Preseason Q&A sit-down with Oxford baseball coach Chris Baughman

Published 11:05 am Friday, February 22, 2019

After having their opening two regular season games rained out this week, the EAGLE caught up with Oxford baseball head coach Chris Baughman ahead of their rescheduled season opener at New Albany on Monday night. The Chargers played two, four inning teaser games this past weekend before monsoon season touched down.

Q: How does this team look differently than teams of the past?

A:“The pitching staff did a pretty good job last weekend. But we know we’re not going to have the ten strikeout per game guy like we’ve had in the past. We just know who we are, but we have some guys that can keep people off balance when they throw strikes. Also, we don’t have a whole lot of pop; we’re definitely more of a contact team. We’re not going to have that five, six or seven run innings where we hit two bombs like we’ve had in the past.”

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Q: You teach Advanced Placement Calculus and coach baseball. Is that ever challenging? Can you take advantage of the fact that baseball is a sport that associates well with math?

A:“Honestly, it’s come easy to me. In today’s society, being a head coach is way more about managing kids. It’s teaching kids more than teaching baseball. You’re teaching about life; you’re not teaching about math or baseball. But yea, I love the math. I love the physics that go along with baseball. There’s a lot of things that I try to explain to kids, when I’m thinking about the physics that’s going on. They truly go hand in hand. I’m a math guy; I love it. I love teaching the kids I get to teach in calculus and really the kids I teach and the kids I coach are pretty similar.”

Q: Coaching Mike Bianco’s sons, does that ever get challenging? What is your relationship with Coach Bianco like?

A:“Coach (Bianco) is one of the best people I’ve ever known to able to separate coach from dad. He doesn’t come to our games to coach, he gets to do that enough. He comes, he’ll brings his chair, and he lets me do my job. I’ve never felt any kind of pressure or anything like that because I’ve coached four of his sons. Anytime I ever call to ask his opinion or his advice, it’s been really awesome… Home games when they play at 4, he’ll usually make quick work of media and come straight here by the time we start a 6 or 7-oclock game. Monday he’s almost always here… He does a great job supporting those kids while also being in one of the most prominent positions in our town.

Q: How do you deal with cell phones and technology in practice and before games? 

A: “I think you have to adapt to how society has changed. The one rule we have about it is during practice they have to leave their phones in the locker room. Could I take them up in a basket before every game, especially on the road when we don’t have a locker room? Yea. I guess I could. At some point you have to trust your kids to do right and if somebody does wrong you address it at that point. But kids want to see what happened on Twitter after a game. They wanted to see who tweeted about them so they can re-tweet it. They want to see the snapchats from their girlfriends. It’s the world we live in.”

Q: Are there any ways where you’ve found that new technology has benefited you as a coach?

A:“There are apps on your phone that allow you to break down a hitter or break down a pitcher. We use those. I’ll video, especially in the fall, and use that technique to show a kid. The other day I was throwing batting practice in the cage. I took my phone out as I was throwing and filmed the kid… it’s automatic and instant data. It’s illegal to use in a game, but in terms of practice it really gives you that coachable moment.”