Old pitching coaches never retire, they just concentrate on their grandkids.
Galen Cisco, a former major league pitcher and pitching coach was sitting behind home plate at Riley Park on Sunday afternoon doing what he does best - keeping a close eye on South Carolina's starting pitcher.
It just so happened that the pitcher was his grandson, Mike Cisco.
At 70-years-old, Cisco spent almost the entire decade of the 1960s with the Red Sox, Mets and Royals before enjoying a long coaching career with the Phillies and the Blue Jays.
Now it's a whole new ballgame.
"It's kind of hard watching them and not helping them out," said the elder Cisco, who watched as USC's starter gave up five hits and four runs over six innings before The Citadel came from behind to upset the No. 3 ranked Gamecocks, 7-6.
"I've been watching him over the years and tried to smooth out his delivery and see that he has the right throwing angles and the right mechanics," said the coach, who now lives in Ohio. "You know, try to prevent sore arms and develop him along the way."
Such masterful advice has obviously helped young Cisco, who played at Wando High School. He's one of three high-profile recruits from the Lowcountry playing for Ray Tanner's Gamecocks, including first baseman Justin Smoak (Stratford) and shortstop Reese Havens (Bishop England).
And while Cisco showed strong form in a losing effort before a hometown crowd of 5,055 Sunday, his grandfather says his real power is not a strong arm.
"His real strength is between his ears," Galen Cisco said. "I think the kid knows how to pitch, he's pretty level-headed. He has better-than-average control. But he's going to have to be a control pitcher and throw all these pitches and be able to throw them for strikes."
Lot of baseball
Throwing for strikes is what got Mike Cisco to this point in a baseball career that's sure to lead him to the majors in another year or two.
After all, it's a family tradition.
His father, Jeff Cisco, spent three years in professional baseball after playing at Ohio State and Winthrop University.
"Baseball has always been part of our lives," said Jeff Cisco, who now owns Heavenly Ham in Mount Pleasant. "My father was a major league coach and I was fortunate enough to be drafted as a catcher. As a matter of fact, I played with the Padres in Charleston as a Rainbow back when the Alomar brothers (Sandy and Roberto) were here."
Jeff Cisco met his wife, Janice, when he played for the late Horace Turbeville at Winthrop. She was a star point guard for the Winthrop basketball team.
Now their sports lives revolve around their eldest son Mike's career at USC, not to mention his two younger brothers, Brian and Drew, who are up-and-coming pitchers at Wando.
"There's still a lot of baseball left to be played in our family," Jeff said.
The big picture
And if Mike's career at USC is an example of what all that experience can do for young players, the Ciscos are a family to watch.
"Every time my dad would come through Charleston headed for spring training, we would take advantage of all he had to offer our boys," Jeff Cisco said. "Since he's been retired, he comes down a lot more and has been a huge help to the boys."
So what's it like when a big-league pitching coach works with his own grandkids?
"He doesn't push at all," Jeff said of his father. "He's not one of those coaches who believes everybody should look the same. He stresses fundamentals. He sees the big picture.
"It's interesting to me because he sees things immediately that I would have never picked up. It's amazing and it's been a tremendous help."
But the old coach is humble when it comes to baseball.
"You know, you're only as good as your players," the elder Cisco said with a smile.
Reach Ken Burger at 937-5598 or email@example.com.