Gordon Edes has a pretty substantial piece on Daniel Bard's return up over at ESPNBoston, and it had a quote that got me thinking.
You know how Bill Belichick is beloved around the world (sans New York and Pittsburgh and Baltimore, and OK, just in New England) for trashing his team as much as possible? Like they win 49-3 and the film review is all about that one play where Brady underthrew the ball by six inches? That's he's so focused on domination that the slightest flaw is a fireable offense?
Well Portland Sea Dogs pitching coach Bob Kipper is basically the opposite of that, and that's exactly what former ace set-up guy and current...something...Daniel Bard needed.
"I don't think I ever realized how much I valued him until this year," Bard said. "He was the guy who I played catch with every day. He caught my flat grounds. The feedback was just awesome, the input.
"He just loves to focus on positives. Even in one or two outings that maybe didn't go as well, he'd say, 'How many pitches did you throw that you liked?' I'd say, 'Seven.' He'd say, 'Let's focus on those seven, and get back at it tomorrow.
"Boom. That was it. Erase the negative., A good guy to be around, for sure.''
Whatever makes you throw strikes, Danny.
Also in the piece is John Farrell confirming that Bard is expected to be a permanent member of the 'pen (i.e., don't expect him to go back down to Pawtucket when one of the four injured pitchers on the DL returns) and that he will be used in less-taxing situations, as we speculated this morning.