Bergman, Done do double duty
Appeal Sports Editor
Dusty Bergman and Mike Done have two things in common.
Both spent plenty of time in Triple A in their professional baseball careers and both are serving as player-coaches for the Reno Silver Sox this season.
There are pros and cons to any new job, and to being a player-coach in particular. Salary cutbacks in the GBL forced manager Les Lancaster to look from within for assistant coaches this season.
On the positive side, ex-Carson High star Bergman and Done, being the elder statesmen of the squad, get to impart their knowledge to the younger players, especially the ones coming out of college.
“After helping everybody else with their questions, I can reflect and apply things to myself,” Bergman said before a recent game against the Chico Outlaws. “I’ve learned so much already; so much from everybody else.
“I enjoy the work. I enjoy when I can pass on a nugget and the pitcher takes it out to the mound and it works.”
And Bergman, ala Kevin Costner/Crash Davis in the movie Bull Durham, is always asked about his brief stay in Major League Baseball with the Anaheim Angels. Bergman, who replaced Mike Hartley this year, spent approximately 10 days with the parent club back in 2005 before being sent back down to Salt Lake. He spent time with the Yankees and Giants’ farm teams before being released last year.
“Of course, everybody wants to know,” Bergman said. “They have seen Bull Durham. I spent 16 years of playing baseball to get there.”
Bergman, who is currently 0-3, still harbors thoughts about getting back into affiliated baseball.
A reliever most of his career, Bergman has been starting for the Silver Sox. He certainly would be an effective closer because of his experience, but Reno doesn’t have enough starting pitchers to move him to the bullpen – yet.
“Definitely I’d do that if we had a No. 1 starter,” Lancaster said. “Right now, it’s bullpen by committee.”
Done said Lancaster approached him in the off-season about a dual role this season. He jumped at the opportunity, mainly because he wants to either coach college baseball or professional baseball when his own career is over.
At 27, Done still wants an opportunity to catch on with another organization. In his third year of independent baseball, he also knows that time is running short.
Done’s hitting has been up and down this season, though he appears to have turned the corner in the last week with a couple of multi-hit games and to raise his average to .226.
“Things are getting better,” Done said. “It was tough out there at the beginning. We weren’t playing well or swinging it well. I took it more on myself. I’m getting to know the new players. You have to get them to trust you.”
The negative side of the new job is that it’s hard for Done and Bergman to get their own work in, according to Lancaster.
Take this past Tuesday as an example. It was three hours before game time, and both Bergman and Done were out on the field while many of their teammates lounged in the lockerroom watching games on ESPN.
Bergman was working out Adam Colton, former Nevada pitcher, in the bullpen under the watchful eye of Lancaster. Bergman then looked at Joe Melton, the team’s No. 3 catcher, who may be used as a relief pitcher when the need arises.
It’s much the same for Done.
Even after batting practice is over, Done will work with players in the cage, concentrating on fundamentals. Done said he isn’t the type of coach who will make players start from scratch. Rather he works at and refines the way a player may be swinging.
Done’s job is tougher in the sense that a hitting coach just studies at-bat after at-bat from the dugout. Normally Done would get to rest in the half inning when the team is hitting, and worry about his own hitting and fielding. Now, he comes off the field and intently watches each and every at-bat. There is no rest time. It’s grueling mentally, but you won’t hear Done complaining.
Both he and Bergman will do whatever it takes to get the team back up to the top of the GBL standings like it was last season.
• Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (775) 881-1281