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Ep. 51: Mojo Pitching Cage with Joe Lewis | A Baseball Podcast

Geoff Rottmayer March 16, 2020 2


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Mojo Pitching Cage with Joe Lewis

Welcome to The Baseball Awakening Podcast, where we dive into the raw, unfiltered, unsexy side of player development

Guest Bio:

Joe Lewis, Founder of Mojo Pitching Cage and 4 Pitch Pitching Target New

Summary:

On this episode, Host Geoff Rottmayer sits down with Joe Lewis of Mojo Pitching Cage and 4 k Target Pitching net.

Show Notes: In this conversation, Joe talks about:

  • His playing day overseas.
  • What it was like to adjust to the culture and language barrier playing overseason.
  • The inspiration behind Mojo Pitching Cage.
  • How to separate baseball and lifestyle.
  • How tough pitching command is.
  • The need to throw and throw a lot to a target to get better.
  • Pitching going back to funky movements and different arm slots to get guys out.
  • The competition baseball has with video games.
  • The future of what Joe is working on.
  • and much more.

Website: www.baseballawakening.com

Facebook: Baseball Awakening Podcast

Twitter: Baseball Awakening Podcast

Instagram: The Baseball Awakening Podcast

Email Address: geoff@baseballawakening.com

Geoffrey Rottmayer
On today’s show, we sit down with the Mojo himself, Joe Lewis of Mojo picking cage. And we talked about his playing days overseas, the Mojo picking cage, and some other pretty cool idea that he has.

Intro
Welcome to another episode of the baseball awakening podcast where we dive into the raw, unfiltered unsexy side of player development. Get ready for some knowledge bombs with your host, Geoff Rottmayer

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Welcome to The Baseball Awakening Podcast, I am Geoff Rottmayer. And today I’m sitting down with Joe Lewis of Mojo picking cage. Joe, how are you sir?

Joe Lewis
It was great. Thanks for having me on.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Awesome, Joe. And you know, thank you for coming on. And thank you for your time. I stumbled upon your website Mojo pitching.com. And various things. I want to talk about that. But let’s first start with who is Joe Lewis? I want to talk about Joe Lou at the baseball player, and then kind of leading into what you’re doing now.

Joe Lewis
Okay. Yeah, no, thanks for reaching out. That’s what I love about LinkedIn is that you’re able to kind of start connecting with more people. Just on LinkedIn alone. I really was pretty stagnant on it. And then I started this requesting people to see that I was trying to get more information. And it’s such a tool. So yeah, but about me. You know, I’m a I’m a scrappy shortstop basically from Fayetteville, Arkansas recently. So I was fortunate enough to play Crowder Junior College in neosho, Missouri, played division one art so State University also played at Bellevue College and then walked on over in Italy. So I played one year in Italy, and then I played five, six years here in the United States. Just in independent baseball, I played one year in Holland also. So I was fortunate enough to be able to play at the professional level just all independent and you know, I’m just one of the scrappy shortstops that you see that hustled on and off the field one of those guys. And so long story short, I started working for ESPN. And I had gone ahead and retired I was 29. And I was like, well, maybe I can come back as a pitcher. You know, as a pitcher, you need to what you need to throw baseball. So I was literally started throwing against a wall if what I was doing, and I just kind of drew out a little box going, Okay, you need to be able to control the baseball, you need to practice it. And so I literally one night in the middle of night woke up 3am thing where you go, Whoa, what if I had a catcher in a banner that I could throw at you. And so I went down the process of putting it all together actually getting a patent. That’s why I sent you over that patent so you can see I’m probably may be the only person in the world that has a patent for the method of practicing pitching an apparatus therefore, yeah, so. So that’s how I kind of came into you seeing the Mojo pitching cage. And I started out by trying to market it to my brain, every training facility should have one, right. And as you probably well know, in baseball, it really is such a traditional sport and people really are ingrained with the way they practice and to get them to change their mind about something is really hard to do. Right. So we accidentally discovered the what I call the entertainment value. So you will see our pitching cage at you’re in Tulsa we have on the Tulsa drillers, for example. Nice. So we have our pitching cage on the concourse and it’s really just the most luxurious speed pitch that you can have and having the batter and the catcher in there they get to see the speed. turned into a lot of fun so we went down the road on that revenue model. And now we’re trying to step into open their own training facility here probably next year so 2020 or we’re looking at and kind of implementing some of these crazy ideas I have.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Awesome and you know, I want to talk more about that but let’s talk about your time playing overseas in Italy and Holland. You got the experience what a lot of the kids that are coming here to America experience in terms of playing in a different environment go into a different environment, different culture, different languages to play baseball in While they’re doing that they’ve got to adapt to the lifestyle, which is the the personal element of you know, the off the field stuff, you know, which can have an impact on you. When they play, so what would they like for you? You know, what? What would they like kind of getting outside of your element going into a new environment to play some baseball, but you still have the cultural part still had the language issue? You know, what was it like for you going overseas to play baseball?

