Dante Bichette was my favorite player growing up. There really wasn't a close second, though Vinny Castilla would have been the choice until Todd Helton came along.
With that out of the way, I've obviously been hoping for many years that Dante would be back in the Rockies fold in some capacity before all was said and done. That it's happening now as the hitting coach is really very exciting.
Forgot the fact that this coaching staff could be in place for just one season — that won't be the case because they will inevitably improve with better health, and ownership will be convinced things are headed in the right direction regardless of the truth — I'm just happy to have a guy in place who truly understands the unique situation he's walking into, and can draw on past experiences to aid his teaching.
But as I mentioned on Twitter after the announcement was made...
I have little doubt Dante Bichette will give great hitting advice. Who listens and how it's used is up the players. The end. #rockiesDon Baylor had experience at Coors Field, too, and seemed to struggle putting gameplans together for Rockies hitters. What that means, if anything, I honestly don't know, but he's done at least a decent job in Arizona and obviously knows hitting, The sure difference, though, is with Bichette you have a guy who has stood in that batter's box at Coors Field hundreds of times, has made his own adjustments on the road, and has his own feel for the proper mental approach.
— Mark Townsend (@Townie813) November 13, 2012
That's a positive step up.
Despite some really ugly swings when his best guess was wrong, Bichette also had great instincts.
But Bichette's greatest quality was that he never gave away an at-bats, especially with two strikes. Bichette, for my money, is the best two strike hitter in last 20 years. As great as Helton is in the same situation I'm not sure he ever surpassed Bichette. I don't care how wrong that is, either, because it's money.
But the reason Bichette and Helton excel with two strikes is because they value each and every opportunity they get. They make the adjustments they need to on the fly just to prolong an at-bat and maybe capitalize on a mistake. That really is and was the art and beauty of their game. Now, when you hear and read scouting reports for Dante Jr. and even Beau Bichette, you know it's either in the genes or Senior is really good at getting his message across.
Bottom line, under Bichette, there will be no excuses on offense. He will have them prepared as best he can. He'll send the right messages. You can bet he's going to have them watching a lot of video. And it wouldn't surprise me if their first assignment at spring training is reading The Science of Hitting by Ted Williams.(Dante read that book countless times throughout his career.) It will be up to the players to listen, learn, adjust when necessary and execute.
Now we just need to find a pitching coach/director/instructor/whatever that can boast the same experience and success from the pitching side of things. Sadly, that guy isn't out there, but I'm feeling really good about the lineup.
Oh, and let's also trade for Dante Bichette Jr. just to cover all the bases here.