The role of the coach

With the news yesterday that Jim Presley is going to be named the new Orioles' hitting coach, I wonder what that means for Terry Crowley.

The Crow will become an "offensive evaluator" for the organization, according to reports. Until we hear from Buck Showalter or Andy MacPhail when the new coaching staff is officially announced, I am not sure what his role will be exactly.

Is this the club's way of phasing Crowley out or realizing that they need a new voice as hitting coach?

Crowley has taken a lot of fan criticism in recent years and it all starts anytime the club has gone into a slump.

That was not completely fair - Not that Crowley, or any staff member, should be above questioning or criticism, but to me it's still mostly about the talent on the field.

The best hitting coach in the world can't make a light-hitting infielder hit more homers or a dead pull hitter all the sudden spray the ball to all fields.

Many players, when they reach the Majors, are set in their ways and how they approach the game. All coaches can do is provide assistance when it is sought and prepare the players the best they can for the games.

Not to minimize what a coach can do, but it's still about the talent more than the coaching.

Was Rick Kranitz a bad pitching coach through July? Did he get better the last two months? Did he get smarter? The pitchers certainly performed better.

This summer, when I asked a member of the minor league department about a fielder struggling on defense, someone reminded me that "we could hit some kids 200 balls a day and they still wouldn't be able to field a grounder."

At the same time, I don't think even poor coaching could keep Alex Rodriguez from hitting homers or Nick Markakis from spraying line drives.

I think any reporter or fan that tells you he or she can grade a coaches' effectiveness is blowing smoke somewhere.

How do we know what happens out of the media eye in that indoor batting cage? How do we know how receptive certain players may be, even if they are getting tremendous coaching help?

If a batter fails to advance a runner, should the coach be blamed?

One thing is looking certain. There will be a lot of new faces on the 2011 coaching staff. I am sure some hard-working men with great resumes will be added. They will be welcome additions.

But we all need to remember, the coaches can only do so much.

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