I never played organized baseball, so I resigned myself to enjoying a myriad of disorganized sports. With no professional experience, I was shocked when I was selected to be the bench coach for the Australian Canine Baseball national team, The Wallaby Wannabies. I really never knew what a bench coach was, and my ignorance continued well into my first (and only) season.
Nobody gave me a manual to read. Nobody tutored me on bench coaching duties. The manager, a surly Schnauzer by the name of Klaus Krakyernuts, gave me no clue as to what he expected of me. So, as I have learned from watching the St. Louis Cardinals, I winged it. I figured my job as bench coach was to prepare the dugout bench before and during the game for all the action.
So, I wiped the bench off before and during the game to keep it refreshed. I encouraged it by telling it how others ‘pined’ to be in its position. I screamed at it when I felt it was sagging. I warned it to prepare for certain plays. Stuff like: “Alright, set yourself, this fatso’s got heat.”, or “This guy ate 3 burritos before the game, so he’s gonna bring the gas.” I even iced it down after irate players demeaned it by throwing equipment, water coolers and other players at it.
But my tenure in the position was sorrowfully short. One day I polished the bench with 3 coats of premium wax before the game. All the scratches were gone and it looked magnificent, but five players suffered significant injuries and went on the D.L. after their slick butts soared off the bench and slammed onto the dugout floor. Ironically, my work at removing scratches from the bench resulted in my being scratched from the team. The manager said I didn’t know the first thing about being a bench coach..ya think? Where was he when I opened the wax? Where was he when I literally shined on my career?
Since that disaster, I have learned what a bench coach actually does. And although I have been banned from baseball, other bench coaches seek out my wisdom. As a self-proclaimed bench coach emeritus, I have catapulted others to the glory I never attained. All this history has exhausted me, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna grab some pine.