Joe Lewis
Yeah, no, that’s actually a great question. And when you said that, I think it was, you know, when I played in Italy, and then we’re talking many moons ago, it was 1994. Whenever I went there, and when when you say that it does, but chills down my spine a little bit, because I never really reflected that much on it. But yeah, the cultural aspect of it. I can remember going to dinners. And in Italy, if you’ve been there, you don’t go to dinner until like nine o’clock at night. You sit there for three or four hours, talk and talk and talk and talk. And whenever you are, I was the only American on the team and not Very many of them spoke that much English and a few of them but you definitely have to adjust really quickly and you have to get a book and start learning the language you want to be want to understand it at the end of my season there, I actually was able to give my going away speech to the team when they did a bit going away party for me and I gave my going away speech in Italian. So, so part of Tatyana Odessa so a little bit Talia now so so that that is a huge thing for the kids that come here. But the environment now is so much different, I would say compared to what it was for me because now you’ll see in the locker rooms unfortunately, you do have you kind of your cliques of languages. You know, we have human beings always go to where we’re comfortable. So So that might be a good Prelude into training. Because that’s what I like to I like to make people uncomfortable, I guess.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, absolutely. So So how did you manage to separate baseball? Which is the easy part because you’ve been doing that your whole life, you know, so what was the the world? How did you manage separating baseball and adjusting to the culture?

Joe Lewis
It’s, it’s challenging, and especially when you go from what happened with me was my very first year professional baseball was to play in Italy. And what really happened with with I went over there, I, they, there was a team in San Marino. So if they wanted to sign me, and so I went through all of the stuff to get prepared. About a week before I was to go, they sent a letter saying they were signed in the guy from Cuba again. So I literally had a list of all the teams. And so I flew over there because already had my ticket and I was going from team to team to Team To try to get on. And I eventually very first time I went to was kind of like their triple A level and where they would pay one American. And I went and then like a little position you play and I was like, Well, I’m shortstop. And so they, we I worked out with him. So they said, Well, we only sign a pitcher. So I went to a couple more teams, and when I went to a triple A team, and they said, hey, what position Are you in? I said, I’m a pitcher. So I literally played that year. and collect yo is the name of the city is right outside of Parma. And I was I was a pitcher. I pitched and the American back then with pitch every Friday. So you had the rest of the time. Friday night at nine o’clock was the American. The American is really what art or foreigner I guess you think they have the Cubans and Venezuelans and stuff like that. So there weren’t a whole lot of Americans claiming back then. So I was usually going up against, you know, somebody from Venezuela or Cuba or something along those lines. So the culture aspect is you you’d have to adjust. And you have to adjust with only playing that one time a week. And then I came back and I played independent baseball here in the United States. And then I was finishing my college education. So I did a tour over in Germany for student teaching. And so I went from there and played in Holland, which is always for the European Cup. It’s always Holland versus Italy. They that’s the best baseball over in Europe. So and I was fortunate to play for one of the best teams in Holland.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Nice. So that’s where the whole pitching thing started and leading kind of into what you’re doing now. Which we’re gonna get into it a little bit. So but but when you came back to the States, you went back Play shortstop in Indy bar, right?

Joe Lewis
Yeah, sure did. I played shortstop and then once I was released, I can I can probably still pitch and that’s where I started throwing it to a brick wall and, and came up with the idea for the, what I call the Mojo pitch engage.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Nice so so when you’re sitting there thinking about this, this concept that you came up with the Mojo picking cage, which, which I’ve seen online, but if I had to describe it for our listener, basically, it’s a mannequin of a catcher. a mannequin of a hitter, and the mannequin of the catcher kind of moves around. It has it’s holding the glove and it can be moved east, west north and south the glove. What was the thought behind that and how long did it take you to kind of put the thing together?

