Bob Tinkey is no stranger to a night at the ball fields. Tinkey is the manager of the Canfield Baseball Club’s 9-10 baseball team sponsored by Tudor Physical Therapists. His experience working with kids spans from being a physical education teacher at Canfield Middle School for 17 years and coaching little league baseball and high school basketball. Tinkey played football, baseball and basketball in high school and continued his baseball and basketball careers at West Liberty State in West Virginia. When Tinkey isn’t on the field coaching his 9-year-old son, Zach’s team, he is at the park cheering on his 11-year-old daughter, Rachel who also plays on a Canfield Baseball Club team.
Q: What is the craziest thing you’ve ever heard one of your players say?
A: While I was pitching to one of the kids and the ball was in mid-air coming at him, he said something along the lines of, “Can I come over to your house after practice to play?” and I just thought it was funny because of the moment he asked.
Q: How is coaching 9-10 baseball different from coaching high school basketball?
A: At the 9-10 level the kids are basically still learning and just having fun in a positive environment. We keep it simple and expose them to different positions and experiences. At the high school level things are a little more intense. There is a greater emphasis on winning and a greater level of skill. The 9-10 level is designed for fun and learning.
Q: Why do you do it? What are the rewards?
A: I do it for the same reasons anyone who is a coach does it. Sports has been in my blood since day one. I like being around the 9-10 group because it keeps me young and they are fun to be around.
Q: What is a favorite game memory?
A: I don’t necessarily have a favorite. I just like watching the kids be successful and I like how they light up when they make a play or get an out.
Q: Are you a sunflower seeds guy or a bubble gum guy?
A: I used to be a bubble gum guy when I was younger, but now I’m a seeds guy. The bad thing is I think I passed it down to my daughter. I only eat the original kind, not the flavored ones.
Q: What’s your game-day advice?
A: Go out and do the best you can and have fun. It’s a game and games are supposed to be fun.
Q: What are your words of encouragement if you lose a game?
A: The good thing about kids this age is they have a short memory. I just tell them to keep their chin up and learn from their mistakes. It’s not the end of the world and they should take the loss as learning experience.
Q: How do you feel about ice cream after a win?
A: Once or twice a year we treat the kids to ice cream. It helps with the togetherness of the team and lets them know we care.
Q: What is difficult about being a dad and a coach?
A: I would say it’s a little harder on them [his kids]. I don’t want to say they are under the microscope a little bit more, but they are.
XInterview by Katie Seminara, Vindicator staff writer.