Minor-league baseball teaching moments abound


Three different players made a mess on the base paths in a game for the Dayton Dragons last week against Lansing, leaving manager Luis Bolivar in a quandary over what to do about it.

This being low Class A minor-league baseball, every situation is a teaching moment.

Sometimes, when you see one of the Reds make a bad move on the bases, you can connect the dots to what that player learned when he was in the minors.

»RELATED: Dragons fall in series finale

Once, a few years ago, a Dragons player on second base tried to steal third with less than two outs and Dayton trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth. The third, fourth and fifth batters in the lineup were due next, too. He was thrown out with several feet to spare and the Dragons lost.

It became a teaching moment.

The teacher became a little more heated a few days later when the situation repeated itself with the same runner. And this guy made it to the major leagues, albeit briefly.

“You’ve got to understand the game and the situations,” Bolivar said. “If a player makes a mistake, you can explain it to him a few times. If it keeps happening, you say, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ ”

»RELATED: Lansing rallies to beat Dayton

In a game against Lansing in which the Dragons lost 8-3, there were all kinds of base-running mistakes. The most egregious came with no score and the Dragons had runners on first and second.

A hit was about to score two runs, but the lead runner wasn’t paying attention and missed tagging third. He went back and by that time, the ball was returned to the infield. The second runner, almost to third, retreated and made it back just before the throw to second.

The Dragons ended up not scoring in the inning and Lansing scored six runs in the next inning to take a commanding lead.

»RELATED: It’s an adjustment

That led to another base running blunder. Now down by six, a runner at first tried to steal second and put himself in scoring position. That might be a good idea if you’re down only a run or two and it’s a late inning. It was not a good idea down by six in the sixth inning.

The third base running blunder came when a runner ran through Bolivar’s hold sign at third and was easily thrown out at the plate.

“We didn’t run the bases good at all,” Bolivar admitted. “It probably cost us the game. We’ve got to talk to them. It’s a teaching moment. We try to explain the situation, what it should be and what they’re looking for on the bases.”

»RELATED: Reds’ No. 1 draft choice joins Dragons

Of course, the Dragons haven’t been all bad on the bases. They are in or near the Midwest League lead in stolen bases with more than 130. Jeter Downs leads the team with 27.

In 2011, a playoff season for the Dragons, then-shortstop Billy Hamilton stole a whopping 103 bases. He was also thrown out 20 times, but his aggressiveness on the bases led to more wins than losses with the team.

Back in 2003, a young man by the name of Bolivar played in 57 games for the Dragons, stealing six bases in 11 attempts.

The next season, in 123 games, Bolivar stole 31 bases and was thrown out 10 times.

I don’t remember Bolivar or Hamilton taking any other unusual liberties on the base paths. They were good on base, knew how to follow the orders of coaches and took an extra base when they could.

Those on the Dragons today will learn that message.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Here’s how Ohio State fans reacted to coach Urban Meyer’s return to the Buckeyes
Here’s how Ohio State fans reacted to coach Urban Meyer’s return to the Buckeyes

Fans of the Ohio State Buckeyes welcomed coach Urban Meyer back with open arms Saturday as he returned to the sideline following a three-game suspension. At the first glimpse of Meyer before he walked to the Skull Session with the team, fans started cheering. Before he could speak to the crowd at St. John Arena, fans drowned him out with applause....
Haskins, Campbell star as Ohio State Buckeyes cruise by Tulane
Haskins, Campbell star as Ohio State Buckeyes cruise by Tulane

Back home for a final tuneup before the Big Ten schedule resumes, Ohio State had no trouble with Tulane on Saturday. The fourth-ranked Buckeyes (4-0, 1-0) scored touchdowns on their first six possession en route to a 49-6 victory over the Green Wave (1-3). A crowd of 103,336 showed up for head coach Urban Meyer’s first game back on the sideline...
Springfield, Miamisburg last two unbeaten GWOC football teams
Springfield, Miamisburg last two unbeaten GWOC football teams

Springfield and Miamisburg are the only two remaining unbeaten high school football teams in the 20-member Greater Western Ohio Conference. Both are 5-0 after Week 5 wins on Friday. The teams are not scheduled to play in the regular season, but could be paired in the playoffs. Springfield improved to No. 2 in the Division I, Region 3 computer rankings...
Eldora Speedway provided the scene for a famous victory that stunned the racing world in 1998
Eldora Speedway provided the scene for a famous victory that stunned the racing world in 1998

Twenty years ago at Eldora Speedway, all eyes were on Jack Hewitt. Even those of the other drivers’ wives. Hewitt had won the first three features at the 4-Crown Nationals with wins in the USAC Midgets, USAC sprints and UMP Modifieds. All that remained for dirt track history – becoming the first driver to sweep all four divisions &ndash...
Archdeacon: One of Ohio’s best-ever high school sports stories is now a book by a Miami graduate. Here’s why he told it.
Archdeacon: One of Ohio’s best-ever high school sports stories is now a book by a Miami graduate. Here’s why he told it.

He remembers how excited the five of them were to come to Dayton. Wil Haygood was just 17. One of his pals was able to borrow a car, all of them pooled their money for gas and they headed from Columbus to UD Arena to see their hero. It was Feb. 26, 1972 and Southwestern Louisiana, the No. 10 team in the nation, was playing the Dayton Flyers. The Ragin&rsquo...
More Stories