Video of Houston Astros catcher Max Stassi–who grew up in Yuba City and played ball for his dad Jim at Yuba City High School–has gone viral in the sports world. Many of the comments key in on pitcher Justin Verlander not being totally happy with how things were going with Stassi, who is a back-up catcher filling in while their starter is out.
And while, yes, Verlander definitely looks like he’s making a forceful point, he doesn’t appear to be angry or losing his mind in any way like the internet is suggesting.
But beyond that…the thing that strikes us isn’t the dressing down; it’s how Stassi reacts to it. He’s still a young player–the 27 year old graduated from Yuba City in 2009 and has played in fewer than 100 major league games–and the entire time Verlander is speaking to him, Stassi’s body language is alert, respectful and receptive, and I love the pat on the shoulder he gives the pitcher before going back to the plate. It’s like, I got it, thanks. This is a young man who understands that sometimes the most important thing you can do is shut up and listen, especially if it’s coming from someone with more experience. There’s a lesson there!
And it worked, too: With the newly-educated Stassi back behind the plate, Verlander struck out Stephen Piscotty on five pitches and quickly got Matt Chapman to ground out to end the inning.
Watch the video and see for yourself. And while we can’t bring ourselves to say “Go Astros”…even though they’re the current MLB champs…we can at least manage a “Go Max”!
— Matt Johnson (@MattJ_Sports) July 11, 2018