by Samantha Pell
PHOENIX — For Brewers center fielder Keon Broxton, Ed Sedar is the coach of a lifetime.
Sedar, Milwaukee’s third base coach, is entering his 26th season in the Brewers organization.
That’s almost as long as Broxton has been alive.
“That tells you enough about what he knows about the game itself,” said Broxton, who turns 27 in May. “I have learned so much on the field and off the field from the guy. His personality, it helps me show up every day and do my job the way I want to. He’s awesome.”
Sedar, 55, is entering his 11th year on the Brewers’ big-league coaching staff after he spent the previous 15 seasons coaching for them in the minors.
“It’s unbelievable once you think about it,” Brewers utility man Scooter Gennett said at Brewers camp at Maryvale Baseball Park. “In this sport, in this profession, we can be really good, and another team might want you, so it’s very rare for someone to stay with an organization for this long, and there is reasons for that. It is because he does have a passion for our team, for Milwaukee.”
Sedar chuckled and stroked his grey beard as he paused to think about his coaching career. He said his favorite memory so far was on Sept. 28, 2008. It was the day the Brewers secured the National League wild card spot, 26 years after their most recent postseason appearance.
After a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park, the team gathered to watch the end of the Marlins-Mets game. If the Mets lost, the Brewers would secure the spot. That’s what happened.
“We were in our little cafeteria, and all of us were in there watching this (the Mets game),” Sedar said, his voice getting louder as the story progressed. “And all the fans had stayed, and they had it out on the big screen at Miller Park, and when the final out was made (we had) champagne, everyone was inside and we all ran out because the fans were still there. Everyone was going all out, jumping on the dugout with the fans.”
(Video by Megan Plain/Cronkite News)
Sedar’s coaching career started in 1988 as a player-coach for the Chicago White Sox after he had played several seasons in the minor leagues. He was unable to continue his playing career due to knee and arm injuries.
Fred Stanley, then the Brewers director of player development, hired him as a minor-league coach in 1992.
Sedar moved up to the majors in 2007 as the Brewers first-base coach. He’s been coaching third base since 2011.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell said the great thing about coaching third base is the direct impact the coach has on the game. The tough part is the criticism if something goes awry.
“It’s a little bit like a closer’s job where nobody ever says ‘good job’ when you get the save,” Counsell said. “When you send the runner (home), they don’t say ‘good job.’ When you send the runner and they are thrown out, they say, ‘What are you doing?’
“So you got to have some thick skin to have that job, and you are making fast decisions and you know that, but I think that’s the part of the job Eddie likes.”
Aside from how he performs his actual job, Sedar thinks the Brewers keep him around because of his humor. His wit is paired with what Gennett called Sedar’s “big nose and voice.” Sedar said he probably makes more jokes about his nose than anyone else on the team. It’s big. He knows.
“He is high-energy,” Broxton said. “He is hilarious, man. He keeps everyone relaxed and loose, and you need a guy like that in a clubhouse like this. It keeps it a fun, clean environment, and you also learn a lot from the guy.”
Sedar’s wit has led to his “one of a kind” personality, according to Broxton.
Broxton’s typically giddy smile gets even wider at the mere mention of Sedar’s name. Gennett kicked off his four-minute long spiel about Sedar with a jokingly exasperated, “Oh man, Eddie Sedar, where do we start.”
Gennett compared Sedar to longtime Brewers announcer Bob Uecker. Gennett said when Sedar walks into the room, he “lights everyone up.”
“You look at baseball, it’s a negative game,” Sedar said. “I mean if you do things correctly as a hitter three out of 10 times you’re an All-Star. So 70 percent of the time it’s negative for you … all that grind they have to go through, these guys, we have to try to make it fun and keep it loose.”
Sedar keeps it light with his daily clubhouse challenge that was started a couple years ago. It picked up steam last year.
“We have this funny thing where whenever we say ‘sí,’ which means ‘yes,’ we whistle through our teeth,” Broxton said. “I can’t really do it … but it’s really cool, and you can just hear Ed walking through the clubhouse all day just trying to do it, and he can’t ever do it. He just does it 30 times a day. Just walking through the clubhouse randomly you’ll pass him (trying to do it) and it’s so funny.”
Sedar demonstrated his form outside the clubhouse as he pursed his lips trying to whistle while simultaneously saying ‘sí.’ He failed, unable to even get a noise out. He insisted he can usually do one good one a day, just not on command.
He said has been trying to teach more players the English version of the trick. First a simple whistle and then saying the word “yes.”
“I’m probably below a 3-for-10 average on the whistling and being able to say ‘si,’ but I’ll get better,” Sedar said.
Jokes aside, Sedar isn’t always lighthearted. He gets on his players.
“He is very serious about his job,” Gennett said. “But he picks those times and those opportunities to make someone crack a smile, and that is very important.”
Sedar goes beyond cracking jokes and directing traffic at third base. He has been helping multiple players in the outfield this spring.
“He helps me a lot with my footwork and just me being on top of my game,” Broxton said. “Making sure I catch the ball and making sure I watch the ball go into the glove, because that’s a big thing.
“I can kind of get lazy with that sometimes. I always think the ball is automatically going to be in my glove and that just doesn’t work that way. He just stays on me about watching the ball go into the glove and just being prepared every pitch.”
Sedar has also been helping Gennett adjust to several position changes. Gennett, whose natural position is second base, has played second, third, left and right this spring.
“He actually printed out like 10 papers for me to read when I got home about the outfield,” Gennett said. “Part of it was kind of common sense, but the other half is important stuff and it makes sense.”
Sedar often brings his upbeat personality into his teaching habits, instilling confidence in Gennett.
“It’s not always if you do something bad that’s when you hear from him,” Gennett said. “It’s kind of a thing in our sport. A lot of guys don’t want to make (other) guys’ heads big, but it’s important to let them know when they do good, and he does a great a job with that.”