Congratulations, Ty Van Burkleo, you've just secured the hardest job in sports. You will be the hitting coach for the Oakland A's in 2007.
Yes, you have the unenviable job of convincing Bobby Crosby to stop breaking bones in his back by swinging for Pittsburg with every swing. You need to work with Nick Swisher so that he doesn't always swing for the fences with men on base. Your job is to dig up and dust off that slider machine that helped Miguel Tejada lay off the slider away and slap Dan Johnson with a kielbasa across the face every time he tries to pull that pitch away.
And the biggest challenge of all? Yes, Ty, it's up to you to solve the biggest enigma in all of A's history and that's the yo-yo career offensively of Eric Chavez.
But don't just judge Van Burkeo by his career stats (38 ABs in 14 games and a .539 OPS). He was the roving instructor in the Angels minor league system for the past six years. Remember, Billy Beane wants guys who are going to be able to work young players into major league hitters. Van Burkeo has been able to do just that by helping many of the Angels young hitters become major leaguers.
I don't envy Van Burkeo because it seems like the business card that reads "A's Hitting Coach" usually comes with a bullseye on it. Dave Hudgens, Thad Bosley, Dave Hudgens and Gerald Perry. It's like shooting ducks in a barrel. Not exactly earth shattering news out of Florida, but hey, it's been a low-key kind of hot stove so far.