If those that can’t do teach, then what do those that can do… do?
I will keep my story vague for the rare possibility that the subject of this story every finds this, but at one point I had a math teacher (I have taken a lot of math classes in my time). This person is brilliant. You could just tell by how easy everything about the subject seemed to be for them. Too easy. I am not brilliant. Occasionally I would not understand the new material and needed further explanation. But my teacher was brilliant, so the explanation was sort of “you just do this, see?” No, you just do that. What do I do as a Noted Idiot?
I cannot find the story anywhere so this might be something I made up (or maybe it was about a different player – if you know, let me know in the comments), but I recall a similar anecdote from a former St. Louis Cardinals player about asking Albert Pujols for hitting advice. Albert Pujols is a brilliant hitter and that apparently came through with his advice.
I don’t feel like this would be the case with Yadier Molina, though. He is a naturally gifted catcher with a terrific throwing arm and that cannot be taught, but the cerebral nature of catching – the game within the game, as they say, — seems to lend itself well to teaching. He has spent years reviewing game plans and thinking over pitching strategies. That is knowledge I am excited about him being able to pass on to younger players. The news that the Cardinals are trying to bring him in to do just that not only is fun from a nostalgic sense, but from the baseball aspect, seems like a smart idea. “We will always try to find a place for someone like Yadi,” The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports from president of baseball operations John Mozeliak. And yeah… from every angle you look at it, they absolutely should.
Like I said before though, the cannon for an arm probably cannot be taught. Pop time, throwing accuracy, pitch framing… There is a reason Yadier Molina is one of the best. It is from hard work and practice starting at a young age, but also a degree of natural ability. It is something we have been pretty lucky to watch for the last two decades. And maybe... just maybe... some of it can be taught.
This is first part of a post idea I have that involves actually conducting an experiment, which is why this is a little brief. I don’t know how it will turn out, but the entire concept is in recognition of Yadier Molina’s talents. Stay tuned if you are interested in that sort of thing.