BronxBanterBlog.com has an extensive interview with Matt McCarthy, author of Odd Man Out.
A couple Q&A’s of interest:
BB: Can you talk about the arrested development of the clubhouse culture. How do boys become men in that world?
MM: See: Kotchman, Tom. The Angels are very fortunate to have Kotchman. He could easily be a big league manager but instead he’s chosen to coach a rookie ball team. He’s able to influence players who’ve just signed very large (and very small) contracts and instill in them a culture of winning and for that the franchise owes him a large debt of gratitude. I don’t know if there are many guys like him still around, but I hope there are. That lucky charm of his — a large black ***** with two baseballs glued to the base — is something I’ll never forget. And the same is true of his Andrew Dice Clay impression. I’ve been out of baseball for six years and I still think about the Dice Man. He’s mentioned in recent interviews that he’s planning to retire from coaching sometime soon to become a full time scout. As I say in the book, I hope he reconsiders.
BB: Can you explain your relationship with your pitching coaches. How much input did they give you? How much were you left to figure things out on your own? And were players in your position in a much different spot than say a top prospect?
MM: Minor league pitching coaches have a difficult job. They’re working with players who have been very successful doing things their own way, and many are hesitant to make major changes to their mechanics. I had a funky delivery and wasn’t particularly interested in trying out new deliveries against the best hitters I had ever faced. But I was fortunate to have an excellent pitching coach, Kernan Ronan, who went to great lengths to explain his pitching philosophy and I think it’s why he was able to connect with so many of his players. He was also wise enough to append any suggestion with the disclaimer that “ultimately this is your career, and you have to decide what’s right for you.”
BB: You are out of the game now. Are you worried at all about the responses the book might get from some of the players?
MM: I’m in touch with a handful of guys from the organization and several have said they are disappointed that they’re not featured more prominently in the book. I’m sure others won’t feel that way.
BB: Who do you think might be upset?
MM: It’s no secret that I’m most critical of other pitchers in the book- particularly the left-handed pitchers. If a position player hit a home run, my first thought was, “Hey, good for him,” but if a left-handed pitcher struck out the side, my first thought was, “what does this mean for my career?” We used to joke about the half-hearted high-fives that guys competing for the same position would give each other.