Teddy’s Catch: Time for Florida to turn it up

By Adam Silverstein
May 22, 2012

A five-year member of the Florida Gators baseball team playing under head coaches Pat McMahon and Kevin O’Sullivan, former catcher Teddy Foster put together a solid senior campaign in 2009 with seven homers, 25 RBIs and 11 walks while batting .321 and earning 29 starts (including 15 at catcher, 12 at designated hitter and two at first base). No longer with the team and now serving as an associate scout for the New York Mets, he has joined OGGOA as a baseball columnist and will provide his unique perspective on the team throughout the 2012 season.

The postseason is a different animal compared to anything a team goes through during the regular season. The Southeastern Conference Tournament demands teams play every day (unless you win the first two games) until they lose twice. It has gotten even more difficult by expanding to 10 teams this season.

This means shorter rest for the weekend starters and less time for relievers to recover, but it can also be a positive for hitters as there is less of an opportunity to sulk following a bad game at the plate.

League tournaments test a team’s mental makeup, stamina and depth in the bullpen, areas in which the Gators happen to excel. With the way they ended the regular season, Florida should be able to make a deep run in the tournament.

The 2005 team I was a part of was built for the postseason. That Gators squad had deep starting pitchers with Stephen Locke as the fourth man in the rotation if needed. That’s a freshman All-American as a “just-in-case” starter.

The bullpen had future big leaguer Darren O’Day and a plethora of other future pros. This depth enabled us to make a deep run in the SEC Tournament. Had it not been for a few blown calls, Florida would have won the whole thing.

What really helped the 2005 team was the senior leadership and stability they brought to the table. O’Day, Jeff Corsaletti, Tommy Boss and many others helped keep the Gators on the right track and prevented us from going through any extended losing streaks.

When it came time for the postseason, these guys had been there before, knew the lay of the land and had experience in handling the various situations we would encounter.

The 2012 team is a lot like the 2005 team. Seniors like center fielder Daniel Pigott and right-hander Greg Larson will lead by example. These guys know how to handle a postseason run. Florida also has a plethora of juniors who are likely still sour after falling short of their goal one year ago. Most of the big names will be beginning their last postseason in orange and blue and want to go out on a high note, not as a class that failed to get it done on more than one occasion.

The Gators’ bullpen is deep and the bats came alive at the perfect time in the regular season’s final series. Ironically, Florida will face Auburn in the first round on Tuesday, setting the stage for UF to get off to a hot start in what will be a very long postseason.

One Comment

  1. Mr2Bits says:

    This is by far the most talented baseball team in America. The number of top big leaguers is ridiculous to say the least but this is also leading to our demise. Between injuries and personal agendas, this team has no cohesiveness and will under-perform. Sully is pressing his players too much and we will inevitably have an early departure this year. Wish I was wrong and hope that I am, but from what I have seen with us being hot/cold, this is what I have come to expect this year.

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