Special To The Press
BRISTOL - Bristol Blues manager Ronnie Palmer left the game of baseball three-years ago due to personal health issues, so when the opportunity arose to coach a summer team of college players, he knew it was a decision that he wouldn’t regret.
Coming into his first year with the Blues, Palmer did not know a single soul in the Blues organization. But he said it was not difficult to build a relationship with his coaching staff and it certainly was not hard to teach young baseball players how to play the game he loves the correct way.
“It’s been fantastic, you know,” Palmer said. “You are working with college-aged athletes, that is something I have always enjoyed. The ownership and the general management put together a wonderful group of young men that are just passionate about the game of baseball. They enjoy each other’s company. For me, it is lucky in the coaching aspect.”
Coaching baseball is not something new for Palmer; he has done it for fifteen years of his life. Palmer spent seven seasons managing the Davis & Elkins baseball program and accumulated a school-record 156 victories in his career. He coached nine first-team all-conference selections, including a career-high three in his final season in 2014. He has also coached at Bowie State, West Hills Community College and Salem Community College. Palmer currently serves as the Athletic Director at Post University.
With all his experience and knowledge to share, he claims he doesn’t want to tell his players how they should approach the game, but provide them ideas.
“We are here to help them, hopefully help them progress to be better ballplayers when they go back to school,” Palmer said. “For myself and the coaches, just suggest adjustments to them. We do not want to do anything to step on their toes or their college coaches’ toes, but to help make them a better pitcher, better hitter, better defensive player to go back to school in the fall.”
Throughout the first two-plus weeks that he has coached, he has noticed some of the immense talents of the team, such as pitcher Jacob Wallace.
“He has a very calm demeanor and just goes about his business,” said Palmer. “Whether he has his best stuff or not, you are not going to get a different mentality from him. He knows how to pitch and obviously has good velocity. He has good poise and command on the mound and that’s what I really like about him.”
Palmer claims that the opportunity to be able to coach for a team in a city that stands behind its team is special to him. He respects what the Blues organization has meant to the city of Bristol. He wants his players to know that besides playing to get better on a personal level, they must represent the city the right way and wear the uniform proudly.
“You’re in a special situation where especially when you have guys from 15, 16, 17 different colleges and universities and especially they are all individual pieces to our Bristol Blues puzzle this summer,” Palmer said. “But for two months, these guys got to invest in the Bristol Blues, and being a Bristol player, not only for themselves, but for the ownership and for the city of Bristol. They are a very passionate city when it comes to this organization and baseball.”
With more than a month and a half of baseball left this summer, Palmer hopes that the team and the city of Bristol head into the chillier months of the year content with what the team could accomplish.
“We are going to compete at the level I think we can,” said Palmer. “As long as we trust our process and our guys continue to work hard from game to game, I think we could serve ourselves up for a summer that everyone is appreciative of at the end.”
Kimberly Pena can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @Kimberly_P12