BOCA RATON, Fla. – In Manny Machado’s conference call with reporters on Tuesday night, the now two-time winner of the Gold Glove at third base kept coming back to the man he calls “Bobby D.”
Fans only notice Bobby Dickerson when he waves a runner home from third base and the runner is out.
Third base coach is only one of Dickerson’s duties, but that’s the one fans see. They don’t see him hitting hundreds of ground balls Machado’s way in spring training or before games, imploring him to get better.
“To this day I'm still learning. I'm grateful and fortunate to have such a great third base coach and infield coach as Bobby Dickerson that's pushing me every day. He knows the game. I'm lucky to have him by my side pushing me every day,” Machado said.
“We get into a lot of fights and stuff, but I think he just always wants the best for me, and I'm grateful to have him by my side pushing me every day to be the best third baseman that I can."
There’s a lot of bravado to Machado, but there’s a lot of humility, too. In the summer of 2012, unknown to all but a few in the Orioles organization, Dickerson hit ground balls to hit at third base hours before Bowie games.
Machado was playing shortstop for the Baysox as he had in the lower minors and high school, too. But, with J.J. Hardy ensconced at shortstop, Machado’s best chance to get to the big leagues quickly was to go to third.
The Orioles had a glaring weakness at third base. Wilson Betemit’s defense wasn’t going to be good enough to get the team into the postseason, so Dickerson and Machado worked clandestinely to get him ready.
It was a big success. Machado quickly established himself, and Dickerson moved up from minor league infield coordinator to third base coach, where he replaced another respected infield instructor, DeMarlo Hale.
Machado also cherishes his relationship with Brooks Robinson, who won a mere 14 more Gold Gloves at third than Machado has.
"Any time you're mentioned with Brooks in any conversation, it's an honor," Machado said.
MORE ORIOLES: Manny Machado wins second Gold Glove at third