In a previous article I included a brief sketch of Pedro Montero who was promoted to the Tulsa Drillers for the 2019 season serving as the Drillers bench coach. As mentioned, Montero is a high energy, excitable young man who has an infectious effect on the players he coaches. In fact, with any young players with whom he makes contact. It is difficult to see him without a smile on his face.
Known as, “Petie”, he had a very brief baseball career as an infielder- primarily at shortstop – playing two seasons in an independent league. In 2008 he played for the Long Beach Armada and in 2009 for the Victoria Seals. Both teams were part of the now defunct Golden Baseball League.
Following that he was out of baseball but not out of contact with baseball. During his time away from the game he worked with the Monterey Park Fire Department and trained as a paramedic at the UCLA Paramedic School. His connection to baseball was with Reggie Smith Athletic and the Reggie Smith Academy where he trained as a youngster and served as an instructor for many years. The two forged a lifetime relationship even sharing rides to the facility in Encino, California.
As a sidelight to his time with Reggie Smith, his mentor had a special request for him back in 2010. A Spanish speaking youngster by the name of Roberto Ramos came to the academy and Reggie was is need of a translator. He asked Montero to help out with a strapping youngster from Hermosillo, Mexico who had come to attend high school in the United States. Montero and the young first baseman hit it off on first meeting.
That young man was/is Roberto Ramos who played with the California League Lancaster JetHawks in 2018 before his transfer to the Rockies AA franchise in Hartford, Connecticut. It is the same Ramos who took the 2018 California League Home Run Derby prize beating out Rylan Bannon who was then with the Quakes
However, the Home Run Derby is not the story. Montero had Ramos live with him for over a year while in the US so he could help him with his English, mentor him in baseball, and adjust to a new culture.
Roberto Ramos explained.
“Petie is one of the reasons why I am here, along with Reggie. He basically took me under his wing and took care of a young kid that was in a different country and away from his family. He made me feel comfortable. I owe him a lot.”
Montero did not go unnoticed and in 2017 was hired by the Dodgers as a coach working both with the Dominican Summer League Dodgers and the Arizona League Dodgers.
During the 2018 season he served as the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes bench coach, coached first base during offense as well as being in charge of defensive charts and positioning of defenders. Before his transfer to Hartford, Roberto Ramos and Petie Montero could be seen in a single photo during Lancaster/Rancho Cucamonga games. Roberto playing first base for the JetHawks and Petie, his mentor, coaching at first base for the Quakes. Beyond those incidental meetings on the field, they have stayed in close contact.
Montero speaks both English and Spanish fluently but has another unique characteristic. He could be described as hyper in his motivation before games and during games. He is the master of the hand shake, high five, fist pump and other derivations of all three that are specific to individual players. Those more exclusive handshakes are developed to fit a certain player based on personal characteristics or baseball incidents.
Brian Brown of CSUF asked Montero which handshakes were his favorites during the 2018 season.“
“My favorite one is the squat with Eric Yaveronne [Minor League Performance Coach] I think that’s the number one because the boys, they’re all about it. It’s kind of one of those energy boosts for them. The other is the one with Omar Estevez. We kind of added to it as the year has gone along and there’s a whole thing behind it with Gibbs from NCIS and giving him a smack on the head with Dinozzo and it’s kind of where we added to our handshake.”
Petie Montero will start his third season in the Dodgers organization in 2019 moving along with some of the players he coached with the Quakes during the past season. A season in which they won the California League Championship together. He learned of his promotion last fall much as his close friend Jeremy Rodriguez did when he learned of his promotion to the OKC Dodgers as their bench coach.
“I was in instructional league when Brandon Gomes came up to me and we were at the cageson the major league side at Camelback Ranch. He said “I just wanted to let you know that you will be going to Double-A to be the Bench Coach”.
How did he feel about the announcement? I expect it might have come as a bit of a surprise to Petie but not to his mentor Reggie Smith. Was there a special handshake? We don’t know but more are on the way to go on full display during the 2019 season with the Drillers.
“Very excited to continue learning new things, especially on the analytical side that I can bring to our players and staff to continue our preparation and growth. It is still amazing to be able to wear the hometown jersey that I grew up being a fan of. Especially with the history of this organization and wearing the same uniform Reggie once wore. I know how important the Dodger way is!”