Managing pitchers and giving it everything

In my last blog, I mentioned the psychology of managing pitchers and how this is part of what I love about catching.

People often ask me what I say to pitchers when they see me go to the mound in the middle of a game. First, I should say that I try not to go to the mound too often. I don’t want the pitchers to be thinking I’m there bothering them. I want them to keep their concentration. But I also want to help get them out of trouble when it’s necessary.

And that’s the beauty of catching – reading the situation, knowing the personality of the pitcher, figuring out when it’s too early to say something and when to step in before it’s too late.

AtMound.JPGWhen Barry Zito was on the mound during the last game of the homestand and he was walking some guys, I went out there. I didn’t say anything about how he was pitching. He knows what he’s doing. What I told him was that we’re all here behind you. We’re all in a Giants uniform and we’re all in this together. That’s not going to change no matter what the outcome of the game is. We got your back. OK, let’s go.

Sometimes, of course, I remind a pitcher of something the pitching coach told him in the bullpen before the game. Sometimes I’ll just tell a pitcher to stay back, take his time, get into his rhythm.

The beauty of catching is you have to know all the personalities of the pitchers. It’s not always WHAT you say but HOW you say it. Not everything works for everybody.

I’ve been asked how long it takes for me to get to know what works and what doesn’t work for a pitcher. I’d say about five outings. And that goes both ways — that’s about how long it takes the pitcher to learn to trust me as his catcher.

What I really like about this Giants team is how much trust there is in each other. Everybody is looking out for everybody else. The TV cameras, I know, caught me in the dugout recently giving some instruction to Brian Bocock, our young shortstop. I was telling him that he had to be patient in the batter’s box. He was in a new league, facing new pitchers. He needed to wait on the breaking ball and go the other way to right field and not try to pull everything to left.

AaronRowand.JPG

RandyWinn.JPG

I was frustrated last season that there were players not playing hard enough. This group of guys is unbelievable. Even when we don’t win, we’re out there giving 150 percent every single day. There is so much heart on this team. Aaron Rowand is out there completely banged up and hurting and still diving for balls. Randy Winn is hurting and he’s going out there every day and putting his body on the line.

Our losses are very, very hard on us, in part because we know the fans take the losses hard, too. The fans are such a big part of what we do. If they’re not behind us, we lose something. I can’t even tell you want it is exactly. But we definitely feel it when the fans are behind us and when they’re not. I want them to know that, regardless of the outcome, we’re leaving everything on the field every day.

More later. Thanks for checking in. 

11 Comments

Being a Giants fan is way more than just going out to their baseball games or buying Giants gear. For me, it’s also a reminder of home and my upbringing. I currently live in Orange County and every time I see the Giants on T.V. or even a logo on someone’s hat, I get tons of flashbacks and memories. That is way, I believe, many people are Giants fans and they don’t leave our team. I will always be Giants fan, through thick and thin, through good times and through bad times. I also know that I am not the only one that feel this way, we’re behind the San Francisco Giants all the way.

-Big fan from Orange County, Alex Rosales

Bengie, Please never doubt that we are behind you. I am personally thrilled with the Giants team we have this year and the amazing, young, developing talent. It is going to be a lot of fun to watch this team grow. …And you all are going to surprise a few people along the way!
Roger

Hi Bengie,
I appreciate that you take the time to post your stories on here. It shows that you truly care about your fans. I think you are a fantastic and very consistent hitter! Keep up the good hitting and catching!

Lauren

Great blog Bengie! I’ve always enjoyed watching catcher’s work, and being able to read the insight is great. I got the chance to watch Yadi play for the local Double AA team, The Tennessee Smokies a few years ago, and always enjoyed watching him work. Even though I’m not a Cards fan, I still keep track of him and wish him, and all the Molinas, good luck!

Bengie,

I like the blog!

As a 3rd generation Giants fan (Back to NY days) it is an honor to have you on our team and play as well as you do as well as inspire younger members of the team. We met a few times last year and you are truly a nice guy and I am sure you radiate that energy in club house. Keep up the all the great things you are doing for the Giants Family (including the blog). -Dex (Your old building mate)

I love the fact that you’re a Giant and you care. We’re all behind you and our Giants. You’re a true GIANT Bengie. It’s unfortunate sometimes you have to hear so many negative things from the fans and the media. I can’t imagine how frustating that must be as a player. After all, what do we know…right! We’re not out there on the field. We can tell you’re giving 150%. Nothing is more exciting, as a fan, than seeing a player show emotion on the field. Excitement AND especially, frustration! It shows you care…….and it makes us care. Keep up the great work. I’m a big fan of your talants AND your character. I’m proud you’re a Giant.

Fras,
what’s with Zito, is it mental or mechanical? The natives are getting very restless. He doesn’t seem to have command or velocity and is killing us in the number 1 match-ups. We want him to do well, but what’s the deal?
Thanks for your time, Zman

Hi Bengie,
What a great game tonight! You had Sanchez throwing all the right pitches at the right time. Even better was that all his pitches were working for him. I must say that you are an amazing clutch hitter! Once you get 2 strikes in a 2 out situation, I know something great is going to happen, like a hit, home run, effective RBI or advance the runner out or even just pile on the pitch count to the opposing pitcher. I just starting getting into watching baseball last year, I am defently hooked now. Thanks for all that you do for the Giants, you are one of my favorites!

Jenny

Thank you so much for this great blog!!

Thanks for all you do for the Giants, for the community, and
especially for the pitchers.

You do give it EVERYTHING…every time you play. Thank you for writing the wonderful articles. Even though I am old enough to be your mother, you are definitely MY HERO! Your work ethic, drive for the team, helping the younger players and always in the game makes you someone to look up to and admire!! You are the BEST!

Bengie, I am a big Cardinals fan (so, a big Yadier fan), and a big fan of catchers everywhere. One of my favorite things about the position is the psychology behind it all and everything you have to think about during a game and how you all handle pitchers. Thanks for giving some insight into the position in both this post and the last.

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