Partly to get some exercise, and partly to understand and empathize with what my guys are going through, I have joined a slow pitch softball team at work and am pitching for them. We had our first game Monday night, and a number of parallels struck me.
BE IN A POSITION TO HELP YOURSELF OUT
Thanks to tons of hours fending off batting practice balls, I was able to make 4 outs. 2 outs came on 2 easy one-hop come-backers but 2 outs came on 1 screaming line drive to my left that I caught (pure reflex) and then threw to 1B to double off the runner and end the game (horrible throw due to my surprise but 1B made a great dig). I know this is harder to do in baseball, but if you finish with your glove at your glove-side pec (rather than behind your back) and in a fairly upright position (rather than leaning all the way forward), then you are much better able to make plays like these. His finishing position helps explains all of Greg Maddux’s gold gloves (and his wins).
WHEN IN DOUBT, FIND YOUR FOCUS POINT
Several times I found myself down on a guy 3-1 or 3-2. When that happened, I reminded myself to focus on the target and let it rip (which happened to be the catcher’s crotch). Invariably, the next pitch would be a strike. That’s why my main (and only) advice to my guys is to focus on the glove and let it rip. It really works.
DON’T GIVE UP TOO SOON/DON’T TIP YOUR PITCHES
In many cases I would throw a terrible pitch (way outside) that the batters on the other team would then hit for a foul or out. If I had expressed my true feelings about the pitch at the moment I released it (oh cr@p), then I would have missed out on those strikes and outs. Thank God, I kept quiet. That taught me to maintain a stone face (and tight lips) regardless of what kind of pitch I had thrown. I think the same idea sometimes applies in the world of baseball.