KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The third-base coach is often the most unpopular man in uniform in any team's home ballpark. Fans typically boo when he holds a runner and boo louder when he sends a runner and he's thrown out at the plate.
Astros third-base coach Pat Listach knows what he's getting himself into. He has years of experience coaching third with the Cubs and Nationals, while also managing in the Cubs' Minor League system. He originally came to Houston as a first-base coach in October, but was moved across the diamond when Eduardo Perez resigned.
"The only pressure you get is when you get someone thrown out and you get pressure from [the media]," Listach said. "Here's the thing with fans: They're paying to watch the game and they start screaming to the coaches on the bases, and you can hear everything being said. Some guys are up there yelling, 'Hey, you already lost 50 games, take a chance!' Well, we don't want to lose 51."
Listach says he has an aggressive approach about sending runners, putting the onus on the player. He says as long as the players are running 100 percent, it makes his decision easier. Listach told his players to assume he's going to send them, so he's basically there to serve as a stop sign.
"Basically, I told the guys, 'When you're on second base or first base, anticipate me sending you,'" he said. "The scoreboard is going to dictate what I'm able to do over there. If we're down, we're not going to take chances making outs at the plate. For the most part, we will be aggressive with two outs and put the pressure on the defense, and make the defense make a good throw and put pressure on the catcher to make the catch and tag. We'll be aggressive with two outs."