Saturday, September 17, 2005

SPORTS BUZZ

THE MAZZONE EFFECT

Leo Mazzone has all the enchanting powers. His wizardry of developing the pitchers at various levels has made him one of the finest pitching coaches in the game. He has coached perhaps the greatest pitching staff ever assembled on a major league roster. His Braves pitching team in the past 11 years has either led or been second in the major leagues in ERA's and his starting pitchers have won six Cy Young Awards at one time or the other. Undoubtedly the best assistant coach in all sports has always been favored by luck. He holds the credit of improving players like John Thomson, Mike Remlinger, Denny Neagle and John Burkett. And players like Tom Glavine and John Smoltz accumulated most of their future Hall of Fame credentials under Leo's time period in Atlanta. Players like Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz together won six Cy Young Awards under his guidance and ten pitchers have been named All-Stars during his 15 years with the Braves.

But now the thing to ponder over is whether this merely a play of luck or Mazzone had this acclamation in his destiny since we can’t ignore the fact that baseball has also witnessed coaches like Tex Winter, Jim Johnson, Charlie Weis etc. contributing for their teams. But the fact is that most pitchers got better when they join the Braves, and many get worse after they left.

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