06/11/2014 4:23 PM
Coach Dave Schaub (center) fills a variety of roles for the T-Bones...including peacemaker, as he did earlier this season with an umpire and Kansas City catcher Brian Erie. (Photo by Matthew Hicks.)
By SHANE JACKSON
Kansas City baseball fans are very familiar with number 20, T-Bones first-base coach, Frank White. The Royals Hall of Fame second baseman, is in his third year with the Kansas City T-Bones, and is a very popular figure at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
But it’s on the flipside of the base paths, where fans may not be as knowledgeable. That’s where, when Kansas City is batting, you’ll find T-Bones hitting coach Dave Schaub. Number 24 may not be the most recognizable coach on the field or the one who’s surrounded by admiring fans at the conclusion of each game for autographs, but he is the mastermind behind a versatile T-Bones offense.
Schaub is in his first year as hitting/third base coach for the T-Bones under first-year manager John Massarelli. Last year the T-Bones ranked among the best in the American Association in terms of offensive power, but managed to win just 40 games, forcing the front office to make changes in the offseason within their coaching staff and roster.
“(Pitcher) Rick Zagone is the only guy we have from last year, that kind of turnover happens when you have a new coaching staff, but it’s always exciting seeing that whole process come together,” said Schaub, who coached with Massarelli at Lake Erie and works with him at the Massarelli Baseball School in Ohio.
In 2013 the T-Bones were blessed with power beyond means, leading the league with 134 home runs. But when Schaub took over the reigns as hitting coach, he was not graced with the presence of any of the players from last year’s ball club. Schaub was involved in the process with Massarelli of finding and signing players. That gives Schaub the ability to change the offense to how he sees fit.
“We like athletes from top to the bottom of the order, it’s important to have guys that are versatile,” said Schaub. “We probably won’t see 30 home runs, but we still have a couple of guys that can hit home runs for us.”
One player that stands out under Schaub’s athletic oriented philosophy is their ‘utility’ guy T.J. Mittelstaedt.
“Mittelstaedt has proved he can make the transition from outfield to the infield, he can play multiple positions, he has some power, and he walks a lot,” Schaub said.
Prior to coming to Kansas City, Schaub coached Ohio Elite 18U summer team in 2013 finishing with a 35-6 record. From 2009-2012, Schaub was the hitting coach for the Lake Erie Crushers of the Frontier League. The Crushers are an independent baseball team located in Avon, Ohio, where Schaub spent time coaching under his current skipper, Massarelli.
“My favorite baseball memory is winning the championship in 2009,” Schaub said. “That whole path was incredible. We were down 0-2 in a five-game series, and won game five in River City for the championship.”
Although the T-Bones and Crushers are both independent baseball teams, they are in two entirely different leagues. The T-Bones are a part of the American Association and have no age restrictions for players. The Frontier League does not permit any player above the age of 27 to compete. For Schaub, the transition has been smooth.
“Here you get to work with guys who are more experienced. I enjoy working with the older guy that can make the adjustment. It’s more about win now,” he said.
Before he joined Massarelli with Crushers, Schaub spent six years as the head JV/assistant varsity baseball coach for Canton Central Catholic High School, where he was a part of a 2008 Division III State Championship. Before coaching baseball, he played at the collegiate level for Ohio Wesleyan University. At OWU he was a part of three conference championships, two 40-win seasons, and four NCAA Regional berths.
Now with the T-Bones, Schaub has a workload like no other. On top of being the hitting coach/third base coach, he is in charge of a variety of things within the clubhouse. Schaub works with the infielders, does a pre-series meeting (scouting report on the team), keeps the spray charts and is in charge of defense adjustments throughout the game.
“I think that’s about it,” he said jokingly.
Despite the workload his game day routine remains consistent. He works in the batting cages from 2-4, he is on the field for batting practice around 5, eats something in the clubhouse around 6, and drinks his cup of coffee in the dugout around 7, before trotting down the third-base line to take his spot in the coach’s box at third base.
Scahub, just like anyone else that works in the sport, understands that workload will never get easy. Especially in baseball, a sport that rarely has any off days. But for Schaub the perks of doing something you love go beyond the costs. One of those perks for Schaub here in Kansas City is working alongside a prominent baseball figure like Frank White.
“As soon as we found out we were coming here, that’s one of those things I was most excited about,” said Schaub. “Just to be around a guy like that, the wealth of knowledge that he has, every day you can pick up a little nugget of information that you didn’t know about, that’s always welcome if you are a baseball guy.”