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What’s the point of a mound visit?

May 8, 2014, 10:35 AM EDT

Roger McDowell AP AP

The most famous mound visit in history was Robert Wuhl’s “candlesticks” mound visit in “Bull Durham.” But according to Dirk Hayhurst, it’s not necessarily overly-exaggerated. Given how little time a manager or a pitching coach has to say to a pitcher in trouble, and given how few things a pitcher can actually adjust on the fly, sometimes those visits are more about getting the pitcher out of his own head than anything else:

Sometimes a coach will make the walk out, ask you about how your girlfriend is in the sack and then stand there while you giggle, saying nothing about pitching at all. Sometimes he’ll come out and just stare at you, waiting for the umpire to show up so he can rip him a new one over how bad his zone is . . . The best coaches know their players’ personalities, what motivates or defeats them.

It’s a great column on a art form not many of us know anything about. And a great argument for putting microphones on pitching coaches. Do that, throw a five second delay on it for the F-bombs and you have vastly increased the entertainment factor of a broadcast.

  1. thomas844 - May 8, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    “Listen, kid. There’s a reliever we’re trying to get in this game so we can take you out. I just came out here to give him some more time to warm up.”

  2. hotkarlsandwich - May 8, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Chet Steadman “it’s all about the have-to”

    • phantomspaceman - May 8, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      I am SICK of hearing about Chet Steadman!

      • rocketsteadman - May 8, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        How dare you

      • ditto65 - May 8, 2014 at 11:40 AM

        Who is Chet Steadman?

    • edouble86 - May 8, 2014 at 11:16 AM

      I loved that movie.

      “Rowenfurter!”

    • thomas844 - May 8, 2014 at 11:34 AM

      “What the heck was I talking about?”
      “What the heck was he talking about?”

  3. imnotyourbuddyguy - May 8, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    Ban visits to the mound. In fact ban managers from even stepping out of the dugout. It’s a waste of time. Let’s shake things up

    • Bryz - May 8, 2014 at 2:09 PM

      You are most definitely not my friend, buddy.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 8, 2014 at 2:10 PM

      • moogro - May 9, 2014 at 3:44 AM

        love this

  4. shawndc04 - May 8, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    Pitching coach:

    “Kid, you’ve got the wrong date. The Fourth of July was last Thursday.”

  5. number42is1 - May 8, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    Patches O’Hoolihan
    “You need to get ANGRY!” *punch in the nuts*

  6. cohnjusack - May 8, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    Seems like a fun task for the Beyond the Boxscore crowd would be to comb through the data to see if mound visits actually have an affect.

    Go for it anybody who isn’t me!

  7. tbird05 - May 8, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    I remember a coach coming out to the mound once when I was pitching to give me some peanuts…nothing special, but plain jane peanuts. I struct the next two guys out.

    There is something to that “getting him out of his head” routine.

    • tbird05 - May 8, 2014 at 1:05 PM

      struck*

  8. gladiatory2k - May 8, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    Bad lip reading should do a mound visit expose like in the NFL commercials. I think it would be priceless.

  9. illuminancer - May 8, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    Best mound visit was Game 1 of the 2012 World Series. Verlander’s “What the hell are you doing out here?” look would be the best thing ever, if not for the “Wow!” a few minutes later.

    • jwbiii - May 8, 2014 at 5:27 PM

      Nope, Dick Williams, 8th inning, this game.

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/OAK/OAK197210180.shtml

      Bobby Tolan steals second to give Reds runners on 2nd and 3rd. Rollie Fingers is 3-2 on Johnny Bench. Dick Williams comes out, points at Bench, points at 1B, says “Throw a slider down the middle.”

  10. 1981titan - May 8, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    Hey, you can’t forget the value of the Pitching coach getting his mug on TV. Tommy Lasorda used to do it all the time

  11. scyankee64 - May 8, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    My catcher once came out and told me to check out the rack on that blonde in the bleachers.

  12. mikhelb - May 8, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    Advocating the use of microphones so we can listen to F-bombs live on tv with kids in the living room, but censoring the comments section in here (to what I agree in part).

  13. mikhelb - May 8, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    Bouton had a few very good anecdotes about coaches/managers visiting pitchers on the mound, or players just telling pitchers to check out a girl in the seats

  14. halfthemoney - May 8, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    But….but…..how does a mound visit get accounted for in sabermetrics? Every comment here talks about the feel for the game. ” Feel….Feel….theres no feel in baseball”

  15. drewsylvania - May 8, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    Mound visits are delay of game. Get rid of ‘em now. Worse than steroids.

  16. bbfictionotto - May 9, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    The majority are to give a reliever more warm-up time. Second is to give the pitcher a breather. Third is to discuss the wheel play on a possible but attempt with a runner on second. Fourth is discuss putting the batter on intentionally to set up a double play even though he is the potential tying or winning run. Fifth is to give the catcher time to un-ring his bell after a foul tip to the cajones.

    The other most often is to calm the pitcher down after the ump has squeezed him enough times to boil his water. It was the most frequently used trip for me, as a pitcher who hated the bad calls worse than death itself. I used to glare, and stand behind the mound rubbing the ball up until the ump got pissed. Then if there was nobody on, I would throw one 10 feet up the backstop and yell “Now THAT was a ball”

    I wasn’t very popular with umpires, but I cracked my team up plenty of times and kept us loose.

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