Woodrey: Anatomy Of A CloserColumns
For as bad of a wrap as lefthanded pitchers get, closers definitely take the cake as the most unique players in the game. No two closers are the same, and no one style is better than the next. In my time at the University of Miami, I got to experience several unique personalities as they attacked the role. There’s both a mental and physical component to being a closer, and I am going to dissect just what it takes to excel in each area.
It’s the bottom of the ninth and your team is up one run. The opposing team has been building momentum, and you need to close it out and secure the win. So who do you bring in: the crazy, hyped up closer who has been chirping at the other team from the dugout all game, or the locked in reliever that has been visualizing in the corner of the dugout all game? Trick question! It doesn’t matter.
The majority of my career I had the extreme pleasure of watching Miami’s current all-time saves leader, and 2016 Stopper of the Year, Bryan Garcia. Garcia was a fierce competitor — maybe the best I have ever seen in my years of baseball. Many others on the team shared in this opinion, as was evident from him being voted team captain as both a sophomore and then again as a junior before foregoing his senior year to play pro ball for the Detroit Tigers. When game time rolled around, Garcia would mentally lock in.
“The mental side of the game I think is what separates closers,” Garcia explained. “There are so many closers that have incredible stuff, but when a situation gets difficult the game seems to speed up on them. Before they know it the lead is gone.”
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