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TIP #48

Brent Mayne's  The Art of Catching Newsletter

 

Tip of the Week:    " Hit the Pitcher in the Head"

 

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mike boddicker
Mike Boddicker was the catalyst for this catching tip.

1991 was my rookie season with the Royals, I was 23 and feeling pretty good about myself. We're in the bullpen in Milwaukee and I'm warming up my teammate (and at that point, 11 year veteran) Mike Boddicker for his start. He's throwing and I'm kind of nonchalantly flipping the ball back to him. Let's just say not every toss back was on the money.

Well, after about the fifth time he had to bend over to catch my return throw, Mike stepped off and screamed, "Dammit Brent, hit me in the chest!" There may have been a stronger word in there.

He took me by surprise, and my initial thought was, "who's this old guy telling me what to do? But then I kept thinking about it and a light went on. He was right.

First of all I thought, the poor guy is like 100 years old (he was probably 33, but that seemed ancient) and is going to have to throw about 100 pitches out there. The last thing he needs to do is chase my errant throws around.

Secondly, it dawned on me that if Mike's standing on the mound and I throw the ball back to him head high at about 75% velocity, and instead of catching it he ducks out of the way, guess where the ball ends up? That's right, second base.

This was big. I knew I was going to have to throw the ball back to the pitcher about 150 times every game anyway. If I just paid attention to that throw half the time, I was effectively practicing a throw to second base 75 times a game! Now if a Ricky Henderson or a Carl Crawford runs, I don't have to think about a thing. That's just where I throw the ball.

It's a simple thing. But then again, if you want to be a player, you better pay attention to these simple things because baseball is a game of repetition. Whatever you do the most is what you're going to do when the heat is on. Aside from being a bit selfish, mindlessly flipping the ball around creates bad habits. Police yourself to throw accurately and you'll be a better teammate and a better player for your efforts. I sure was. Thanks Bod…you old man.


 Till next week, good luck, have fun, and keep your eye on the ball.


 

 

The Art of Catching book

 

  

The Art of Catching

Catching is one of the most important defensive positions on the field, yet little if any instruction on the subject has ever been available - until now. In The Art of Catching, I distill fifteen years of Major League experience (ranked 4th in the history of baseball for career fielding percentage and 75th for games caught) to provide cutting-edge overviews of all the crucial technical aspects of the position. Appropriate for players of all levels, from Little League to the major leagues. Whether you're a coach, player, or curious fan, this book is guaranteed to enhance your baseball experience.

 


Thank you taking the time to read this newsletter, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions you can contact me at artofcatching@gmail.com or through the website at www.brentmayne.com. Until next week, keep your eye on the ball...

Sincerely,
Brent Mayne
Brent Mayne