02/25/10 2:53 PM EST
Smith revels in 'Amazing' experience
Third-base coach competes with daughter on reality-TV race
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
2010 Spring Training - Cleveland Indians
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"When you're coaching third base, you're out there [near the fans]," Smith said. "If you do something stupid on the show, you're never going to hear the end of it."But Smith, 57, knew his baseball career could also come in handy. He had played seven seasons as a Minor Leaguer in the Padres system in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and, over the past 25 years, he had been a coach or manager at the Major or Minor League levels for the Padres, Mariners, Brewers, Rangers and Phils. Along the way he learned a thing or two about performing under duress. "I had been in the Minors for 20 years on buses and not getting sleep and all that," he said. "And coaching third base, I've been under that kind of pressure where things are happening fast. It helps because I can calm down and relax a little bit and not panic." Then he joked, "The only time I was out of my element was when I had to use my brain." Smith's baseball smarts caught Acta's interest this offseason. Among other projects, the Indians are trying to tighten their infield defense, and Smith would appear to have the tools to help. Under his tutelage as an infield coach, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Jimmy Rollins won a total of six Gold Glove Awards. When it comes to baseball, nothing in Smith's career compares with the experience of winning the '08 Series. "You grind every day, game by game, and you don't get to appreciate it until afterward," he said. "Then when you get a ring three or four months later, you look back and go, wow, that's a goal you had your whole life. It's well worth the wait. It was quite an experience." And yet, he said, the experience on "The Amazing Race" might have been just as, if not more, fulfilling, because it was definitely once-in-a-lifetime material. So how did Steve and Allie fare? Well, you'll have to tune in to the show, which airs at 8 p.m. ET on Sundays, to find out. Not even Smith's wife, Angie, knows the end result. Reality TV is a lot like jury duty that way. "We couldn't talk to her when we were on the race," Smith said. "She's watching it just like everybody else and saying, 'Did you win?' But our goal was to not be the first ones off." The viewing public already knows that the Smiths achieved that goal. Steve and Allie finished fourth and seventh, respectively, in the first two legs of the race, which took them to South America and had them completing such tasks as walking across a cable wire 120 feet above ground, painting a house and milking a cow. Though Smith can't say if he won the million, he can say he had a blast. "[Doing the show] was never about the money," he said. "It was just about enjoying the time. And to do it with my daughter was so special. It's the best thing I ever did. Not too many people can do this, and that's why they call it 'amazing,' because it was."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.