Roberto Kelly and Bill Hayes were hired as third base and first base coaches respectively, as the San Francisco Giants set about to repair the deuce-and-a-half-sized hole, created when Tim Flannery cleaned out his locker, grabbed his guitar and set sail for a life less restricted by the rigors of a 162-game season (with extended opportunities for employment in October routinely required).
The Giants exercised sage judgment in selecting the FlanMan’s replacement, requiring only that Kelly be able to adjust to all things left, as opposed to his prior spot on the first base line. For his part, Billy Hayes, former Chicago Cubs catcher (1980-81) will be switching from bullpen catcher to first base coach, which means that the Giants chose an individual who has spent a fair amount of time in the dugout, mingling with the troops.
The value of maintaining the status quo, as much as possible in the light of Flannery’s tight connection with so many of the players, is key to being able to absorb the loss of Pablo Sandoval as well. Make no mistake that Pablo will be missed by his teammates, not to mention the fans. The need to preserve some shred of familiarity around third base, made the decision that much easier.
Instead of having to replace a passionate and knowledgeable fixture in the dugout with an outside personality, possibly creating a murky tinge to the chemistry beaker, Giants management has chosen to replace the bullpen coach, instead.
Roberto Kelly, two-time All-Star and fourteen-season veteran of several teams, six of those seasons spent with the Yankees (1987-1992), was once known in his native Panama as La Sombra, the shadow. His steadying influence at first base has obviously impressed Bruce Bochy enough to warrant Kelly’s replacing the charismatic Flannery.
Each is eminently capable of assuming the responsibilities of his assigned position, but what’s more important, each is the right choice.
Roberto Kelly knows defense and speed; Billy Hayes knows pitching and catching. Great success!
Aside from his baseball expertise, each has three things going for him. First Kelly: He was an outfielder who averaged 3.14 errors per season in his MLB career; do you think Kelly had something to do withTravis Ishikawa
’s adjustment to left field?
Second, his stolen base average per season, extrapolated out over 162 games, is 28. As a manager of the Augusta Green Jackets, he gained a reputation for his aggressive approach to base running.
Third, he speaks Spanish and as a third base coach, that will facilitate communication from the large contingent of both Venezuelan and Caribbean players on the Giants. There is more to coaching third base than the iconic windmill-like whirling of the left arm, indicating the after-jets had best be activated.
Billy Hayes is a former backstop. How weird is it that Bruce Bochy chose a fellow former catcher to take over as first base coach? Second, Bill Hayes is “Billy.” When a blistering foul ball seeks out the dugout, and Billy is anywhere near the vicinity, Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper yelp in unison, “Ugly finder!” not because there are no mirrors in Hayes’s house, but simply because they can. Billy Hayes would appear to have a thick skin, not to mention being a wealth of knowledge.
Finally, Hayes’s nickname is “Wild Bill.” Enough said. These two superb choices, both key components of three World Championship runs, who will serve the Orange and Black well.
Especially if Kelly was paying close enough attention to note just how risky it is to send Buster Posey to the plate on a close call.