Joe Lewis
Oh, that’s that was about a three year process because as an artist You’re foreigner, especially having just gotten out of baseball and I started working again. I wasn’t making very much money. So to build a unit that we came up with, it costs a whole bunch of money, three or four year period, just to get the final product, I guess, starting in my apartment when I was in living in Connecticut working for ESPN and going to the hardware store and putting pieces of metal together and kind of going okay Can I do this you know, it does anything exist like this already. And I was, I was fortunate I found a and retired engineer guy, and so he can help me put together all the paperwork and all the design and all that stuff.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Nice. You know, I talked about it a little bit, Joe, but why don’t you kind of explain to our listeners a little bit more about you know what, what the pitching Mojo is or the Mojo pitching is And the concept behind it.

Joe Lewis
So yeah, I originally designed it and built it for instruction. And I would say, I drive my wife crazy because I said, Hey baby, this will eventually change the face of baseball. Because it gives you the opportunity to practice pitching anytime you want in the exact environment you’re going to perform in you actually have the guy from location Nathan on a few weeks ago, I was listening to your podcast them and he was he and I are on the exact same brain path. And he was talking about what you need as a pitchers, you need to have a catcher. But more importantly, you need to throw to a target that will not adjust to you. So that eventually makes a picture. He held accountable. I don’t know if you saw on our A website or any of the links I sent to you, by when we were really pushing the crane side of it, I put one at Roger Clemens house. And so now we say everybody out of 10 pitches, how many times do you think Roger Clemens hit the globe? The answer is one, one out of 10. And my thought is the reason is because he hasn’t practiced it. I always feel that we as human beings, no matter what training that you’re doing, if you practice it enough, you’re going to start to develop and start to increase your percentage of what you’re trying to accomplish. And that’s what the premise of Mojo is, is to be able to have a catcher and a batter. And I don’t know if you’ve seen the one where we have our remote control, you can move the catcher left and right and you can raise and lower the glove. But I would say your major league pitcher can hit the To go out with a fastball, maybe three out of 10 times 30%. So my thought is what if we could get them to 50% to 60%. And not only with their fastball, but with all of their pitches. And that’s the thing. That’s where I sometimes get frustrated. I’m like, an example is Dodgers pitcher, left handed $300 million. Clayton Kershaw Clayton Kershaw signed a contract about $300 million. And when they interviewed they said to them, Well, what do you think is really different from the last few years? And he said, Well, I learned how to throw a slider. And to me, I kind of know know you’re 23 years old, you’ve been pitching since you’re 13. And you’re just now learning how to throw a slider. And I really feel that you should be practicing all your pitches one way after the other all the time. Yes, a fastball is important, but Every pitch is important. And the way you get better at it is by practicing. And if you can practice throwing to a target, if I were to define pitching, I would define it as a person being able to understand their own personal release point. I almost, I almost hate to say this out loud, but I almost completely throw mechanics out the door. Because everybody throws up all different. If I were to have if I would have my fantasy pitcher, it would be a pitcher that can throw every single one of their pitches from any arm slot. Do you understand what I’m saying there, they don’t do a side by side on throw the three quarters you can throw it whatever and it drives me crazy because they say this. You’ll hear it on the air all the time. Repeat your delivery feature delivery and I’m only He’s like, I, I kind of disagree with that because you as a pitcher are trying to mess up the timing of the hitter. If I throw a one pitch, straight overhand, and then I come back the next pitch and I throw up on the side, now you’re having to adjust as a hitter, to a different arm slot. And if I can control all of those pitches from any of those arm slots, I think I’m going to have a heck of a pitcher.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Then Joe, that’s interesting, you know, and if we go back far enough that what did you did? Yes. You know, they threw their body all over the place they do from different arm slots. So that’s the interesting thought that you kind of brought up there.

