Tales from the Dugout

Tales from the Dugout

By: Austin Alexander

      For those of you have ever been there and spent considerable time in one, then you realize the importance of a baseball field'€™s dugout. I’ve seen hundreds of great ballgames from the dugout but what remains with you in time are some of the zany things that are heard, seen or experienced while spending time “on the pine.” Many friendships are made, relationships formed and silly stories we never forget occur from this sacred area we affectionately refer to as the “dugout.”

      For many people this area of a baseball field is simply the roof that houses the baseball players or the area where those not fortunate enough to be in the game sit and rot. 

      These thoughts could not be farther from the truth. 

      The dugout is where Greg Holt, a below average runner in the baseball world, told me two weeks ago that he could steal home…and then he did! Not only that, it came four pitches after he had singled to left field, stolen second base and then taken third. Three bags and a run—from our clean-up hitter!

      The dugout is where I, any many others, learned to juggle!

      The dugout can be where tomorrow’s starting pitcher sits next to yesterday’s starting pitcher. “Timmy” shows “Tommy” how he grips his curveball. In exchange for that information, “Tommy” shows “Timmy” a couple of different change-up grips that have worked for him. In a matter of moments, both moundsmen have now advanced their repertoire of pitches.

      The dugout is where Ryan Bouton, Tim Smalling, Blaine Howell and Nick Liles each had meaningful conversations with me about there future.

      The dugout is where we decide what we’re going to eat after the game, it’s also where we learn to steal our opponent’s signals and spot a cute blond in the bleachers.

      The dugout is where Derrick Lowery can sit beside you for 17 and a half innings and not say a word, then drop the funniest line of the day.

      The dugout is where the “hot foot” prank was invented, perfected and passed down from generation to generation. Dirtbags: If you’re not familiar with that term, you better keep your head on a swivel, you may be my next victim!

      The dugout is where I saw Kyle Roller holding a runner on at first base and was then instructed to play “behind the bag”. He literally did what he was told…he took one step back and planted himself directly behind first base!

      The dugout is where an old coach taught me what to look for in a hitter, then how to exploit a particular weakness.

      The dugout is where I was corrected by our 11-year old bat boy, Carlisle Beatty, about where our right fielder was positioned. Since he had a good point, we promptly shifted our outfielder where he should have been playing.

      The dugout is where I first heard many of the jokes and phrases I still use today.

      The dugout is where I had the opportunity to observe Evan Erickson, a former player of mine, coach Addison Johnson, a current player of my mine, on theories of how to stay inside the baseball at contact. Funny how much of it sounded familiar!

      The dugout is where I shared time with five people who eventually became groomsmen in my wedding.

      The dugout is not just a bench, it’s not just a place where we leave our equipment during a game and it’s far from where we wait for the bottom of the ninth to roll around.

      The dugout is where sights, sounds and even really bad smells will stay with a baseball player long after his turn at bat are a distant memory. 

      While we spend our entire young life trying to find ways to get on the field, we spend our adult years applying many of the lessons we learned in the dugout.