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November 25, 2010

Millwood on Mark Connor


Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Here’s a quick Orioles’ entry you can fit in between the mashed potatoes and the cranberry sauce. New pitching coach Mark Connor was asked during Wednesday’s teleconference with the Baltimore media about his coaching philosophy. This is what he said:

“I don’t have a particular pitching philosophy. I think your pitching philosophy revolves around each individual pitcher. What is it going to take to make them successful? You just can’t have one philosophy that everybody has to adhere to. You hear ‘Strike one, get ahead, get people out with three pitches or less.’ I am on board with all those things, but I think basically you have to take each individual pitcher, their strengths, their weaknesses and work from that standpoint.”

I was curious as to what one of his former pitchers thought about Connor as a coach. So I talked to Kevin Millwood, who pitched for the Orioles last season and spent nearly three seasons with Connor in Texas.

“He’s a little more old school than other guys. I don’t think he is as into the computer stuff as most guys, but he does his stats work and stuff like that. He is good at the mechanics (part),” Millwood said. “He’s not a super talkative guy, but I think he knows a lot of things that can help a guy.”

Millwood said Connor had a tendency to allow the veterans to do their own thing, “until he sees something where he can help you and then he’ll step in.”

It’s slightly different with inexperienced pitchers, Millwood said. Connor may be a little more active with them, but at first he’ll probably assume an observer’s role as well with the Orioles’ youngsters.

“I’m sure, probably in the first part of spring, he’s not going to have a lot to say those guys because he doesn’t know them that well,” Millwood said. “But the more he learns them, the more he’ll have to say to them.

“I think he’ll definitely do a good job.”

Posted by Dan Connolly at 7:00 AM | | Comments (4)
        

Comments

Thanks for that Dan,

I'm going through Baseball withdrawl

Dan,

Thanks for this bit of O's news on Thanksgiving. I like baseball more than football so I go into the winter doldrums in the off season.

Let us hope that AM puts a decent free agent or two in our Xmas stocking.

Happy Thanksgiving and I am looking forward to Fanfest.

A coaches main job is to instill self confidence in a player,not give them too much to think about while playing.

At least he's not Leo Mazzone.

Not a glowing response from Millwood, but not a harshly critical one either. If I were a young pitcher, I'd be inclined to interpret his comments as his saying that Connor wants to give his young guns the opportunity to carve out their own identities, to pitch to their strengths, and then to strengthen their weaknesses. As a coach you can only do that by observing and then choosing your comments and constructive criticisms carefully. Often, in the world of coaching and communication less is more. Speaking mindfully ensures the other person actually HEARS what you want heard. It sounds like Connor has a strong sense of that.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.


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