The three-time World Series champion left a successful coaching career at Linfield to start a pro career with the Rainiers.
When Scott Brosius left his post as the baseball coach at Linfield College last year after eight successful seasons, he cited a need for new challenges, the allure of a “new adventure.”
Brosius didn’t exactly picture divisional road trips to scenic Fresno, Reno and Sacramento as the first-year hitting coach for the Tacoma Rainiers, but hey, he’s never been one for five- and 10-year plans anyway.
“The travel, especially in Tacoma, was an eye-opener,” Brosius said this week. “I had to remind myself occasionally at 3 in the morning that this was all my idea.”
Otherwise, the job change has suited him.
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It took a little while, 15 years removed from his playing career, to regain the rhythms of the professional game. But the former New York Yankees third baseman compared the sensation to riding a horse, the feel of the saddle familiar after a period of readjustment.
In eight seasons at Linfield, Brosius compiled a 270-96 record, leading the Wildcats to a Division III national championship, four regional and five Northwest Conference titles.
Linfield is where he learned how to teach. The lessons he imparted were on a more basic level than the ones he’s passing along at Class AAA, sure, “but it’s the same idea. As a coach, you just love when the light bulb turns (on),” Brosius said. “… You get a feel for how the younger guys tick.”
With the Rainiers, he works with younger versions of himself. The native of Milwaukie, Ore., won three World Series titles, a Golden Glove and made the 1998 All-Star team while with the Yankees, but it took him years of playing as a utility man with the A’s before he found his stride.
“I’ve been on every angle of Triple A as a player,” Brosius said. “Coming up as the young guy trying to get there, the guy being sent down, the guy on the roller coaster.”
His career arc is especially appealing for pupils such as Mike Zunino, the Mariners catcher who has bounced between levels this season working on his swing.
“He’s so good because he listens,” Zunino said. “He lets you come to him, he listens and he already has an answer for whatever you’re feeling. He always seems to be a step ahead. It’s nice, because a lot of guys want to preach stuff and push it on you.”
Brosius ticks off the players he’s connected with this season on their way from Class AAA to the big leagues: Zunino, Shawn O’Malley, Stefan Romero, Mike Freeman, Nori Aoki, Dan Vogelbach.
“That’s kind of the fun of it, honestly,” Brosius said. “We’ve had a lot of movement this year. You can get a chance to spend a day or two with them, a week with them and see where they’re at.”
As for what’s next, Brosius was more vague.
“I try not to think in those terms, because you never know what’s going to transpire,” he said. “You never say never. That’s the one thing I’ve learned. But obviously I came into this with the idea that I love coaching and want to coach at the highest level.”