Joe Lewis
Yeah, Quito, Quito is one that I like, because he’ll you know, he’ll do the hesitation move and all the different things that I think that you’re trying to disrupt, disrupt the hitters timing, and so everything every single but if you practice it, and a lot of people I feel a lot of people don’t Do it is because the pitching cows go What the hell are you doing? But if you practice it and train from the sexy early age I guess that my son will be my He’s my tribe He’s my guinea pig he’s seven years old.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah you know that that that interesting and and you know what this one really got me kind of thinking a little bit then you know maybe I look forward to seeing your son pitch one day but but you know this is gonna be bad for hitters when they when they start to come back. So So Joe, you know, you know, Joe, I’m with you. When it comes to you got to throw and you got to throw a lot and you got to throw to a target. Yes. Which is why I love this concept that you came up with the Mojo pitching cage. And you got it and you know, I can believe the stat of the three out of 10 and a lot of kids and Maybe even the pro guys will get, you know, super frustrated. But that’s what bring the awareness in the need to practice. So sitting here, thinking about a kid training, you know, first he started off three out of 10 and then four out of 10, and then five out of 10. And then stick that. I mean, it goes on and just imagine how much better one would be at a picture.

Joe Lewis
Yeah, exactly.A great example is where it’s grown. It’s in the Houston Astros. 10 years ago, he actually had my pitching cage at the printing facility in Arizona. And he had it for a couple months. I know the owner that was there, and Brent was working there. And I came in and I first time we ever even meet Brent. And I said, Oh, hey, Brent. What do you think of that sketching cage? And he goes, I don’t like it. And I’m like, really He said, Yep, that’s what’s wrong. And he says to me, it’s too hard for the kid. I mean, my jaw, my jaw, hit the floor. I mean, I went to Crowder, Junior College, you know, proud of junior college. I mean, you challenge the kids, to me to step up and go, Hey, you’re going to hit this glove, and you’re going to focus and we’re going to make sure you get it and we’re going to set up a system to where it is a progression over time. So and that’s what I’m saying, I have a little bit different philosophy than a lot of people. I really do believe that, especially with the younger kids, we need to focus in on control. The the velocity and the means, as you know, everybody’s into velocity. Well, yeah, I mean, to me, I just go. Really, I mean, everybody knows you need to throw the ball hard. And there are Some things that you can do workouts you can do and stuff that are going to do that. But when you’re standing on the mound in the game, I firmly don’t believe you want to be going through your brain. I need to throw the ball as hard as I can. I think that yes, I want to throw the ball as hard as I can. But more importantly, I want to hit my target.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, I agree you know, and I feel like we have gone from one extreme to the other. You know, and what you mean what you need at the the very moment when you’re standing on the mount it to be able to locate the baseball and get hitters out. So velocity is great, and I love it. You know, we train it with our guys, but at the very moment when you’re standing on the mound, you got to locate the baseball and get hitters out. Yeah.

Joe Lewis
You’re hitting around on the heads and what To get for me, especially ever big league organizations, and you know, yeah, I love my pitching cage. But at the end of the day, I don’t care what you grow to. I want you to be able to hit the spot. Yeah, I don’t care. I just need to throw it through. Sorry. I also have I don’t know if I sent you that link, but we came out with the 4k pitching target. So it’s a much more affordable version, where it’s, it’s kind of like the nine hole but it actually has an image of a catcher and only has four holes in it. And we call it the four corners pitching target. So that’s 4k pitching target calm, and you can move it around really easy, much much better for facilities and high schools and stuff because it’s it’s easy to move around. And it doesn’t cost you I think we have over $300 or something. So as opposed to our our remote control system and I get it. I remote control system is like 6000 But for a big league organization, that’s, that’s nothing. And at the end of the day, once you have all the pitchers that are throwing 90 to 96 miles per hour, what is it that separates them from everybody else? And to me, at the end of the day, it’s who controls the ball way

Geoffrey Rottmayer
to speak on the fact that it is hard. You know, I like the idea that it’s hard. Not tell our kids all the time that you want this to be hard. That way you can get better. And then the other thing is you want your training to be hard, but the game is easier. Yes.

