Curiosity questions about DVH

I’ve watched him for years. Mainly TV from out of state. There’s a couple of things I have always wondered about.

When a batter looks over at him in the dugout, he often does not even look back at them and stares out toward the outfield. No signal at all. Is someone else giving signals at that time, or is that non-look a signal in itself? I saw the swing away sign to Welsh the other day, and sometimes he will run through a gamut of gestures, so I’m not sure what goes on there at all?

When he walks out to the mound for a pitching change, sometimes he seems to not even look at the pitcher or say anything. Just takes the ball and the pitcher walks off. Does that mean he is mad and the pitcher wants to get away ASAP? Are they getting await from his wrath? Other times, he smiles and you can tell there is something exchanged. But not always.

And last thing. When a batter is put out and walks back to the dugout, DVH often does not acknowledges the batter at all. Doesn’t even look in their direction. Does that mean he is not pleased with how they did? Rarely, I have seen him scowl and say something to the batter and I figure they have messed up somehow.

I’ve never seen these things discussed. And I guess it’s no big deal. I was just wondering about the coach/player dynamics. I know there’s a lot of respect there.

Nothing to communicate to the hitter, is the typical DVH “sign” when he doesn’t even look at them. (An example of that, happened with one of Wallace’s AB’s against NCSt. Wallace looked over to the dugout with a 2-0 count and a runner on first, and DVH was gazing out toward the left side of the infield. Perhaps the “sign” was “Dude, why are you looking at me? Just hit the ball.”).

100% of the time DVH visits the mound there is a pitching change. If the pitcher has pitched well or struggled, they know it either way. Yet they are coming out, and they know there’s no explanation needed. Coach will often acknowledge a good effort (even if that is only a nod of the head and eye contact, as if to say “atta boy”), but rarely acknowledge a poor outing. I believe the “coaching up” happens in the locker room later and/or in practices/meetings.

Similar approach happens after an at bat. When there is a strike out, about the only time DVH “encourages” the hitter is when a gesture might be, “you’re right, that was a terrible call”. Otherwise, not much needs to be said. Again, I believe the “coaching up” time comes in the hitters meetings/practices later, especially after they watch film and review TrackMan of a specific at bat.

To me, this is just DVH’s professional approach to the game. Similar approach by some MLB managers. Teaching and correcting primarily comes away from game time. Since his players know he will voice his displeasure to umpires when needed, the fact that he doesn’t say, “you looked terrible that at bat, what were you thinking?”, after a strike out is, in a way, “encouragement”. After all, most of these hitters (and pitchers) are harder on themselves in those moments than DVH could be anyway… a characteristic that Coach has instilled through the culture of the program, and from a stereotypical player that he recruits.

(Occasionally, coach will “coach up” someone during the game. I heard him teach Battles the proper decisions to make on the base path after he scored against Vandy in Hoover… when he hung around the bag at 2nd on a ball in the gap with 1 out, instead of going half way and reading it off the bat).

Dave often gives no signs. He may tell a player before an at bat what to do.

It’s when runners are on bass that more structured at bats and signs occur. That’s to control the running game.

But no one else gives signs or runs the offense. Ever.

In the early years, the take sign to start an at bat was a touch of the belt buckle. He had a way of decoying that where it wasn’t a take. But that sign was 90 percent right.

He often had a sign that meant take until the first strike. And he’d do that a lot. Very few young hitters were allowed to swing at first pitch.

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