First Ever Response to a Reader's Question!!

For the first time ever, I got an email from one of y'all that read my blog, and also for the first time ever, I'm gonna answer that question for today's post. 


The question from Bob H. is as follows, "What [do] you think about on the mound when you pitch?  Are you always thinking of the batter and the pitch you’ll throw or does your mind ever wander…say to the cutie in the 3rd row or what you can draw next with DrawSomething?   Do you ever go all Bill “spaceman” Lee?"


It's a great question and deserves as close to a great answer as I can muster. 


When I'm on the mound in a game, I try to keep my mind as blank as possible. I don't mean to say that I think about nothing, but I try to keep it clear of mental traffic. I don't want to be thinking about the last pitch, or next hitter, or what my ERA will be after this inning. I want to be clear, focused, and present in the moment and for that pitch. This is easier said than done, and yes - I mess it up all the time. But every so often you hear about a pitcher or a player saying that when they are doing best it seems like the body just takes over and they don't even have to think about what is going on. I believe that this feeling comes from a mind that is clear, at rest, and available in the moment (pardon me while I get a little hippy dippy on you - its the Cali Boy in me). 


To more directly answer your question, I do think about the hitter, getting him out is always the main concern. Obviously there are going to be external things that need to be dealt with as well, but it is important to remember that when you have the baseball you are controlling the game, and if things get too sped up - you can always slow the game down by just stepping off and taking a second to collect yourself. The batter in the box is, for me, something that can be used to my advantage. I like to think about attacking the hitter, and forcing him to take action (hopefully on my terms) so he makes a mistake. A perfect game for me is when I keep sending guys back to the dugout talking about how they missed me by "this much". Doesn't matter if you miss it by and inch or a foot, if I make you miss - I did my job. 


As far as the cutie in the 3rd row - might as well be an empty seat. This may sound a little far fetched, but I promise, I don't notice people. I have actually gotten into tiffs with girlfriends over this very thing, I just will not notice people in the stands. Actually - thats a lie. The only person that I notice in the stands and that has the ability to get in my head, is my Dad. I have actually told him that he can't sit behind the plate when I throw because I see him and I start to get nervous and anxious based off his reactions to the game. He has to sit over the first base dugout where he's behind me and I don't have to be distracted by the person who's opinion matters most to me. Beyond that, I don't really see people. I may notice someone as I walk off the mound to the dugout, but as far as "cuties" go - pitching is not the tame to get distracted by cute girls. 


Finally, I don't know what going "all Bill Lee" means. I'm sorry to let you down - I'd love to have a snappy retort to this one, or maybe a sincere answer, but lets not get our hopes up. 


The fact of the matter is, that when I'm on the bump its the only thing that matters in my life. It's part of the reason that I love the game so much. It gives me a respite from the entire rest of the world. I get to forget about any off field troubles or concerns I have. For however long I'm pitching that baseball, I get to be myself, and doing something I love. 


Thanks, Bob, for the question and I hope I was able to answer it in a somewhat satisfactory way. Please keep the questions coming - I really do like having the opportunity to check in with you guys and answer any questions that come to mind (even the silly ones). 


As always, follow me on twitter (@C_M_Cook) I'm trying to make it to 1000 followers before I break camp. And if you have any questions or comments or hate mail or pictures of your cat, email me at colecook.soc@gmail.com.


Only a handful of short days till opening day! Let's make 2012 count! GO TRIBE.