Gaslamp Ball Debate Club: Do baseball players even need coaches?

A Corey Brock mailbag brings us this (I added italics):

Have there been any significant attempts by the coaching staff or team leaders to fire the team up during this losing streak? I remember when either Bruce Bochy or Phil Nevin and Ryan Klesko would call for a closed-door meeting during a losing streak, and the team always responded.
-- Alec E., Sierra Madre, Calif.

There's usually a split in most clubhouses when it comes to these types of "closed-door" meetings. The Padres have had at least two during this early-season slump. Sometimes you see immediate results, though it's not as simple a function of a team "trying harder." These meetings usually involve veteran players speaking out about how the team is capable of playing better, etc. Nothing too crazy, like tipping over a table of pizzas or throwing things. These guys are professionals, they understand their predicament and don't need to be reminded of that.

This allows me to, again, bring up something that's always bothered me. Jbox and Jonny Dub (and sometimes Kev) and I debate this all the time. Basically, it's always bothered me that baseball, unlike every other professional team sport in the world, apparently does not actually have a need for their coaches. Or at the very least, there's the idea that baseball players should be able to "figure it out" on their own.

When the team's not hitting, the hitting coach gets fired, but there's always a vocal argument that firing the hitting coach doesn't actually do anything because the hitters have to know what they're doing on their own. The base coaches get a little more credit, but we've seen players routinely miss (ignore) signs and signals. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but couldn't the players play base coach just as well and save some money? There, I saved some money for the Padres. Make the guys who made the last outs play base coach. We've all done it. It's easy.

I also look at Spring Training and compare it to preseason football and training camp. Maybe it's just me, but Spring Training practices look an awul lot like goofing off, while football practices look very intense. There are obvious differences between the two games, but it seems to me that there isn't enough work on the fundamentals.

Anyways, if you've read GLB for any amount of time, you've heard my rant before. What do you think? How much of an impact do coaches make on baseball players?

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