New first-base coach Brock thrives as teacher

Baseball veteran reflects on importance of Black History Month

New first-base coach Brock thrives as teacher

SAN DIEGO -- As much as new Padres first-base coach Tarrik Brock enjoyed his 13 seasons playing professional baseball, what he truly enjoys is life after playing.

"The most important thing, the most satisfying thing I get to do is coach," Brock said. "That's when you get to give more of yourself. You share your experiences, good and bad.

"For me, the most important thing is helping these men with their journey. If I can help at least a couple of them, I've done a great job."

Brock will get that opportunity again this season with the Padres, joining the coaching staff of first-year manager Andy Green after spending 2015 as one of the organization's Minor League coordinators.

It's no surprise that Brock, 42, has spent the past decade coaching. He caught the coaching bug early on while growing up in South Central Los Angeles, hearing stories about local players doing clinics for kids and giving back to their communities.

"Just to hear those stories about guys giving their time, giving back … that was really big for me," Brock said.

Growing up in the hotbed of Los Angeles was great for him, as well. Brock had many African-American players to look up to, with guys who made their mark with both the Angels and Dodgers.

"If it wasn't for guys like Reggie Smith, Dusty Baker, Kenny Landreaux and Reggie Jackson when he was with the Angels, I wouldn't have been drawn to the game," Brock said. "You see those guys growing up and think, 'I want to do that.'"

Brock still recalls coaching in the 2014 Civil Rights Game in Houston, when he was the Astros' first-base coach, as a big highlight of his career. All of this is a big reason why Brock is always excited and honored when Black History Month rolls around each February.

"For a kid like me who grew up in Los Angeles, there were certain things we didn't really know about, other than what we were taught at home and maybe some during school," Brock said. "This [Black History Month] gives us the chance to keep pushing and growing. We're valuable.

"And in the baseball community, you understand the sacrifices others have made before you -- Jackie Robinson, you read about Paul Blair and Curt Flood. That's big."

Unlike last season when Brock bounced around working with the organizaton's Minor League affiliates, his focus will be more central with the Padres in 2016. He will be working with outfielders, baserunners and even pitchers on their bunting.

"It's going to be fun," Brock said. "I get to work with everyone on the team. No one is exempt."

Brock has been itching to finally get to Spring Training, so he can get started doing what he does best -- teach.

"To join Andy, Mark [McGwire] and the rest of the coaching staff and help the Major League team is just a blessing," Brock said. "This is awesome.

"This is what I was supposed to do."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.