with Showalter. Bullpen coach Alan Mills and assistant hitting coach Howie Clark are in their second season. Einar Diaz, who was an assistant hitting coach for three seasons, has been helping out in the bullpen for the past three years.

The one who has known Showalter the longest is third base coach Bobby Dickerson, who played for him in the Yankees’ system for three seasons 30 years ago.

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Dickerson’s knowledge is admired around the game, but he knows the realities of a coach’s life.

The 53-year-old is finishing his sixth season on Showalter’s staff. He also worked with Showalter for three seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks and joined the Orioles as minor league infield coordinator in 2010, just before Showalter arrived.

“I’ve been in the game as a coach since 1994 full-time,” Dickerson said. “Every year since then, I’ve only been on two two-year contracts. It’s kind of the norm. You work, do your job the best you can as a coach and help players and help the team win.

“Every year, you go into the offseason with uncertainty, so that’s no different than throwing BP in your batting practice group or getting up and shaving. As a professional coach, it’s pretty much normal.”

Dickerson knows he’s not going to get special attention because of his contract situation.

“Everyone in the organization pretty much from top-to-bottom is pretty much in the last year,” Dickerson said “It’s a little bit of uncertainty. I wouldn’t really say I paid attention to all that. I’ve always just paid attention to my contract status.

“Four years ago just because Buck had four years left on his contract or Dan, it didn’t really matter to me. Mine was one year. My evaluation was separate from theirs … I really don’t pay attention to what’s going on.”

Because this year has been so difficult, you’d think Dickerson would be worried.

“This time of year is the same,” Dickerson said. “It’s a little bit different this year because we’ve had such a tough season.”

In less than two weeks in July, Dickerson saw the trades of two players he helped nurture, Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop. He became emotional the day after Schoop was traded. Kirby is close with Adam Jones, who could be in his final week with the Orioles.

“I think that’s the personality of this coaching staff,” Dickerson said. “I know myself, I get really vested in guy’s lives and their professional career. I think relationship building as a coach is huge. If you’re going to ask players to do things [that are] tough, make tough changes, if you’re going to be tough on them, you’ve got to get to know them and understand where they come from. I’ve gotten close to Manny, really close, and Jonathan.”

Dickerson stays in touch with players he coached with Arizona and the Chicago Cubs.

“Relationship building is huge [in] coaching,” Dickerson said. “It’s not always hugs and kisses. There are some spankings involved. The guys know when you genuinely care about them, where that’s coming from when you get on them. I take a lot of pride in that, getting close to the players so I can tell them hard things, and they understand it’s coming from a good place.”

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. boss61

    September 25, 2018 at 8:27 am

    I can make Dickerson, Kirby and Mills arguments. However, I think it’s more important that a new manager install his own guys. I do believe it’s time for a new manager. In hindsight, that day was the wild card loss in Toronto.

    • VICTORTEE

      September 25, 2018 at 9:01 am

      What day told you we should drop “Dumpster Diving Dan”? The day he selected one of the many rule 5 guys he saddled Buck with? Or the days he traded Eduardo Rodriguez or Josh Hader or one of the other young pitchers?

      • Rich Dubroff

        September 25, 2018 at 9:39 am

        The next few weeks should be interesting ones, Victor.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 25, 2018 at 9:38 am

      Boss, there are many fans that agree with you.

      • boss61

        September 25, 2018 at 10:59 am

        I did not think so at the time. At the time, not putting in Zach, in a tie game on the road, was a sound baseball decision. It’s still a sound baseball decision, just one that seems to have lost the clubhouse.

  2. SpinMaster

    September 25, 2018 at 8:45 am

    I would hate to see Dickerson go since he seems (if what I see on MASN is an example) to be a great infield coach. He is working with some of our young players (Mancini, Nunez, etc) on the finer points of playing infield. I can also see the special relationship that Kirby has with Adam and some of the other outfielders. What he has done to turn Mancini into a serviceable left fielder is amazing. Mill is in his first (?) year in the bullpen so is it too early to dismiss his contributions to our relief corps.
    As for McDowell and Coolbaugh, the present condition of our pitching staff and our one dimensional hitters, speaks for itself.
    All this being said, if we are to have a new manager, then he should be able to pick his coaches but I would hate to lose Dickerson, Kirby and Mills.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 25, 2018 at 9:41 am

      Spin, if a new manager came in he would likely bring his own coaches. I have watched Dickerson and Kirby up close in spring training teach the infielders and outfielders, and they do impressive work. Mills is finishing his second season.

    • Jbigle1

      September 25, 2018 at 3:18 pm

      You make a good point. Nunez is playing a pretty good third base. It’s not Manny Machado over there but his glove is pretty glove and he wasn’t exactly known for that coming up. The orioles infield defense was never an issue before this season but there’s a lot of easy reasons to see why that happened. I’m sure the next man up won’t be keeping any of these guys around but that’s the game.

  3. Orial

    September 25, 2018 at 9:09 am

    When/if Buck goes unfortunately(for some) his staff should also go. New manager will want “his” people. One name that could replace Dickerson and be a real popular fan choice would be JJ Hardy. Hardy certainly could coach the infielders(he already did). I’ve heard Mike Bordick’s name mentioned as possible Mgr(though probably not popular with fans). But a Bordick,Hardy might be a start. Again it’s the new mgrs call.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 25, 2018 at 9:42 am

      Orial, I am eager to see what the next few weeks bring.

  4. Creatively09

    September 25, 2018 at 9:30 am

    I’ll keep it short and simple: With all due respect to the coaches and all their accomplishments during their time in Baltimore, it’s time to clean house. Thank you all for your service, and good luck to you in your future endeavors.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 25, 2018 at 9:43 am

      Creatively, yours is a very popular view.

    • Orial

      September 25, 2018 at 11:30 am

      Cut and dry but perfect.

  5. cedar

    September 25, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    Getting the right pitching coach seems to be near impossible. Several of the past coaches were brought in because of the great work they did with another staff. Only to come here and fail. Is it the pitchers? The stadium? The defense? The coaches? The minor league instruction? My guess is it’s all the above. So getting a new coach without paying attention to the other factors seems like a recipe for the same poor results.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 25, 2018 at 10:17 pm

      Dave Wallace did an excellent job as pitching coach, Cedar.

  6. Cmoney49

    September 25, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    I will miss Buck, he brought us back to respectability. We are in for some really bad years. I will not renew my season tickets unless they bring back AJ.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 25, 2018 at 10:17 pm

      Cmoney, even if you don’t renew your tickets, I hope you’ll still read us.

  7. PA Bird Lover

    September 26, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Coaches like Dickerson are rare. But, no matter, if Buck goes they all go.
    As for DD, he’s confusing. Not convinced he’s the man or is it the Angelos won’t let him alone. I’ve read they signed Davis because the old Man wanted him.
    In my opinion, great teams are built by having ownership stand aside, keep checkbook nearby and trust the GM.
    Maybe DD should go as well

  8. SIXDAYWAR

    September 27, 2018 at 6:59 am

    I think that I have three bobbleheads left….Adam Jones, Chris Davis and Buck . I think they are flea market worthy. This is Treys team now…let the rest of my Bobbles go…CD will be the toughest but lets NOT be like the Phils who hung onto Ryan Howard until the bitter end ….Texas has money and the will to spend split the difference ….
    I hear Joe Girardi might be interested in the dugout. Is there a better pitching coach than the legendary JIM PALMER ?

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