Joe Lewis
Yeah. No, that’s a great concept. And, and it’s, it’s almost, I think the best training method is you want to practice in as close to realistic environment as you can possibly get. And if you can even make it harder than real listy. And that’s even better because it’s that much easier whenever you get out on the mound. And I just, I think if I were the pitching coach for big league organization, it’s my favorite team is the Royals. I was pitching coach for the Royals, I would set up our batter and catcher out at Royals stadium and have all those pitchers throw from the mound and try to hit their target. And most importantly, you want to track them. You want to hold them accountable. Because right now, if we call pretty much any pitching coach in the country, I say 95% of any pitching coach, and you got john who just walked in, and we called them and said hey, how is john doing? How’s Holton? He’s gonna say Oh, he looks pretty good. You know, he’s throwing 9095 miles or whatever it is where I think that you should say he threw 50 pitches 40 of them or fastballs or whatever your ratio is, and he hit his spot this many times. And this is his rainy, I’ll call it the Mojo rating. And he walks away from every single bullpen with a rating on that day. And that way, he is now held accountable. And you can also track him over time. And you’re obviously going to mix in video and wraps it. Oh, and those are the things that we really have now that really, I think are great tools to analyze with rice, but I don’t think they’re going to make you great, right. I think you can analyze what you’re doing. But I don’t think that’s what makes you a great pitcher is you going out there and practicing to get better on a daily basis.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, I agree. And you know, I love that stuff as much as anyone. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to go out there. You’ve got to put in the work and you got to perform regardless of the numbers and the staff and and again, Love all that stuff. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the result that you’re getting on the field during games.

Joe Lewis
Yep. No, you’re hitting the right on the head.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Awesome. Joe, I’m on your website right now. And I’m looking at this American arm logo. What What is that?

Joe Lewis
Oh, sorry. That’s a whole nother venture and I’m an entrepreneur. So I’m always trying to come up with different things. So So I don’t know if you are aware we were the official pitching cage, the million dollar arm contest. I don’t know if you saw the movie The million dollar. It’s what the Indian kids where they went over and and so they JB Bernstein, who is the marketing agent for barry bonds. He and Wendell Chang are the ones who originally contacted me and said, Hey, we want to do this pitching contest. And we’re going to go over to India, and so they purchased two of my schools automated units and they took those with them over to India to go around India to try to find a picture. At the time I had said to them, well, would you guys be interested in doing something here in the United States? And they’re like, No, no, no, we would rather go over to India because there’s 2.5 billion people, you know, blah, blah, blah. So, long story short, they did that whole things. And not really throw them under the bus. But I mean, they probably spent $2 million to put that whole reality show together. And they signed both those Indian pictures for $8,000. Wow. So they, they came out with a big movie because they’re part of the billionaire boys club. And so they know all the people in Hollywood. So they were able to put together this movie, and it’s a Disney movie. So it’s, you know, mostly facade. And so, in here we are 12 minutes. winder and how many Indian players are in the big leagues or even in the minor leagues? So, so the American arm was I said, hey, let’s see if we can do something here. I just don’t have the financial backing, to put that together is what the reality is, and with my other businesses going it. I mean, you know, it’s one of those things where if you really want to do it, right, you have to have a couple million dollars. And I just I definitely do not but but the premise behind it is have anybody who has an investor that wants to, I’ve even built this pitching cage, if you see if it comes up on the website, it’s a trailer, like under $50,000, pitching cage on wheels, and we can take it around the country. So my apprentices take it around the country to 15 stadiums, and promote the fact that you’re coming in and see if we can find a picture from each event. And usually we take our pitching cases and events and then portably we always have somebody that throws between 9095 miles per hour. And so my idea is to take it around the country, take one person from then that throws 90 to 95 miles per hour. Let’s have some fun with it, take those kids down to the Dominican Republic and train them for about six months. And then ultimately weed everybody out down to the final two. And let’s take them to Yankee Stadium and they have a pitch off, have all the scouts there and, and one of the kids wins a million dollars to sign the contract with one of the scouts. So that that’s the point of the slide.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
So so going back, you know, start Sorry, I got distracted, but you know that that is a pretty cool concept. But But going back to the Mojo, you know, obviously they’re strong enough to withstand 90 mile an hour hitting them all day long every day. Yep.

