Wallace Matthews put a post up yesterday talking about Larry Rothschild visiting A.J. Burnett this offseason at A.J.'s home in Maryland, and there were quite a few points that stood out to me.
First, the fact that Rothschild went to Burnett's house and spent a few days there talking with him, watching tape, and watching A.J. throw. I don't know about you, but that just seems like a big deal to me. We all know that A.J. is a bit of a mental midget, and if you don't believe that then you're just lying to yourself. The prevailing thought last season was that his season went downhill when Dave Eiland left and Eiland would cure him of his ills upon his return to the bench. Well, that didn't happen, so maybe it shows that Eiland wasn't that tuned into Burnett and didn't know what made him tick and maybe, just maybe, didn't know or care that much about him at all. Rothschild taking time to not just talk to A.J., but to make a trip to A.J.'s home and spend a few days there working with him and talking to him shows me that he really does care and really does want to see A.J. succeed. More importantly, it probably showed A.J. those same things, which could be a big help in getting A.J.'s mind (and stuff) right for this season.
The second thing that I noticed was this line:
"Rothschild said he has made has made contact with all 32 pitchers expected in camp beginning on Feb. 14 -- make that 33 with the addition today of Freddy Garcia... "
All 32 pitchers? All of them? Really?? Maybe I'm just being naive about what goes on between pitching coaches and their staff, but this seems like a really big thing to do for a new pitching coach with a whole new set of pitchers to learn about and handle through the season. Sure they all report a few weeks prior to the rest of the team, but Rothschild sounds like he's hitting the ground running in getting ready for 2011 and isn't wasting any time in getting to know his pitchers. Some of these guys aren't even going to throw a pitch for the Yankees in 2011 and Rothschild STILL made a point to call them. That kind of commitment doesn't go unnoticed by players, and I see that as a sign of good things to come for the Yankee pitching staff. When you know your coach cares about you, it makes you try harder and makes you want to succeed.
Lastly, as if Matthews knew I was going to love this, he drops in the line about Rothschild already working with Beastances and Brackman in Tampa, helping them refine their deliveries. I have no shame in admitting I started giggling and clapping my hands like a 10-year-old girl at a Jonas Brothers concert when I read that.
A lot still remains to be seen once ST starts and the season really gets going, but Larry Rothschild is already looking like the man in my book.
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