Like an offensive lineman in football, the third-base coach in baseball tends to get noticed only when something goes wrong.
But instead of avoiding holding penalties or quarterback sacks, a third-base coach's primary responsibility is to not let anything disastrously stupid happen with a baserunner. First, do no harm.
Tim Flannery of the San Francisco Giants seems to be a little different. He manages to be competently aggressive — and often quite entertaining.
On Tuesday night, Flannery quickly realized that a hot shot off the bat of Brandon Crawford(notes) was not going to be easily corralled by the San Diego Padres. Alertly, he waved in Andres Torres(notes) to score all of the way from first base after a single skipped by first baseman Anthony Rizzo(notes) and was dropped in short right field by second baseman Orlando Hudson(notes).
On the final 90 feet of Torres' journey, Flannery ran alongside him, comically flapping his arms like a mama bird before veering off as Torres slid into home, and signaling "safe" as the plate umpire did likewise.
And this was just the first inning. The Padres went on to win 5-3, but for all Flannery knew, Torres' run could have been the first and only run of the game.
Another job done well by Flannery, not even 30 days ago, was lauded by The Stew for saving Cody Ross'(notes) bat from an eager souvenir collector in the front row at AT&T Park. Is there nowhere this guy won't hustle for the Giants?
Here's the take of Giants TV analyst Mike Krukow:
"There is nobody in this game who is as daring and is as successful as Tim Flannery."
I'm not sure how to quantify how much a good third-base coach is worth to a team, but someday the Giants are going to come closer to finding out when they lose Flannery to a managerial gig. Below, check out a frame-by-frame recollection of Flannery and Torres working together:
Did you ever know that you're my hero? You're everything I would like to be.
I can fly higher than an eagle, but you are the wind beneath my wings.
Someone get a tissue.