Joe Lewis
Yeah, the it’s a foam injection process. We did. We I went to Hollywood to get those I was. I went from ESPN and I work for Home and Garden television. So I was out in our offices on Beverly Hills. So I was right there in Hollywood. So I got a couple of I found a company that does effects and stuff like that for Hollywood movies. And so I worked with them to put together the molds is really what it requires. So you have two full body molds, and we do a foam injection process in order to build those mannequins. And I can change I can change the density of the foam. So for example, when you go to Tulsa thriller, and you’ll probably go the summer, won’t you? Okay, so yeah, you’ll see our pitching cage over there and we’ll have our batter for sure there and I can change the density of the phone so if it’s a lot closer proximity, I can make it a lot softer, but from 60 feet, six inches, make that guy almost solid as a rock, I mean it’s amazing. And they’re so adorable. It takes a change on them apart. And then the other thing with our catcher we always dress them with they were originally a fucker and I just held on to them. Also our catcher here I mean they have they have the best catchers here in the world and we load them up and we put that all star here you don’t have to put all star gear on it but we found that it was the most durable

Geoffrey Rottmayer
knives and how much footprint does this take up?

Joe Lewis
Well, we’ve got a design now where it’s the size of battery catcher. I mean, the catcher is on like a rental track and you can you can literally lift him up and he’s on wheels. It’s like a wheel barrel almost. So you can just wheel him right out of the way and it’s remote control. So all you do is plug him in at night, keep the batteries charged and unplug and then you got a little Remote Control we basically utilize the remote control for like a airplane. And you just as a pitching coach you stand in now and you lose that catcher around and tries to hit the glove and and, and you also the first time anybody throws at it, I had some pitchers. They it goes back to the V and hard part I’ve had major league pitchers walk away from it, and call it call it stupid. And, and it’s because it makes them look stupid. You know, they just sign a contract for $50 million. And they just threw a ball and they missed the globe by like three feet. I’m not talking about by inches I’m talking about by three feet. And they they it makes them go Whoa, what’s going on here and then we go back to human beings which we kind of get uncomfortable when our defense mechanism kicks in. And we usually try to make fun of something you know I’m saying so. Which is a funny thing for me because I see I’ve seen it happen a lot. And I was and I’m just I’m a competitor. somebody tells me I can’t do it I’m gonna do it. If I get up there and I can’t do it, I’m gonna work my ass off until I can do it.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
I’m with you, Amanda that the harder the better. So what what what what is your What is your future with this? You know, you got the Mojo, you got the entertainment, you got the facility concept. Now what what’s your future like?

Joe Lewis
Yeah. So what I’m trying to do is I have a few different businesses we’re trying to sell off, sell off one of them. And we’re relocating from California out to back at Fayetteville, Arkansas, so I’ll be a couple hours from you. And we’re just going to start working on building our own training facility. Another cool thing that I have that will be coming out Probably next year something is I’m utilizing our one of our mannequins, and getting him to be like, for hitting purposes, you know how the pitching coach stands there and see the pitching machine. So I’m making it where our mannequin is the pitching coach, like feeding the pitching machine. So it’s fun because it gives you It gives you that arm action to a certain degree. It’s definitely not that fast arm action, like somebody actually thought that at least it gives you some timing device as opposed to a light or just kind of seeing the poll funnel or something like that. It just kind of gives you that arm action. And more importantly, it gives you the ability as the hitting coach to stand down on the email and go, Hey, it’s great example was, again on LinkedIn, I saw a kid in university and he posted something and he was talking about Going back to kind of specificity of practicing in the environment, you’re gonna perform it. And I always say this, I don’t know why people realize it also the tea or do soft toss in the front. I’ve never watched the game of baseball where that happened. The baseball is always coming at you from pretty much a particular height from about five feet off the ground if everybody’s you know, if you don’t have a side armor, but from about 55 feet, and either a little bit off to the right a little bit or as a left shoulder a little bit off to the left a little bit. And I’m a firm believer that trajectory and distance and all that stuff, make a huge difference.

And a lot of stuff I’m saying here is not stuff that I proven. It is more of my brain going okay, I think this is the best way to approach it. And I would love to have a study where we could set For three years, and you have kids, that all they do is hit off of, almost I would call it live pitching environment. And that’s all they ever do. They never swing off of a tee. They never do soft toss. They never do any of that. And when I say live fitting environment I’m talking about every day, you’re hitting from 60 feet six inches, and they’re throwing 90 to 95 miles per hour. They’re throwing basketballs curveballs change that set you. I just think that that’s the best way to train. And I did it. I guess I need it that people don’t do that. Maybe fear. I have a friend here in Fayetteville that has a training facility and when I came here eight years ago, he was sitting, you know, about 30 feet away, sitting on a bucket tossing a ball up there. And I come back eight years later, he’s still sitting on a bucket of us. And I’m not saying that’s the wrong way to do it. I’m saying I think there may be a better way to have better results. How about that?

