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Gregg Zaun can't get the ball back to the mound

Apr 27, 2010, 10:48 AM EDT

Gregg Zaun headshot.JPGIt was a laugher for the Brewers last night, but early on Gregg Zaun suffered through a catcher’s nightmare: an inability to throw the ball back to the mound after a pitch.  The video is here, and you can’t watch it without thinking back to Macky Sasser, who was unable to throw the ball back to the mound in the 1990 season when he played for the Mets.  It was obviously some kind of mental block for Sasser, because he had no problem firing it down to second base.

Zaun was otherwise fine. More than fine, really, given that he had five RBI in the game.  And eventually his throwing did straighten itself out.

In light of things ending well for Z-game, we can have a little fun with this. First, there’s Wezen-Ball, who found a potential solution for Zaun in a 55 year-old Peanuts cartoon.  The guys at Tauntr have another solution. This one involves watching part of the movie “Major League 2,”  however, so proceed with caution.

  1. BC - Apr 27, 2010 at 10:59 AM

    I think that was actually how they cured Mackey Sasser – have him fire the ball full speed back to the pitcher, the same pace as if he was throwing to second base.

  2. smsetnor - Apr 27, 2010 at 11:05 AM

    If he’s embarrassed or hurting, I got a little pep-up for him.
    Greg, Don’t let it keep ya down for long. I mean, let me tell ya something from my own personal experience. I’ve never had a problem throwing a ball back to the pitvcher like you, but I did get kicked in the balls once by a mule. Now, I thought I would be hurting for the rest of my life. But you know what happened the very next week? My Momma died. After that, I didn’t even care about my balls hurting no more. You see what I’m getting at?
    -Shane
    You see what I did there? Huh? Eh? Eh? Anybody? OK, could have been worse. I could have quoted something from Major League 3…

  3. smsetnor - Apr 27, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    Aw crap. Tauntr already posted that. My internetting skillz are no compromised and of questionable intregrity.
    Well here’s this for you since I’m sucking it up today. Here’s something even suckier. Let’s just say, the diamond has never been so rough:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qXKdhE_E60

  4. Jason @ IIATMS - Apr 27, 2010 at 11:25 AM

    I had this same problem in my softball league. Oddly, a baseball was no problem for me, but a softball messed with my release point and I couldn’t consistently make the shortest throw in the game. I had myself replaced the next inning. Frustrating.

  5. Professor Longnose - Apr 27, 2010 at 11:35 AM

    It’s possible what Mackie Sasser had was neurological: a condition in which the nervous system subconsciously learns the wrong thing to do in the same way in which it can learn the right thing to do. A very interesting book on sports neurology is Why Michael Couldn’t Hit And Other Tales of the Neurology of Sports, by Harold L. Klawans.

  6. Ross - Apr 27, 2010 at 11:35 AM

    Sometimes, Captcha is all the comment you need: apologetically pitiable.

  7. DSFC - Apr 27, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    Remember Sasser used to do that little routine? Bring the ball up once, twice, then try to throw it on the third time. I think at one point he was reduced to underhand tosses.

  8. Jack Meoffer - Apr 27, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    Mackey Sasser also liked something else off the field too. That might of contributed to his throwing problems.

  9. Ron - Apr 27, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    It’s reasons just like this why the pitcher has to throw the ball 4 times for an intentional walk, instead of making it automatic.
    Anything can happen on the field, at anytime.
    Nice to see the infielders paying attention and backing up the pitcher like they are supposed to. Of course, that’s usually asking a lot of guys making milions of dollars.

  10. Dr. Richard Crowley - Apr 27, 2010 at 8:07 PM

    I worked with Steve Sax in 1983 benefiting his errant throwing. Steve Blass and I worked toghether in 1998 at Brandenton and 90 minutes later he found the strike zone. Same for Mark Wohlers when the Reds flew me in back in 1999. Three hour long sessions later he was throwing strikes without anxiety, but had to have Tommy John surgery because he was throwing so long in the wrong arm slot. Shane Green overcame his long-term slump with the Dodgers in 2004 in an hour’s time over the phone too.
    Zaun’s issue is like many ball palyers that come and go. I called his problem “a disconnect”, a psychic virus, an invisible opponent. It is not psycholgical, nor mechanical in nature. It is quite fixable in no more than 2 hours time.
    If Zaun’s struggle continues and somebody reading this knows him, have him contact me. There is no need for him to go through the horrible emotional pain of being humiliated. sportsmaker.com

  11. Chris Kinyon - Apr 28, 2010 at 7:38 AM

    Reminds me of Rube Baker in Major League Back to the Minors. 34-DD :)

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