He is the first pitching coach in Yankees history to have never played in the majors, but that doesn’t mean the former high school coach isn’t exactly what the team needs.
Baseball games can be long. Sometimes, interminable. Distraction is unavoidable. Sometimes, essential.
When Kirk Fredericks’ young daughters weren’t watching and cheering their father’s baseball team at Lincoln-Sudbury High School, they’d keep busy by running around, by playing, by eating — and by visiting Coach Pretzel.
Behind a chain link fence, the girls would always find pitching coach Matt Blake, awaiting his scheduled delivery.
“He’d always do a chart and sit on a bucket next to the fence, and they’d come up to him and hand him pretzels to eat while the game was going on,” Fredericks said. “They always called him Coach Pretzel, so the kids on the team started calling him Coach Pretzel. My kids still call him Coach Pretzel.”