The Memphis Redbirds, Class AAA affiliate of Major League Baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals, finally made official Tuesday the news Amsterdam’s Robby Hisert has been sitting on for a few weeks.
Hisert will join the Redbirds’ coaching staff this season, making his first appearance coaching affiliated pro ball.
The Redbirds announced the hire as a footnote to the return of manager Mike Shildt, who skippered the Redbirds to a 73-71 record last season in the Pacific Coast League.
“The Cardinals are a phenomenal organization,” Hisert said. “You go in there, you’re expecting to win. At the AAA level, we’re more about preparing the guys for the next level. But this is an organization that’s in the hunt every season.”
Hisert, 30, will spend pregame in uniform on the field with the team, serving in whatever capacity is needed that day, and will spend
25-35 games in the dugout. Most of the time, though, he will change back into street clothes after warmups and serve as a scout in the stands during the game.
Hisert’s first experience in pro ball was playing outfield in Italy in 2007. He worked out for a couple pro teams over the next few years, but didn’t get the call. He also spent some time on tour with the barnstorming Heroes of the Diamond.
To stay in the game, he came back to Amsterdam and started serving as an assistant coach at the high school. He also has worked as an assistant with the Amsterdam Mohawks of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League in 2012.
In 2013, he joined the staff at Southern Vermont College as hitting coach. He also worked two summers on the staff of the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League, where he was first base coach.
“When I got the chance with Bridgeport, I think that was a huge opening, being in professional baseball,” Hisert said. “When I was down there, I talked to anybody I could and got my name in the hat to see where it led. I made a few connections with a couple organizations.”
Hisert is counting the days until he reports for spring training in Jupiter, Fla., looking forward to walking into the clubhouse and seeing his locker decked out in Cardinals gear.
His wife, Sara, and infant daughter, Emilia, will stay behind, but they will visit him in Memphis briefly during April and again in July. While he has pursued his passion of playing and later coaching baseball, he and Sara have dealt with being separated by long distances. It will be a little different now, with 19-month-old Emilia, but he said they will make it work.
“We’ve done it before, with Italy, and even in Bridgeport. I wasn’t far, but I wasn’t next door, either,” Hisert said. “Emilia’s going to make it a little harder, because I’m not used to leaving her for more than a day at a time. That’ll be a little tougher, but we talked about it. I asked her, ‘Are we going to take this if we call? With the baby, will you be able to do it, while working?’ For me, if we didn’t think we could, I wouldn’t do it, but she was gung-ho. She said that all these other times we’ve been spread out, this is what that’s been for.”
More from The Daily Gazette: