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Orioles hire sports psychologist “to provide mental performance services”

Feb 24, 2012, 11:19 AM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals v Baltimore Orioles Getty Images

Dan Duquette’s latest move as the Orioles’ new executive vice president of baseball operations is hiring a sports psychologist who, according to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com will “provide mental-performance services.”

Ghiroli reports that the sports psychologist, Seth Kaplan, will focus on working with pitchers and Duquette noted that he’ll attempt to improve “mental toughness.”

Kaplan, who’s previously worked with the military, has already met individually with most of the pitching staff and based on Brian Matusz‘s collapse last season he’d presumably be a big part of the plans.

Zach Britton seemed enthused about the hiring, saying: “We never had anybody we could really go to or talk to before.” Considering even a highly paid sports psychologist would probably earn only a fraction of the MLB minimum salary it seems like a worthwhile investment.

  1. cur68 - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Sports psychologist, eh? What’s he gonna tell ‘em? “Losing is a disease, as contagious as the bubonic plague”? Yeah. That’s been done. Try a magic bat instead, and embed a silver bullet in everyone. That’ll have the same effect.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:50 PM

      Okay thanks, guy with 1950’s view of Psychology.

      • cur68 - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:56 PM

        That’s 1950′s view of Sports psychology, thanks very much guy with a 1999 view of Matt Stairs (for which I applaud you). Besides, when you quote The Natural how wrong can you go?

  2. markcycy - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    Is there a way that he can get them out of the AL east.

  3. dowhatifeellike - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Between this guy and the guy doing biomechanical analysis for the pitchers, the Orioles have finally entered the 21st century. Unfortunately, their owner is still stuck in 1997.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:51 PM

      Hopefully Angelos’ grandson, Gollum, will take over someday.

    • JBerardi - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:32 PM

      Dan Duquette: bringing the most advanced sports management theory (of 1992) to Baltimore Orioles.

  4. nolanwiffle - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    They employed one of these guys from ’68 to ’82, I believe. He used to hold group sessions in the dugout and say things like “see the goddam ball, hit the goddam ball”. and “Jesus Christ, throw strikes”. It seemed to work for the players of that era.

  5. Detroit Michael - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    For those wondering how common it is for MLB teams to employ a sports psychologist, here’s an excerpt from an interview on Fangraphs earlier this month:
    DL: How may teams currently employ Performance Enhancement Instructors, or Sports Psychologists?
    BP: Last year, out of 30 organizations, I think there were only six or seven, although I could be wrong. There might be more.

    Source: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/qa-brian-peterson-the-tigers-mental-edge/

  6. Chris K - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    If I recall in a recent interview, Dirk Hayhurst spoke on how the Toronto Blue Jays one helped get him through some tough times. It was the same guy who worked with him in San Diego coincidentally.

  7. joeflaccosunibrow - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    They need mental toughness when their ERA is 4 and the team’s runs per game is 2. I would need a psychologist too.

    In fact, this psychologist should stand at the gate of Camden Yards and console dopes that bought tickets. My team sucks!

    • JBerardi - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:43 PM

      Your math is wrong, and yet, your conclusion is correct.

  8. psuravens19 - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Is this hiring for the players or their fans? God knows we need a psychologist…

    • paperlions - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:52 PM

      I’m sure it is to help the players deal with the fact that the Orioles are owned by Angelos and have Duquette as a GM….that is enough to depress anyone. If they can keep these guys focused on life after free agency, it should help their performance.

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