Baseball Magazine

Shut Your Mouth and Give Me the Ball

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

Every now and then a Major League pitcher will blow up at a coach who comes out to pull him from the game.  With television, the whole ugly scene is recorded and shown for the entire sports world to see.  Unfortunately, these incidents often spill over to the dugout afterwards when the coach returns.  The pitcher gets his words in

Develop a rule for when tempers are high

Develop a rule for when tempers are high

on the mound, the coach gets his in when he gets back to the dugout.

At any level, usually this situation can be handled very easily with a little pre-planning and a quick (and firm) chat with the entire pitching staff at the beginning of the season.  I actually learned this strategy from reading a book that was in part written by Sparky Anderson.  He set it up like this.

If the manager comes to the mound during the game to pull the pitcher, he probably is not going to be very happy.  It usually means things are not going too well for the team so the manager is not in the best of moods to start with.  The pitcher is probably not very thrilled about how things are going either and probably doesn’t want to come out.  Two competitive, angry guys converging doesn’t make for a positive start to any conversation.

Therefore, Sparky’s rule was this.  When he came to get a pitcher, neither he nor the pitcher was allowed to say a word.  The ball was handed to the manager and the pitcher walked to the dugout.  That was it.  No “atta boy.”  No “get ‘em next time.”  Nothing.  Just hand him the ball and walk off the mound.  If a pitcher had an issue with being taken out, the manager’s office after the game was the proper time and place for that conversation.  After the game allowed for both sides to calm down and not allow the emotion of the moment to get the best of either of them.  The privacy of an office kept the talk between the two of them as well instead of the whole world.

Even though most levels are not going to have a manager’s office, the same concept works on any level.  Don’t say a word and if there needs to be a conversation, wait until after the game when you can meet one-on-one.


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