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Tim Bogar braces for the hot seat

11.24.09 at 1:29 pm ET
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Boston Red Sox 2009 BaseballTim Bogar is heading into his new lot in life — as third base coach of the Red Sox — with his eyes open.

For one, he has seen how well life can be when calling the third base coaching box at Fenway Park your home, having witnessed the quality of DeMarlo Hale (now the team’s bench coach) throughout the 2009 season. But Bogar also understands the slings and arrows that can potentially await coaches in his new position, a reality discovered by the likes of some of his predecessors, such as Dale Sveum, Mike Cubbage, Gene Lamont, and Wendell Kim.

“Obviously any type of coaching in Boston there’s a little more of a magnifying glass because there’s a lot of expectations, and you have to be on top of your game. The way I look at it is that it is a great challenge, it makes you concentrate on every pitch, and you can’t get lazy,” Bogar said from his Illinois home. “To be honest I have one of the best third base coaches that have been there to lean on. If I have questions or need some guidance I can just go to DeMarlo and he can lead me in the right direction. He did a great job in the years he was over there, so I couldn’t ask for a better teacher. As for coaching third base in Boston I think it’s one of those things where you do well there and the fans appreciate a good effort, and that’s why they love DeMarlo.”

Even well before Bogar arrived with the Red Sox to be their first base coach prior to the ’09 season, he came to understand what the guy on the other side of the Fenway Park diamond dealt with when it came to waving in runners. That was thanks to his relationship with Cubbage, who was the third base coach for the Sox during the 2002 and ’03 seasons after previously serving as Bogar’s third base coach in eight of the former infielders’ nine major league seasons.

“I thought he did a great job. Obviously I don’t know how he did in Boston, but I really thought he thought the game through,” Bogar said of Cubbage. “I think a good third base coach has to be an extension of the manager and be able to think along with him. I thought Cubby did that really well with all three of the managers that I played for.”

What shouldn’t also be dismissed is that Bogar has put himself in a unique position to succeed in the new position. Not only was there his playing experience, and exposure to Hale and Cubbage, but also coached third in each of his four years a minor league manager, in the Cleveland and Houston organizations.

He will the first to admit that manning the position in the Appalachian League is a dramatic difference from doing so down the line from Fenway’s left field wall, but the opportunities allowed for a baseline for what Bogar could expect.

“Each level you have to advance as a third base coach because of the skill level of the players you’re trying to run on,” Bogar said. “I remember in rookie ball I had a shortstop, Wladimir Sutil, and I used to get him to score from second base on a ground ball from second. The first time he did I was holding him up and he ran right through it. I was yelling, ‘No, no, no’ and then he scored and I was like ‘Yes, yes yes’. That was different.”

Another stop on Bogar’s path that should pay off when it comes to finding his way over at third base was his stop in Tampa Bay, where he was the major league club’s quality control coach. (It is a position similar to what the Red Sox will be asking Rob Leary to man in ’10). The job with the Rays allowed Bogar to observe the game from a unique perspective, one which he says will help shape his approach as a third base coach.

“When you’re watching the game from the press box, like I did that whole year, you get a chance to see the game develop,” the 43-year-old explained. “I paid attention to third base coaches and see if they were going to send them, or if they didn’t, and try and factor in what went into them making their decisions. It gives you a really good idea of what’s going to take place when watching it from that high up.”

Yet, when asked what will be the biggest advantage he might have when preparing for the position, for Bogar it always comes back to Hale’s presence, along with simply working 81 regular season games at Fenway Park over the course of an entire season.

“DeMarlo would talk about that kind of stuff almost every day,” said Bogar in reference to his discussions about the ins and out sof coaching third at Fenway. “First and foremost, DeMarlo is a very open guy. He’s willing to share and tries to teach what he’s trying to do. We learned from each other last year. People forget too that it’s not the easiest place to coach first base either just because of that left field wall. When a guy hits it down there sometimes you can’t see where it’s hitting or how a guy is playing it. I think having a year at first base prepares you for a consistency of playing at place like Fenway, which gives you some unique obstacles.

“When I talked to Tito about it,  he said, ‘Would you feel comfortble over there?’ I told him I definitely did. The way I look at it is the more things I can do the more it keeps me involved and helps me learn more. It’s a great challenge. But to have a guy like DeMarlo behind you that you can come back into the dugout to ask what he thinks, or rehash it with him in the locker room after, is a great thing to have.”

Who was the best Red Sox Third Base Coach this decade?

  • DeMarlo Hale: 2006-Present (80%)
  • Dale Sveum: 2004-2005 (9%)
  • Wendell Kim: 1997-2000 (6%)
  • Mike Cubbage: 2002-2003 (5%)
  • Gene Lamont: 2001 (0%)
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