I have big hopes for Giants reliever Sergio Romo, who arguably has the best slider in the National League. Romo might well also be not just the most upbeat, but appreciative guys on the planet.
"I'm the luckiest guy in the world" he declared, great words from a player who certainly had to struggle for the first time in the Majors last year, as he lost his closing gig to Santiago Casilla during a rough stretch.
Philosophically, Romo noted, "I just want to make each pitch the best one I can each time I go out there."
To me, that is the essence of the game: the next pitch is the only one that matters. Romo elucidated, invoking muscle memory as both the perfect essence of the game, as well as a periodically worst enemy.
Romo said--crediting his father with a lot of what makes him the man and player that he is--that the combination of repetition, coupled with experience, makes it so that he knows what he has to do pitch-to-pitch, and that is a lot of what helps him succeed.
I asked, though, if his delivery was not unlike--and as frustrating as--a golf swing in that it was indeed repetition, but that you know immediately not just when your swing is bad, but what went wrong?
"Oh yeah," he agreed, "I know right away if I dropped my arm or didn't finish the pitch just right. You can just feel it.
The difficulty," Romo said, "is in trying not to think about it (think Crash Davis) and yet focusing the let muscle memory do its thing.
But, if I do concentrate on simply trying to make each pitch the best one, it all falls in place.
I am a pretty happy guy," he concluded, and sort of impulsive. If I feel like skateboarding, it is just what I feel like doing at the time. But, that doesn't mean I don't take my game seriously."
With 78 saves over 351.6 innings, to go with 394 whiffs and an 0.927 WHIP, I guess not (my bet is Romo gets his closer gig back by May).