Browsing Archive March, 2010

Josh Thole’s Catching Stance


Take a look at the above photo, taken in Port St. Lucie from yesterday’s intrasquad game by Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog. It’s Josh Thole in his “runners on” catching stance.

Notice the flat back, weight forward on the balls of the feet (and off the heels), arms extended out in front. It’s classic, 1970s positioning, made famous by the likes of Johnny Bench.

And it’s wrong.

That’s right — Johnny Bench, the greatest catcher who ever lived — used an improper, inefficient catching stance.

If you didn’t think I was off my rocker when criticizing Sandy Koufax last week, then surely you believe I’ve gone bonkers on this one.


Living in the Past

According to those with access to the innards of Tradition Field, the phrase “Prevention and Recovery” is painted on the walls throughout the clubhouse in Port St. Lucie. This is an additional slogan to the “We Believe in Comebacks” spun out by the Mets’ PR department in early January.


Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue. Not much “ring” to it. Certainly not something you’d expect to hear booming from the rafters of Citi Field during a tense moment near the end of a playoff game (if Citi Field had rafters, or if the Mets were in a playoff game).

Rather, it sounds like someone who has been spooked by injuries. While most teams are concerned with playing the game, the Mets are focused on staying healthy. Like most of what this organization has done for the past decade or so, it’s reactive — the Mets had a ton of injuries last year, so this year they’ll try to prevent them.

We touched on this early in the offseason, when we discussed The Big Fix and the General Consensus. In that post, we surmised that the Mets believed they were only “one piece away” from a championship. But it’s clear there’s more to it than that — they believe they can get where they want to be by merely fixing what went wrong last time.

That’s no way to build a championship team, and it’s not the attitude of a winner. Winners don’t concern themselves with what went wrong last time, they don’t become fixated on what held them back from their goals. Rather, winners focus on the here and now, and think about what they need to do to get where they want to go — not where they’ve been.

Yes, it’s true that the Mets suffered a rash of injuries last year. Some believe — incorrectly — that injuries were the sole cause for their disappointing season. Even if that were true, focusing on staying healthy should not be what is on the players’ minds — what they need to do to win should be on their minds. Injuries are going to occur, no matter what, and the great teams rise above them.

It’s also true that the Mets have been deluged with questions from the media on how they plan to stay healthy, so there was a need to address the issue from that standpoint. But again, it should not be “top of mind”, or an internal mantra. Combining “Prevention and Recovery” with “We Believe in Comebacks” is living in the past. Why re-hash the misery of 2009? The Mets should have done everything they could to erase the negative images of last year, and move the mindset to a completely new and different place.

Don’t dwell on the past, don’t tell me you’re sorry, don’t tell me what went wrong. If something needs fixing then go ahead and fix it — and then MOVE ON. Forge AHEAD. Move FORWARD, toward your goal.

That’s a better mantra, don’t you think? “Fix it and move on.” Has a ring to it, at least.