There are those who say Leo Mazzone is nuts.
There are those who say that pitching coaches are nuts in general.
There are those who wouldn't make a move without consulting with their pitching coaches.
There are pitching coaches who can't pitch their way out of a paper bag, let alone show others how to do it. There are---but let me tell you about a presentation I did for the Jack Graney chapter of SABR in Cleveland a few years back.
It was, of course, about pitching coaches. Part One dealt with the origin of the concept, the history, the events that led to the PC becoming an essential member of the team. Part Two concerned an interesting trip to the zoo; I divided my discussion of these creatures into four categories. Category One was about the guys who knew what they were doing, who were or had been great pitchers and who could coach and teach. Category Two dealt with those who couldn't pitch but who could coach and teach. Category Three was the opposite---they could pitch but couldn't impart their wisdom to the pitchers. And Category Four---they were the hopeless cases who couldn't do either. And there was also a subcategory of oddballs---I think you know which ones I refer to.
Leo Mazzone was definitely a Category Two. He had never pitched in the majors, but he knew a lot about pitching and how to get the pitchers to make the most of their capabilities; if some of them had stuck around they might have done what Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz accomplished. One thing I most assuredly agree with was his insistence that pitchers throw every day---maybe not pitching, but certainly throwing; more than anything else this will build up and maintain arm strength. I used to do that---even just playing catch for 15 or 20 minutes---a couple of bullpens a week, and doing what Allie Reynolds used to do, starting and also relieving between starts.
I had the good fortune to meet and work with one of the finest pitching coaches anyone could hook up with. His name was Eddie Lopat,and when he wasn't beating the Cleveland Indians to an unrecognizable pulp, again and again, he doubled as an extra pitching coach for the Yankees. As a result of my burning curiosity about the slider, I asked him one day after a game, and his response was to take me aside and show me how to throw a good one. His basic premise was that every pitcher has a natural motion, and what he did was work with that pitcher to help him (or, in my case, her) make the most of one's capabilities. What I learned from him in the almost four years we worked together was nothing short of priceless; he helped me become a more effective pitcher.
And that's my 75 cent's worth about pitching coaches. :baseballpitcher: