I had a pitcher who had a real dry spell for about three weeks. I mean it was agonizing for both him and me. We tried everything in the book to get him back in form.
The word came around that he was listed for “cycling” – going into a phase where the kinks would be worked out and not playing. Back then a pitcher, hitter or fielder would go through a series of back-to-basics, or a “cycle”, and after that would be reintroduced.
In the Majors today, it’s called being “sent down”. But for us, then, their were no minors. We were about as minor as it got.
During the last day of my guys session, a bullpen catcher (a wise guy type with a mouth to match) came over with us due to a pass ball problem that he was having. He’d caught for my guy before and the two had never really hit it off.
After a lunch break, I started to coach my guy again and then stood back off the practice mound and watch him toss a few. Our smart mouthed @!#%! catcher got down, put his glove up and said…”ok, let’s see that parking lot pitch… or how about that over the fence slider … or even better yet … give me the old …darn it, the clouds got that one too!”
I couldn’t believe it… my guy started laughing like crazy. He literally spanked that 34 inch mitt again and again and again. The two were such an awesome battery that I penciled them both in for the next scheduled away game. – got approval from our head coach and was pleasantly surprised all through their first five innings.
When I saw my guy relieved for a well deserved come-back rest, I went over to him in the dugout and congratulated him for a fine appearance. Just then the inning was over and his backstop came over and shook his hand … looked at me and without hesitation said…” coach… we’re going to add three more pitches to our boy here…. A just over the hot dog stand pitch … a there’s goes another one in the upper deck pitch … and his all
time best will be … geesh, that darn thing came right back at me, pitch!”
Our entire rotation started naming their pitches like that. Then our bating coach caught on and started identifying the guys in his lineup the same way. One guy was called… “ can I see that just one more time blue?, and yet another guy was call AC/DC because he’d swing both ways … once when the pitch got by him and he’d swing yet again at the throw that was going from the catcher back to hill. Craziest bunch I’ve been with.