'It’s been bittersweet'; Renz stepping up as manager with RedHawks alongside Coste
Bench coach Anthony Renz has known of Chris Coste since he was a kid. Now the 29-year-old is helping call the shots alongside the World Series champion this season.
FARGO– Anthony Renz’s fifth season with the RedHawks is a dream filled with mixed emotions. The 29-year-old is serving as bench coach, but also partial manager.
“It’s been bittersweet. It’s easier to just kind of think about decisions, but when you’re managing a game and you’re making those decisions, there’s a sort of pressure that kind of comes with it,” said Renz.
Renz grew up as a passionate New York Mets fan, which makes it even more ironic that two decades later he’s calling the shots alongside his former bigger rival from the Philadelphia Phillies.
“Chris Coste was like public enemy number one for like three years. Those years that the Phillies won the World Series and the year they caught the Mets in 2007. As far as being a fan, I was a kid crying at night that the Mets were losing to the Phillies,” said Renz.
14-years later, that rivalry has turned into more than just a friendship.
“Chris Coste is basically what all the guys that are in this league want to be. They want to get here, get signed, and then make the major leagues. So when he’s not here and all of a sudden there’s a 29-year-old kid that is calling the shots, to earn the respect of those players, I always had a little trepidation because I don’t have the resume of Chris Coste,” said Renz.
Not only do Coste and Renz coach together at Concordia, they’re sharing dugout duties with the RedHawks.
“Most people that come to the game, I’m sure when they see Chris Coste and there's a sense of ‘aww’ a little bit. There’s a sense of “Holy cow, there’s Chris Coste. He won a World Series with the Phillies’. World Series champ is like the last thing that I see him as. He’s a friend, father-figure, a mentor. It’s all of those things before he’s the manager,” said Renz.
While Coste is battling neurological issues in his back and lower body, his view of managing the team may look a little different this year.
“It’s only tough not being able to do what I love to do. But the fact that I have him with me both at Concordia and here to do as much as he does, I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am,” said Coste.
Coste still remains present in the dugout for games, but he’s turning to Renz to make his vision come to life on the field.
“I never ever once had a worry about him running this team, never for a second because we do think a lot alike,” said Coste. “I felt incredibly lucky that I had Anthony and I think the RedHawks feel the same way, because if we didn’t I don’t know how we would have made this work. It made what I’m going through way more tolerable mentally,” he added.
“You’re in charge of the pitching decisions and then you’re in charge of basically the offensive strategy throughout the game. So if we want to steal, I’m in charge of that now. If we want to hit and run, I’m in charge of that now. If we’re going to send a guy to score, I’m in charge of that now,” said Renz.
“I had kind of been mentally preparing to be that acting manager role at the beginning part of the year and it just kind of worked out that way. Honestly, with the experience I have had with Coste at my previous time with him as manager the last two seasons and then Jim Bennett being the manager and Michael Schlact, I just try to absorb as much as I can, learn as much as I can from all of those guys,” Renz added.
With how much time Renz and Coste spend together, it’s what’s going away from the clubhouse that cements their relationship even more.
“On a baseball level, we think a lot the same. There’s often times where we’re talking in the dugout or we bring up an idea and the minute one of us brings up an idea the other guys says I was literally going to ask you the same thing just now. There’s nothing that I’m doing that Coster wouldn’t be doing or that Coste looks at and says why are we doing that? He has full faith in me and that's about as high of a recommendation as I could have for a World Series champ to just let me kind of do the thing over there is just an honor that I’m forever grateful for,” said Renz.
As the RedHawks soar to success, it’s behind Coste and Renz guiding the team the only way they know how.Together.
“There’s also plenty of times where I’m still not totally sure and Anthony and I have learned since we’ve been together in 2018, we think so much alike, it’s almost scary. I still wish I could still throw batting practice and do other stuff and coach third. But man, if it’s not going to be me, I feel really lucky that it’s Anthony,” said Coste.
“I take so much from him, so in a way it’s just a lot of Chris Coste messaging through me as the mouthpiece, because I believe in a lot of the stuff that believes in terms of work ethic and the goals of the organization. It’s as seamless a transition as it can get. I just don’t happen to have that World Series ring on my finger,” said Renz.
The RedHawks return home on Tuesday to host Sioux City.