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Torrence gives Bears added extras

POSTED April 08, 2012
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson

                                                  Torrence gives Bears added extras

            You’ve got to hand it to Thomaston High Athletic Director Bill Ryan. When he goes out and hires a coach he goes right to the top. Heck if Ryan was going into the law enforcement field he could have gone after a constable or patrolman to coach the Golden Bears softball team. Maybe even a dispatcher or crossing guard.

            Not Ryan, he went right up the ladder. He got the Police Chief. The guy who wears the white shirt. The big enchilada. The Grand Cahuna Supreme. The guy who says, “hey you work the grave yard shift.’

            I’ll bet you there is no other athletic team in Connecticut high school sports that is being coached by the Police Chief.  Probably a good idea in some areas. Arresting some of your own team is not part of the job description.

            Ryan recruited Chief Gene Torrence to take the job. Of course it helped that Torrence’s daughter, Alexa, is a junior and starter on the team. Also, Torrence brings more credentials than having gone through the Police Academy and earning high marks with his 44 Magnum. He doesn’t really carry a 44, Dirty Gene, he isn’t. But, it sounds good.

            Torrence is all baseball and softball guy. He coached the Bears’ baseball team from 1992-96 and from 1990-2003 was the Middle School softball coach. Before that he played and played well.

            Torrence was coach Gregg Hunt’s BL All-Star catcher on Thomaston’s 1985 BL champion and Class S state finalist team.  He can read you your Miranda rights if need be or cuff you quick. But, he is also pretty adept at teaching you how to hit and field, too.

            The Bears are expected to be pretty good this season. They have some experience and some pitching. Torrence’s coaching skills will certainly add to the mix. But, I’m figuring that having the Police Chief as your coach brings other advantages.

            How’s the opponent going to feel if Torrence comes packing heat? Would you try to and steal a base or take an extra base on an overthrow? I’m thinking not.  Heat can be a great persuader. Please no calls on this one. Torrence will not be at games with a six-gun. Weapons are discouraged at high school games. But, you have to admit, the thought is intriguing.

            The Bears can now just awe their opponents with the bullpen cart. When Thomaston needs a reliever, Torrence can bring her in the game with a squad car. Forget the fact that that all of Thomaston’s cars have about 680,000 miles on them and could break down halfway to the mound. Plus, in high school players usually just switch positions instead of coming in from parts unknown.

            But how cool would that be with Torrence flashing the lights, the siren going crazy as he brings in the next pitcher. If that doesn’t distract the other team nothing will.  I wonder if the reliever has to wear a seat belt. It is the law you know.

            Now Torrence has access to the walkie-talkies. He can call for a bunt from the police department if something comes up and he is late for the game. Or he can just stand on third base with his shoulder mouthpiece and just whisper the instructions into his device.

            I don’t know how this will go over with the purists who expect to see the coach flashing signals, but nobody will be able to steal the Bears’ signs.  Of course, if there is bad reception or the batteries die, Thomaston could be in trouble. The battery thing? No money in the budget for new ones. Torrence will either have to go back to signals or a megaphone.

            Any unruly fans and Torrence can call in the SWAT team. I don’t think Thomaston has one, but it probably knows where to get one with Torrence’s connections.

            Opponents probably won’t want to beat up on the Bears too badly under the circumstances. Now Lewis Mills didn’t pay attention to all of this Thursday when it dumped the Bears, 9-1. A wise move?

            Word has it the Spartans’ bus was tailed all of the way out of town and a spot check was considered. The Bears decided that improved play was the answer not a bunch of traffic citations. But, the Spartans were playing with fire.

            There are all sorts of possibilities here. We haven’t even addressed tasers, dogs, undercover investigations, arresting poor umpires, closing off of the roads, declaring a state of emergency or anything else Torrence has the power to follow through on.

            Interestingly, Torrence actually has bosses here in Ryan and school administration. But, he could arrest Ryan and confiscate his golf clubs as deadly weapons in retaliation.  You don’t want to mess.

            Thomaston got itself a very good softball coach this season. But on deeper thought, they got much more. BL beware.

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