Dual threat: Florence Y'alls first baseman swings big as teams' hitting coach

Dual threat: Florence Y'alls first baseman swings big as teams' hitting coach

[Spectrum News 1]

FLORENCE, Ky. — Player-coaches aren't too common on the diamond, but there's one in northern Kentucky who’s trying to pass down the knowledge he wishes he had when he was younger. 

Craig Massey is working to teach his players the game from a new perspective with the Florence Y'alls. But at 35, he's still got talent to offer on the field and behind the plate. 

Massey said player-coaches aren't rare but not necessarily common. 

“You do see it a few places in independent ball with the older guys,” Massey said. “I love it; it’s been great."

"I think it helps that we have a great group of guys, some hungry young players. I just want to help them the best I can in ways that I would’ve liked to have been helped at that age. I ain’t got to do a whole lot, but just try to guide them the best I can and give them experience.”

A native Tennessean, Massey has been in Florence for four summers, staying with a host family. This is his first season taking on the role of hitting coordinator while continuing to play first base.

“When I’m in the field playing first, I obviously have to lock in and take care of my stuff on defense," he said. "But when I’m in the dugout, I do have to try to think of a more team approach, the team at-bats, than just worry about myself."

The life of an independent baseball player isn’t the most luxurious. However, Massey said he's still passionate about the game and loves being in Florence. 

“It's more fun being more personal with the people that are cheering you on,” Massey said.

Massey said he wants to help his young players achieve their goals, with some having dreams of making the big leagues, but also teach them to live in the moment and remember why they play.

“The most fun baseball is playing team baseball and winning,” he said.

It’s been an up-and-down season for the Y’alls, but Massey said they have everything they need to get where they want to go.

As for whether dipping his toes into coaching will lead to coaching full time in the future, Massey's taking it one play at a time.

“I like to keep my options open for as long as I can," he said. "And if something great comes along the way, then I’ll roll with it."

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