Las Vegas Sun

October 17, 2018

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Shoemaker feels like he’s on the right track

If someone made a list of jobs in the Dodgers player development system, John Shoemaker's resume would probably include them all.

The longtime Dodger farmhand and former Las Vegas 51s manager was back in town Thursday, along with a group of other minor league staff and instructors.

In his 27 years with the Dodgers, he's played Single-A ball, managed at every level, coached hitting, and roamed as a hitting instructor. Now, he's the assistant field coordinator, helping out when he can and observing the minor league system as a whole throughout the year.

Shoemaker served one season as the 51s' manager, leading the club to a 76-66 record. He said there are ups and downs in both managing and roving, as he's doing now.

"Being on the field as a manager, what I liked was not knowing what was going to happen. I feel like I've been able to make an impression on someone on the team because I had them a full season," he said. "You teach them to try to work as hard as they can, how to deal with adversity, how to not get too up when doing well."

Being a field coordinator, he said, gives him the opportunity to take a broader perspective on the game and the Dodgers organization by exposing him to Dodgers prospects at all levels. He said, for example, that while he likely won't be back in Las Vegas this year, he'll get to see the team in Salt Lake City after the rookie-league Ogden Raptors start their season.

It also gives him the chance to reach out and help more players. One of the more rewarding parts of working as a roving instructor or coordinator is the ability to offer a struggling player a piece of advice, then notice later that the player has turned his season around.

But his ultimate goal, he said, remains being a coach with a major league club.

"Sure, the ultimate goal is to make the major leagues as a coach," he said. "I try not to worry so much about where I am not at, than where I am at. That's what we tell (ballplayers), don't worry about what you can't control, if you don't get to go up. When you get it, be ready for it. If I ever got the chance to be a major league coach, I'll try to be ready and try to learn from a lot of different people."

But most importantly, Shoemaker is still true to the Dodgers organization, which he's been in since he was a minor leaguer in 1977.

"I feel like I'm working for the best organization in baseball," he said. "The job they ask me to do each year, I get in my mind to do as well as I can."