If this is any indication of things to come, I'm not only frightened, I'm worried that I might long for the return of Mel Stottlemyre (yikes).
More than ever, the Yankees need direction from their pitching coach, which means it's either a blessing or a curse that Ron Guidry has no professional experience fixing pitchers.
I don't see how you can call a guy having no experience a "blessing."
If it's simplicity the Yankees need, Guidry will be the staff's savior. He's not the kind of baseball man who believes in breaking down pitchers' windups and release points in a laboratory like the Mets' Rick Peterson.
Peterson has a laboratory? Fascinating.
Instead, Guidry is a throwback to the '70s and '80s, back when pitchers were counseled by go-get-'em pep talks and not much else. Even though today's pitching coaches can measure torque and hip rotation at 500 frames a second, Guidry has no intention of remaking himself as a computer geek.
How is looking at a guy's throwing technique and mechanics becoming a "computer geek"? Why do sports writers dismiss someone who analyzes someting rationally as a "geek"?
"I don't feel like you have to do a lot of that stuff," Gator said. "I'm from the older generation. We liked to keep it simple, and sometimes the simplest way is the best way.
Considering ex-Yankee pitchers who have done better since leaving the club (notably, Jose Conrtreras, Jeff Weaver and Javier Vazquez) have all mentioned that the problems they had in New York were related to poor mechanics, I'd say you probably should have to do a lot of that stuff, Ron. You were not hired to be a professional ass-slapper.
"It's not my job to change anyone's mechanics."
Sorry for the large print, but I mean, come on, Ron! I am pretty sure analyzing a pitcher's mechanics is one of the top job priorities of a pitching coach. If there was an opening for a MLB pitching coach posted to monster.com, my guess is it would include "Candidate should demonstrate ability to evaluate, analyze and correct flaws in a pitcher's mechanics." I'm fairly certain that "ass-patting" would only be listed under "preferred skills" at best.
"By the time a guy is 35 or even 25, it's too late for that. I'm here to make sure a pitcher is doing the things he's always done. If he gets hit, well, sometimes that happens. You can't always run to a computer and ask how to fix it."
Again with the computers. How about watching film? On a television? Is a VCR a computer? How would looking at a tape of the game and noticing "hey, Wang's release point is too low" make someone a "computer nerd"?
That straight-ahead philosophy could be just what Pavano and Johnson need, although it remains to be seen how Guidry will commune with the cerebral and sometimes cranky Mussina.
What Pavano needs is a sip from the Holy Grail from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Johnson just needs to be left alone, really. And why the snide Mussina reference? Is is because he's cerebral? Being smart is bad I see, because maybe a smart person knows how to use a computer.
The Yankees are taking no chances, surrounding Guidry with a support staff that includes bullpen coach Joe Kerrigan, who served as pitching guru with the Expos, Red Sox and Phillies (and is computer literate) and former coach Mel Stottlemyre, who's in camp as a special instructor until opening day.
Bob Klapish really should go into details about this computer fetish of his. Kerrigan can check Guidry's email for him and set him up a myspace page. Super. The guy's been fishing on the bayou for the last 16 years. He's probably never even been sent a link to goat.cx and thinks Yahoo! is that austrailian guy from the 80's.
Torre is already as supportive of Guidry as he was of Stottlemyre.
As the manager put it, "He's the one guy the pitchers all respect."
Just wanted to take a moment to point out here that Joe Torre essentially just said that all of the pitchers do not respect him.
Still, for all the organizational love the Yankees have for Gator, the pressure on him will be enormous.
Well according to this article, he believes his job involves pep talks, ass pats, and little else, so where's the pressure, really?
If Johnson loses his slider, or Mussina's fastball never tops 90 mph, or if Wang blows out his arm yet again ... well, it's a scenario too dark for the Yankees to ponder, even with that nuclear offense.
What's really funny here is that a lost slider, fastball or hurt arm can be the result off....... poor mechanics.
Here's my suggestion for the Yankees new.. oh, let's say clubhouse manager: