Gum

What type of gum do you chew on the field?

Bubble gum. I like to make small bubbles, big bubbles, and I often use this as a signal to the catcher when I’m going to do something out of the ordinary like crossfire a pitch—no one but him and me knows what’s coming. :slight_smile:

I posted this elsewhere some time ago… or something similar, but
I think you’ll find it funny.

I had a catcher once that had this thing with grape gum. I mean a lot of grape gum. So much so that when ever he turn to the home plate umpire after a call … Ball!! … he’d stand up and turn around with a look of …”oh come on…” but would never say it. The umpire would acknowledge …”that’s right son, that was out of the zone”… upon which our backstop would give him a wide grin from ear to ear with a mouth full of purple teeth!. The umpire, with out fail, would have to give a second look … then take off his face mask… then refrain from cracking up… I will admit, it was a pretty good ice breaker for the relationship at the plate.

But this catcher’s real talent was waiting for a rookie to take the mound as a reliever … … which was really a “let’s see how the kid handles himself” kind of thing. Well, as the kid came from the bullpen there was no doubt that the butterflies were at are work along with that twitching with both eyes, sweat on the back of his neck and really looking scared… I mean really scared.

After the rookie stood on the mound, our skipper would try and talk to him a bit … doing his best to calm the kid down and say things that would ease the experience …. when just then our catcher would look the kid right in the eye… almost nose to nose … then give him a mouth full of purple teeth with a smile. The kid without fail … would do a double take… totally forget the business at hand, his eyes would stretch wide open … and wouldn’t listen to a word that was being said.

After a moment or two the plate umpire would waltz out to the mound to speed things along … catch the look on the rookie’s face … then glance over and see grape guy … and invariably would say… “oh, you again!”. All four – our skipper, rookie, backstop and ump, would have a laugh or two and the game would start again.

I have yet … to this day… have found a better way to make a rookie feel better when going into a pressure cooker situation. Never.

In fact during one game I was acting as head coach due to an illness of our skipperand and things were going very well … I’m not a big fan of taking on that role anyway. During one inning I had to make a pitching change and the current pitcher and I were having a rocky relationship as it was. So, out to the mound I went. When I got there and called for his replacement … everyone in the infield, the stands, and every ump started laughing. That catcher wasn’t catching that day, but did manage to blow this huge purple bubble … then somehow stuck it the top of my ball cap. I couldn’t have looked more dorky if I tried. But, it was just the right gag laugh at the right moment. I kind of got use to grape bubble gum – just briefly.

Coach B.

Haha remember the story except for the last part. One of Coaches many stories.

And speaking of gum…One day my pitching coach and I were talking about baseball players’ superstitions, and I happened to remember this story about a old-time player who used to chew gum and who would stick it on the bill of his cap when he came to bat. But when the count reached two strikes, he invariably would snatch the gum off his cap and pop it into his moutn, because he believed that if he didn’t do that the next pitch was sure to be strike three. I told my coach this story, and he laughed and said, "It was probably strike three anyway."
I for one preferred to chew bubble gum and blow various-sized bubbles and use this as a signaling device to my catcher. :lol: