In recent weeks, 6-year-old Drake Livingston – also known as “Coach Drake” – has become an internet sensation. Videos show Coach Drake giving pep talks to players, marching to the mound, and arguing with the umpires at Kalamazoo Growlers games in Michigan. It’s his first year as an assistant pitching coach in the summer college league – but he’s quickly become a fan favorite.
“CBS This Morning” has learned that Livingston’s father Cody works for the Growlers organization, and that the team brought Drake on board to make games more exciting. And even though Drake is actually somewhat camera shy, his passion for the game is on full display.
“First, people didn’t know if it was a joke, what was going on,” said Brian Colopy, the team’s general manager. But he soon became a Growlers staple.
“He’s a serious kid…” Colopy added. “He wants the players to play the game the right way… he wants the guys first and foremost to have fun, for the fans that are there to enjoy the show.”
He’ll dance on the dugout and take pictures with fans — but like most 6-year-olds, he’s also known to throw the occasional tantrum.
Coach Drake will argue with umpires over bad calls with the passion of a Major League manager, throwing bats and even dumping buckets of balls on the field. He holds the record for most ejections in the Northwoods League.
“This is the most anger I have ever seen out of a 6-year-old,” an announcer said during one of Drake’s tantrums. “Spiking his hat on home plate, the ultimate sign of disrespect!”
“Drake is a very passionate kid, and there has been a few instances where his passion is overwhelming,” his father said. But Cody Livingston said it’s all in good fun, and for the love of the game.
“He’s really been great with the guys, and the team atmosphere of it has really been important for him…” he said. “Being around the guys, just doing anything he can for the team, has been just a godsend.”
“I want to play baseball forever,” Drake said.
“He brings a joy to our clubhouse and to our fan base,” Colopy said. “He gives more than he takes, and if you can do that in life, we’ll all be in a better place.”
The team wouldn’t say exactly how much of Coach Drake’s performance is an act. But his father did say they’ve watched baseball games together since he was a baby, so he may have picked up some moves that way. The team’s general manager said the next step is getting “Coach Drake” to meet the “real” Drake.