01/04/2008 3:01 PM
This week Patrick Arlis takes your questions. Find out what it was like for him to get the call back to affiliated ball.
Happy Holidays Patrick!! I was wondering if you handle every pitcher the same or differently? It seems like once you got here our pitchers started pitching a lot better. You also seemed like a wall behind the plate.
Ed – Kansas City, KS
I handle each pitcher on the staff differently. As you catch each guy throughout the season you get to know his strengths and weaknesses, and with time you develop a comfort/trust factor with each one. Some guys you can be loud and tough with for success and others you need to almost baby to get them to become successful. It takes time and the productivity that you get out of them directly relates to home much they trust you.
Do you have any tips you could give my son?
Tips for your son would be to always have fun, that’s what the game is about. People lose track of what the game really is, and that giving your best effort. Some days you’re on top and other days you have to tip your hat to the other guy. Baseball is a fast game once the ball is put into play, the easiest way to play the game with success is to slow the game down. We practice so much that when the plays actually happen it should come natural, we don’t have to over think the situation and go crazy, just play. Physical mistakes will happen and playing hard that is understood, but mental mistakes take away from the game because we worry too much.
From your view behind the plate, who do you think made the best plays? Thank you very much.
There were a lot of great plays this year. I have the luxury of sitting back and watching things develop. Its hard to pick the best one, it’s a running season highlight in my head while I think about it. All in all I think I would have to give all the credit to the outfielders. Some of the balls they tracked down I thought would have never been caught off the bat.
Have you always been a catcher during your professional career? How did you learn to tolerate all that gear on our toasty summer afternoons?
Donna and Bill – Shawnee, KS
I’ve always been a catcher in my professional career. In college I was practicing to become an outfielder but that only lasted 3 outs because of some injuries to other team members.
The gear is an easy answer for myself. In the off-season I put my body through hell while I work out. I try to simulate game situations. When I lift and run I always wear sweat pants and a hooded sweat shirt. This makes my environment hotter like game situations. I have to make sure I drink plenty of fluids but when the season rolls around and the temperature hits 95 it feels fine because I have been working out like that all year and not just in games.
How did the T Bones compare to the Carolina Mudcats? Did you travel as much with them?
Carolina is a farm team with the Florida Marlins and they preached a lot about minor league development. I played with a lot of young players and we didn’t win very often. It wasn’t about winning it was about development and I think that took the game and desire away from a lot of people. I enjoyed playing with the T Bones, it got me back to the purity of the game. Going out everyday and playing as hard as you can to win. The travel in the Southern league was really bad, our shortest trip was 6 hours and the longest ran up to 14. There were a lot of nights sleeping on the floor of a bus in a sleeping bag and pulling into the park and having to wake up and play.
What keeps you busy in the off-season? What do you do to stay in shape?
My off-season right now consists of giving lessons both hitting and catching and substitute teaching K-12. I try to work out 5 to 6 days a week, depending on how much time I can get free from working and giving lessons. I also took up snowboarding with my brother and that seems to be an amazing work out for me right now as long as I stop falling.
What did you think when you got the call that you were going to get another shot at affiliated ball?
Jasper - Olathe
I was relieved. Not many people get a second shot and I’m fortunate enough to get another one. I have seen both sides of the game now and realize how fragile a career really is and I plan to work twice as hard to keep myself in an organization and making my way towards the big leagues.
You really made an impact with the team, what is it about a catcher that can make such an impact on a team?
Stan - Lenexa
A lot of people will tell you that in order to be a catcher you have to be a bit crazy. You willingly putting yourself in front of a ball that will hurt when it hits you, and yes everyone gets hit, but once you accept that then the game is a whole lot easier. Being a catcher is almost like being a psychologist, it’s a mind game on the field. You are trying to get your pitcher to throw strikes. You have to know every player on the other team, their ins and outs. Who is having a good day or a bad one. Its complex, most people think one play ahead. Before the ball is hit they know where they are going to throw the ball. As a catcher you have to think 3 and 4 pitches in advance, and every scenario that comes along with it, also you need to remember everything in the game up until that point so that you are not giving anything away by getting into a bad rhythm.
What is the nicest stadium you’ve ever played in?
Lisa - Omaha, NE
The nicest stadium would have to when I was called up to AAA with the marlins and played in Albuquerque, NM. That place was amazing and I had a great time playing there.
From what you saw, which Northern League field had the best playing surface?
Karen – Platte City
Kansas City had the best playing surface by far. The dirt was never too hard or too soft. It was the most consistent field that I have ever played on. The field crew did an excellent job.
From the entire 2007 season, what memory will stand out the most in your mind?
Matt - Maryville
My favorite memory would be my first game playing against the Schaumburg Flyers. I live local and had roughly 40 family and friends sitting right behind the on deck circle watching me play. This was the first time anyone other than my parents and siblings have seen me play professionally. I couldn’t stop smiling every time I went up to hit and I would turn around and they would all wave at me. There is nothing more gratifying than having family members support you, because no matter how good or bad you play, you will always be number one to them. That night it was more than entertainment, it was an experience.
What do you think of the Texas Rangers organization?
Ralf - St. Joeseph
I honestly know nothing about the Texas Rangers other than they are slim in the catching department. The scout that originally signed me with the marlins is now with Texas and was instrumental in getting me a job over there. He believes I’m a perfect fit for their organization and I believe him.
As a minor leaguer, what is Spring Training like?
Chad – Kansas City, KS
Spring Training can be tedious at times but it is necessary. There is a lot of standing around in between drills and meetings. But at the same time you are always moving from one field to the next and then inside for lunch and then back out for a game. Its tough on the feet. Imagine the most uncomfortable shoes you have and you run around and stand all day in the hot sun. Most days start at between 8 and 9am on the field and then end between 3:30 and 4:30pm. It’s a long day, your not always full go but the days wear physically and mentally.
Next week, rookie outifielder Nick Jaros will answer your questions. Submit them now to firstname.lastname@example.org.