Want to be a Closer?

What does it take to be a Closer.?

One of thee most challenging spots on a rotation is the Closer’s role.

This guy has to come into the game and slam the door shut – no-if’s-an’s-or’buts. He has to start his work with little or no room for adjustments, little or no room for fitting-in, and little or no room for errors in judgment – period.

So, here’s where your thinking cap goes on. If it takes you two innings to get your stuff together , or if your not ON at least 90% with your best no matter what, if a certain spot or range in a battering order gives you a problem – then a Closer’s role is not for you.

Now everything that I itemized should be expected of everyone in the bullpen, and to the casual observer this is reasonable. But, usually with a Closer, he’s expected to nail the coffin shut with only one or two innings worth of work … sometimes more, but in most instances the range or window of opportunity is very narrow for these guys.

A Closer’s role must have a solid first two innings experience right out of the starting blocks and a solid track record with just about the entire batting order logic. He must be unshakable, a real meat-eater, no prisoner
mentality, and a steel trap attitude. He has to know exactly at what point in the game he’s entering, who he’s facing, what the game situation is, and a ton of other stuff that he has been picked to address.

I can tell you from experience, sitting next to one of these guys on a long bus trip is like sitting next to Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde. I’d dose off for a while, but not with at least one eye open. Closers do have an interesting personality.

So, if you’re looking for a pressure cooker of a job with no mercy shown to you if and when you “blow it’, well then a Closer’s role is for you.

Coach B.

Lol I agree on that one coach, my summer pitching coach was a rising closer in the Padres system before he hurt himself, and he is a crazy dude. Fun, but quite the personality. Great coach too. As far as the most important qualities of a closer, I would say-

1- The ability to throw 85% strikes when you need too
2-Ability to pitch under extreme pressure, and excel out of the stretch
3-Ability to go to work on a day to day basis, and not let yesterdays performance hurt you today

Bonus Qualities that seperate boys from men

1-Stuff that keeps the ball on the ground and induces rally killing DP’s
2-Overwhelming stuff that can end rallys with a four pitch strikeout

Being a closer is so much more than being the kid on the team with the good fastball and vicious breaking ball. Theres probably 4 or 5 guys per MLB team that have the stuff to be all star closers, but for some reason we only have a couple Rivera’s, Papelbon’s, Lidges, Nathans. There are very few guys who can stick around year in and year out and keep closing games. It takes a unique mental makeup to be a closer, one thats much more rare than a high 90’s fastball or hellacious slider.

FSTBLLTHRWER…

Excellent addition - very good quality in your post.

Coach B.

I would add that it is mandatory that a closer does a good job holding runners close on 1st…gotta keep the tying / winning run off 2nd.

i love the pressure.
i love relieving.
i live for the pressure

Number 3 on fstblls thing is crucial. You gotta cut out that short term memory completely. You gotta go up there and have that nasty attitude. When i go out there in pitch in later part of the ball games i put on my i dont care attitude and just do my thing to put up a zero on my innings. A friend will ask me later on after the game “how many k’s you get?” ill honestly say back i have no idea. You gotta have that for the late innings

In many ways a closer is similar to a starter. A closer just is more emotional. a starter needs to be more calm on the mound. I tried this thing where I say to myself (I’m a starter) before every inning I say: “I need to get three outs this inning”. I do that every inning I pitch which helps me focus better on each batter.

I would have to disagree. As a starter you can let a runner on and not really worry about him scoring with a late inning rally. As a closer however, a single and then another base hit could mean the game.

[quote=“FSTBLLTHRWER”]
1- The ability to throw 85% strikes when you need too
2-Ability to pitch under extreme pressure, and excel out of the stretch
3-Ability to go to work on a day to day basis, and not let yesterdays performance hurt you today

Bonus Qualities that seperate boys from men

1-Stuff that keeps the ball on the ground and induces rally killing DP’s
2-Overwhelming stuff that can end rallys with a four pitch strikeout

Being a closer is so much more than being the kid on the team with the good fastball and vicious breaking ball. Theres probably 4 or 5 guys per MLB team that have the stuff to be all star closers, but for some reason we only have a couple Rivera’s, Papelbon’s, Lidges, Nathans. There are very few guys who can stick around year in and year out and keep closing games. It takes a unique mental makeup to be a closer, one thats much more rare than a high 90’s fastball or hellacious slider.[/quote]

Thanks Coach and FSTBLLTHRWER,
The things that FSTBLL named describe me. I think I may talk to my coach about it and see what he says and if he says yes, than I will talk to the pitching coach…

The one thing that gets me fired up is having the bases loaded… I think last year, I had bases loaded with 1 out twice and I struck out the next two guys. So YEA, thanks for convincing me to talk to my coach about that!

Greg

Go for it Greg, its great that you’ve realized that. Good Luck.

I kind of like closing, but prefer starting to relieving. Because I’m that kid whos always thrown the ball a good 5-10mph harder than anyone else on my team, coaches have always tried me in that situation. Unfortunately, for a long time I couldn’t throw strikes either, and throwing 100 isn’t going to beat 14 year olds if you can’t throw strikes. More recently, I’ve been very effective in that role and gotten more comfortable with the pressure, but at the highschool level I need to be pitching more than one inning a game, so its back to starting for me.

Although I just finished my 2nd season playing ball I’ve always been put on the roster as a closer. Tried starting a few times but whenever I come in early in the game I can’t get the ball over the plate to save my life. Where as when I come in for the 8th and 9th innings it just clicks. My command is a whole lot better, my fastball has more life, my breaking ball decides to move more. I’ll be closing for my high school and AA team this year but I’d still like to give starting another go.

After I had pain in HS and college, they switched me into reliever usage. Since I thrived on a fastball/changeup combination (I was the rare starter that couldn’t develop a SECOND pitch - my offspeed was great, but my breaking ball sucked), they thought I was best suited for long relief and setup. Eventually they switched me into the closer role, which I loved.

There is definitely a mentality to it and not everyone likes it.