BRISTOL - The goal for Bristol Blues manager Ronnie Palmer is to have his players take something away from the game that they haven’t had the opportunity to before.
“Just being able to coach and assist them with their baseball journey through school and whatever the game has in store for them is a privilege as far as that’s concerned,” Palmer said. “The thing for us is we want to make sure they go back to school healthy, and go back to school a better ballplayer.”
Palmer has been involved with collegiate baseball for many years. He has served as head coach at Davis & Elkins College and Sale Community College. In the early 2000s, he was the coach of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League team and also coached in the Atlantic Baseball League in New Jersey.
In addition to his coaching experience, he also serves as the Athletic Director for Post University in Waterbury. He said his time spent there has helped him become a better manager and understand the different player personalities and playing styles he deals with each day.
“Working in an athletic department that’s very diverse obviously carries over well into the baseball community,” Palmer said. “It helps me deal with guys from 17-18 different schools with different coaches and coaching personalities.”
Palmer trusts what his players have been taught with their college teams and just makes use of the talent he has available to field the best team he can.
“Talent-wise, this is probably tops, because we are getting a lot of good kids from a lot of quality coaches and a lot of quality programs.” Palmer said. “These guys are seasoned on baseball and know how to play the game. ”
Returning athletes such as starting pitcher Michael Genaro (Babson College) are familiar with Palmer’s trusting managing style.
“When you play in this league you spend a lot of time at the park,” Genaro said. “It gives you a lot of time to work on what you need to personally. [When] you are here at 4 p.m. for a 7 p.m. game, it gives you a chance to do what you need to do and lock in and focus.”
Palmer’s confidence in his players’ abilities to improve upon what they have been taught by other coaches allows them to make the most of their summer with Bristol.
“One thing I enjoy is he has confidence with us as players,” said infielder Alex Loparco, who attends Western New England College. “He comes to the field laid back, but he still wants to win games. He understands that it’s summer ball [and] that we are trying to work on our game for when we get back to school, but he wants us to win while we are here.”
With the Futures League team coming together just days before the start of the season and few off days during the summer, there is little time for Palmer to work with players on their skills - another reason he leaves that to their college coaches.
“We had one day of practice before the start of the season and you don’t practice throughout the course of the summer,” Palmer said. “I really enjoyed when I coached college baseball because of that practice session between our games. That’s when you see players grow.”
Palmer’s hands-off managing style has so far proven successful for the Blues. They were off to a 15-12 start through in their 56-game season and in second place heading into Monday night’s game.