April 2013 - Tip of the Month
"You Never Know Who's Watching"
There are days when I consider watching a game for a living one of the absolute greatest pleasures in my life. Those are most days. Yesterday? Not one of those days. It had nothing to do with the level of competition, the quality of baseball or the fact that frost bite was likely setting in. No, yesterday was a struggle for a much different reason.
While sitting in the stands to evaluate a couple of the top high school talents in New England, one of the catchers, who I wasn't there to see, started to stand out to me. Though I would make a few changes to his stance, he received well, blocked almost everything and had a righteous swagger about him. Now, he wasn't the biggest kid. A little wiry in fact, but he was fairly athletic and seem to know the position. All that was left was to see this kid's arm.
Without fail, during every warmup throw to 2B, this catcher would catch the pitch, sell it for an obscene amount of time to a non-existent umpire, slowly stand up out of his crouch, take a gentle shuffle and casually throw the ball to 2B. Just to make a point, I kept the stop watch going - 4.61. So in just a little less time than it takes my car to get to 60 MPH, this catcher got the ball from home to 2B. It took every ounce of energy to keep from yelling out onto the field - "DO YOU THINK I AM HERE FOR ME?!?!"
Here's the moral of the story. I wasn't there to see that particular catcher play. I had no interest in him, really. But unfortunately for him, a perfectly good opportunity to impress not only someone at the professional level, but also someone who is very well connected with college coaches all over the country, went right down the drain. Now throwing isn't "everything". You've probably heard me harp on that enough throughout the years, but it is a very important "something". When one of those college coaches asks me about this catcher, I won't be able to tell them how he throws, and I don't think I need to mention the emphasis college coaches put on that particular skill. Catchers - YOU NEVER KNOW WHO'S WATCHING YOU!
If your name isn't attached to a professional baseball contract - or for you softball ladies out there, your face on a Wheaties' box - you haven't earned the right the showboat during warm up throws. Your warmup throws to 2B, short of having a sore arm, should be game-speed throws! Don't lose an opportunity to impress someone you probably didn't know was there in the first place.
Thanks for reading this month's Tip of the Month!