Casey Stengel, running the 1950's Yankee juggernaut, used to cornpone to the press "It's a big game. I gotta have m'man behind the plate." Of course Yogi Berra along with Johnny Bench and, later, a handful of others (Fisk, IRod, Carter, Piazza, maybe Torre) was one of the 60-WAR catchers who played for dynasties. I've often wondered what the correlation would be, if you could measure it properly: what does a Johnny Bench do for a talented team.
The "noise" today - spacing out on where I found it - that [Mike Zunino has a completely new demeanor in the pitchers' meetings.]
That would make sense. I mean, we all know they're professional enough to tend to business whether it's a .154 hitter going over the charts or not, but .... you would RADIATE "winningness" if you also happened to be the guy who hit the back row of the stadium the night before.
If you gave me a choice of 9 position players, somehow all exactly all the same talent, all HOF'ers, it's pretty easy to say you'd start with Johnny Bench. And it's pretty easy to imagine the ballclub's self-image connecting itself to the Bench, or whichever star you've got behind home plate.
... oh! Wishiker had it! Over in the "Noise" thread. We'd tuned into each other's brain waves:
All the way from D.C. I read this (though the quotes were also printed locally)
original link was, a record for me, 190 characters
“You see it right away. I was anticipating we’d see a little different guy in spring training, and there’s no question,” Servais said. “Just from a confidence standpoint, his ability get up and lead meetings and talk to the pitchers. It’s about signs, it’s about sequence, things you want to do different than last year."
If that's the case. The pitching could actually get a boost from the catchers learning. That could be huge by simply helping a bit here and there.
Zuumball might regress, as we all know, but (1) after he came back up in June last year he had no single month in which he slugged less than .453, which you can't say about Buster Posey (.386 in JUL and .354 in AUG), Yadier Molina (.369 in JUL) or Gary Sanchez (.396 in JUL). We're just throwing that in for perspective's sake; this guy is very short to the ball, few moving parts, tremendous energy from sheer physicality. He's liable to put a long fly ball up there six or seven times a month, whether he's in synch or not. His Power Index just happened to fly by Jack Zduriencik's wildest dreams.
Zunino is club-controlled for this year and two more; if he and Mitch Haniger have the seasons they're supposed to, the club will be fun to watch win or lose. You know, it's one thing to say Ben Gamel has a chance, that Marc-O Gonzales has a shot, that you like Andrew Moore's future. But this club has a lot of young players who are 80% odds-on, the guys at SS and RF and C and CF and keep going.
Get Zunino out there Large and In Charge, and the vibe will change, full stop.