If you’ve ever watched a spring training baseball game you’ve probably noticed it.
The manager and his coaches are typically sitting outside the dugout, closer to home plate, sitting in chairs, usually behind a protective netting.
Although some managers and coaches may have other reasons for being sans dugout, such as privacy to discuss personnel and space limitations with expanded rosters often filling the small spring training dugouts, the main reason is clearly the viewing angle.
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“It’s a better view of the game,” Woodward said. “I feel like I’m seeing more of the game. And I can evaluate better when I’m watching our guys. I can see our short stop moving. I see the pitcher. I prefer to be out there because of that.”
Sitting about 20 feet closer to home plate gives the manager and coaches a better angle on the mound and home plate. Instead of having to follow each pitch with their eyes on a swivel, they can take it all in almost in the same view, the pitcher’s delivery and the hitter’s reaction to the pitch.
“You get a better perspective of seeing the pitch, seeing how the ball comes out of the pitcher’s hand,” he said. “If I’m over there [in the dugout], I can’t see anything. You’re late to react to everything. Obviously, I’m watching the pitcher and I’m watching their hitter to see how he responds. You can’t go from there to there but if I’m [in the typical spring training viewing spot] I see it all in the peripheral.”
Not all teams adhere to this long-held tradition. San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy and his coaches now remain in the dugout after first base coach Jose Alguacil was hit by a foul ball during a spring game against the Royals at Surprise Stadium in March 2017.
When the Rangers played the Giants earlier this week at Scottsdale Stadium, Woodward and his coaches remained in the dugout because the Giants remained in the dugout.
“But even then, I stand as close as I can,” Woodward said.