Interview With Former Royal Catcher Brent Mayne

Recently, Brent Mayne Launched a website of catcher fundamentals.  I asked Brent for an interview and he gladly agreed to one and the following are the questions and answers.  I would like to thank Brent for his time and hope you enjoy the interview.

What is your favorite experience as a player?  Probably the people I've met more than anything.  As far as a particular moment, either the no-hitter I caught for Bret Saberhagen, winning the championship in AA Memphis, or winning the division with the Dodgers in 2004.

Who was your favorite pitcher to catch? Different guys at different points in their careers.  Saberhagen was fun, Paul Byrd was great, David Cone, Jeff Suppan....too many to mention.

What was the hardest part of catching for you? Not much.  Catching has come pretty easy for me.  I know it inside and out.  If I ever got into a problem, I knew my way out.  Unlike hitting...in my offensive game I'd go through ups and downs and not really know why.  I suppose the hardest thing about catching for me was just the everyday physical grind.

What was the easiest part of catching for you?  Calling a game and working with pitchers.

How often did you change your framing of pitches depending on the umpire behind the plate?  I never framed.  The whole idea of framing is that you're taking a pitch that's not a strike then doing something with your glove to trick the umpire into thinking it IS a strike.  I felt like a big part of my job was getting along with the umpire - to get him on my side so to speak.  How was I gonna get him on my side if he couldn't trust me?  I'm not saying I never tricked an umpire, just that I used more tact.

How far do pitchers miss the spot they are aiming for?  Which pitcher was the best at hitting the desired spot?  Pitchers often miss by a lot.  But pitchers in the big leagues are there mostly because they can throw the ball where they want to...or else they wouldn't be there.  Location is the biggest key to a pitcher's success.  The best I ever saw at hitting his spots was Greg Maddux.

Did being a catcher effect your approach as a hitter?  Were you trying to guess what pitch you would call in each situation or did you go up with a clear mind?  I don't know if it effected my approach as a hitter.  I don't think so.  I'd strive for a clear mind in the box.

Which of the current young catchers do you think will have the best career?  Joe Mauer and Carlos Ruiz.

How did your two different stints with the Royals compare?  My first stint, the Royals were still spending money and basking in the glow of the 80's dynasty.  We had many older players and Mr. Kauffman still owned the team.  My second stint, the team was owned by WalMart, we didn't spend money, and we were lean and mean.  Both were fun, but both were very different.

The Royals brought in Jason Kendall to help with the pitching staff.  In your opinion, how much can a catcher help a pitching staff?
   Where can the catcher help the most (i.e. calling pitches, keeping pitcher calm, etc.)? The catcher can and should be a tremendous help to the pitching staff.  That's his number one job.  The guy behind the plate should be helpful in pitch calling, receiving, emotional stuff, leadership, etc.

How was the transition to life after playing baseball?  Kind of strange.  I still wake up some days thinking I'm late to the field.  But good.  Good to be in one place for more than a week, good to spend time with family, good to explore other aspects of life.

How are the knees doing?  Outstanding.  Well over 1000 games caught and no problems.  Turns out yoga works.

What inspired you to do the website focused on catching?  More than anything I wanted to give back and help the baseball community.  For a game that's been pretty well dissected from every angle to have little or no instruction for the catcher is crazy to me.  So the book, website, and videos are all an effort to fill that void.  Since nobody else is doing it, I'll step into the role of "The Catching Guy."  In the same way you might think of Dave Pelz when you think of the short game in golf, I would like people to associate my name when they think of the tools of ignorance.

How has the feedback been on the new website?  Very positive.  People are hungry for information on how to  coach and play the position the right way.

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Thanks again to Brent for doing the interview.

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