Rejoice, Royals fans: Rusty Kuntz returning as first base coach in 2016
After the dust settled and the Kansas City Royals had established themselves as World Series Champions, attention turned to one potential high-profile departure OTHER than left fielder Alex Gordon.
First base coach Rusty Kuntz, a fan favorite in K.C. ever since he originally took on the position in 2012, told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that GM Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost pretty much did all they could to convince him to return rather than retire:
“They kind of ambushed me,” Kuntz said jokingly by phone. “It's really not fair. It was 2-on-1. But I mean, when the guy that hired you asks you to come back, you really can't say no.”Article continues below ...
Kuntz will return to his post at first base and resume working with the club’s outfielders.
As for beyond 2016? Kuntz told Flanagan that he envisions his ‘dream job’ would be remaining with the Royals as some kind of roving instructor – the rigors of an on-field manager at the MLB level, he says, are rather demanding:
“Being a big league coach is a young man's job,” Kuntz said. “When I was 40, I was up for the daily grind. I could do it and attack it. But I'm 60, and it just gets a little harder.
“People say, 'Oh, you're just a first-base coach.' But they don't realize that you get to the ballpark really early, spend about 2-3 hours studying video and the other team's outfield and pitchers, finding all the weaknesses and strengths that you can relay to your players. Then you have the physical part of it where you're hitting fungoes and throwing batting practice.”
He went even more in-depth in detailing the day-to-day grind of being a first base coach/outfield instructor:
Then you have another hour or so going over everything with the players, making sure they understand what's in front of them that night. Then you have the three-, 3 1/2-hour game where you have to execute everything. Then you go over what went right or wrong after the game. You drive home and it's 12:30 or 1 in the morning. And that's just one day. You got 162 of them. Plus, half of that is on the road traveling.”
Challenging or not, Kuntz is up to the task for at least one more year with the Royals.