The first season for San Francisco Giants first base coach, Bahamian Antoan Richardson, in that position, is in the history books after his team fell short of advancing to the 2020 Major League Baseball (MLB) postseason. They lost their season finale on Sunday, 5-4, to the San Diego Padres. Had they won that, that would have qualified them for the playoffs.
The Giants finished the shortened 60-game season with a 29-31 win-loss record, finishing third in the National League West Division and ninth in the National League overall – just barely missing out on the playoffs. They ended the season on a three-game losing streak to the Padres. Richardson said he was able to see firsthand how much is put into preparation from a coaching standpoint.
“It is all about the preparation and the time you put in before you get out there,” Richardson said. “If you don’t work before the game starts then the game gets fast and it is really difficult to help the players. It is about the preparation you put in daily in trying to find information to helps us compete better against the other teams. I spent hours in physio, assessing and evaluating players and how to help them and the team get better. All that work happens when you are not at the ballpark.”
Richardson is the first Bahamian in history to be on the coaching staff of an MLB team. Being a first base coach is something that he never saw himself doing, but he said he is grateful for the opportunity to get the Giants off on the right foot at first base.
“I barely saw myself as an MLB player much less a coach,” Richardson said. “All the thanks to God for creating opportunities in my life. It’s the ability to bring awareness to what we can do as a country. I am just grateful for the opportunity that the Lord has put in front of me. I never envisioned this in my life and I think that He (God) continues to open doors. I’m grateful for those opportunities.”
Richardson was the sixth Bahamian to play in the majors. Ironically, it was the Giants who drafted him back in 2005. He was taken in the 35th round. In 2011, Richardson made his major league debut with the Atlanta Braves. In 2014, he played for the storied New York Yankees. Altogether, he played in 22 games. The outfielder said that coaching is different from playing as there are so much that goes into winning at that level.
“It is definitely different than it was as a player. I never recognized how much time and effort goes into winning one MLB game. It was a challenging season and I learned a lot. I think, ultimately, that you have to try to be prepared for everything and try to find any possible edge that you can take advantage of to win a game,” Richardson said.
Richardson said he used the experience of being around a lot of good and experienced coaches as an opportunity to learn from them. He knows that there is a lot more to learn but said he is proud to be a part of the Giants organization, and despite falling short this season, he said they had a good ride.
It was an abnormal season as the league played under strict protocols because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Richardson said he was grateful the season got underway and that they were able to play.
“I think the challenges were similar to what everybody was facing. The tough part was not being able to be around my loved ones – not having the opportunity to see them everyday was the most challenging part for myself and other people. We were very adaptive to what our surroundings were. We were very grateful that we got an opportunity every other day. We were fortunate enough to be in a situation to have masks and do different things. We just wanted to compete, and the competition was very good and guys went out there and gave it their all,” Richardson stated.
As for getting the opportunity to be a first base coach, Richardson said that being around the league for years, he was able to foster relationships. He said that his non-profit organization, Project Limestone, which focuses on youth empowerment, also played a role. He got an interview for the job and the rest is history.
As for being a manager one day, he said he tries to learn as much as possible and when that time comes, he will address it, but for now, he doesn’t have an answer. He is just thankful for the experiences to get better and learn and said he is not ready at this point in time.
With the season over, Richardson plans to come home and spend time with his family and loved ones, and enjoy their presence. In addition to that, he said he plans on being available to the younger athletes to help them develop their skills in the sport of baseball.