ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Of all the people who were experiencing their first major league Opening Days, perhaps the most grateful was Bobby Dickerson.
Named last December as the Orioles’ third base coach, the 47-year-old Dickerson finally reached the major leagues.
Dickerson filled in as bullpen coach for part of the 2011 season and traveled with the team late last season, but this is his first major league Opening Day.
“Twenty-eight years in the minor leagues, pretty neat. It’s exciting,” Dickerson said on Tuesday before the Orioles faced the Tampa Bay Rays.
Dickerson began his professional career with the New York Yankees and played under Buck Showalter in the minors. He was a teammate of Deion Sanders, and last September pitched batting practice to “Prime Time” when he appeared at Oriole Park.
His playing career ended at Triple-A 20 years ago when he was at Rochester, then an Orioles’ farm team.
“You had a childhood dream, and then don’t make it as a player, then reevaluate, set new goals,” Dickerson said. “It was a goal to get here.”
His family will be in Baltimore for the opener on Friday.
“Spring training was nice. There were a lot of things accomplished getting accommodated with how Buck operates, with what the rest of the staff does and my responsibilities,” Dickerson said.
During the season, the only time a third base coach is questioned is when a base runner is thrown out at home.
“I’ve gotten a lot of guys thrown out, just not at this level. What I noticed at spring training is there’s not a lot of difference, just a higher level and different expectations,” Dickerson said.