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, you know that that’s a conversation that being had about making everything more game like and I’ll be honest with you, man, I’m not quite there yet with getting away from the T work in front top, but you know, I’m willing to have the conversation and listen.

Joe Lewis
No, I guess I definitely agree with that concept to me that that’s what but and again, I don’t have any proof about that. It’s just, every part of my DNA tells me that, you know, I just look at how human beings I mean, what they’re trained to do. And if I want to learn to play the piano, I gotta sit down and play the piano. You know? It’s it. If I want to learn To hit off of a tee, then I learned to hit off on the tee but I don’t see really how that transfers so much to a game when they’re throwing at you from a distance and that’s what the kid did on LinkedIn today. He posted that he started practicing his home run swing from a from live pitching. And he was showing him practicing it in a batting cage and then him at the game and he crushed this ball. You know, homerun, it’s a one one Video Example. But But I just I kind of go that he mentioned that he was really good off of a tee and he was really good at soft stuff. But it did not transfer to the game.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, and I get it you know in the conversation that are happening are interesting when it comes to the development part and people kind of thinking outside the box if you will. So, it would be interesting to see kind of the trend that goes on in baseball because, you know, baseball tend to be a sport where if somebody does something in there, they’re a little bit of success, you know, everyone follows. So it’d be interesting to see, you know, where things go and see how things play out.

Joe Lewis
Yeah, yeah, we’ll see down the road. Butyou know, I just, I love baseball. And I think that it’s a and I think another thing that happens in baseball a lot in particular, is that a lot of the people are trying to come up with these ways to go, Hey, I know more than you or my method is better than yours or something along those lines. You understand what I’m saying? And I really wish it was a little more collaborative, going. How can our unit because, you know, here’s the reality for the status of baseball in my mind for the status Baseball right now is that they need to do it, whether it’s MLB whether it’s us as baseball people, we need to come up with ways to make it more fun. Because we are competing with all kinds of different things going on. I think somebody told me the average retirement age for a baseball player is 12 years old. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And, and we are now competing against video games. We’re competing against also my son over a ninja warrior class. And boy, is that fun. He loves it. I send him to swimming classes are always different classes. And when I walk into those facilities, I’m going, Wow, this is a lot of fun. I’ll go to the local training baseball facility. And the people are kind of sitting there tossing a ball and hitting the ball and I think we need to come up with waves and that’s what we’d like to do at our facility is We go to the Major League Baseball All Star fast. And they have all these fun things that you can do as part of interaction of baseball. And so I kind of go, why don’t we combine some of that stuff with you and making it almost like a circuit where they’re going through and they’ve got the one where you Dive Ball and they land on the stakes off pillow thing. We’ve got a slight instance and they’ve got an outfield station where you’re trying to throw it to a little target thing. I mean, there are some things I think you can do in baseball to make people enjoy it a little better as their training.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, you know, Jill, that’s the that’s interesting and great, you know, we we are competing again, video games. And I like what you’re saying, you know, and I think that can definitely help especially at the younger ages.

Joe Lewis
Yeah, and the video games is probably the biggest This one we’re up against. Yeah. I also see some people that post and it’s a great one. I think it’s you have Matt Lyle, on your LinkedIn. He’s really good. He posted that. Parents, I don’t want you to come in and complain about not better at fortnight than he has a baseball. Yeah, I mean, and that is and, and I really think that baseball is a it’s one of the last real true skill sports, meaning that I can take a person and we just train them on a daily basis, and they’re going to get much, much better where they can actually compete, where you have other sports where if you’re not just naturally big, strong and fast, you’re not going to be able to compete, but hitting a baseball is something that can be developed.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Right? Yeah, you know, Joe, I agree with you. Man, and you know what this has been a, a pretty cool conversation. And this got me thinking a little bit, you know, I don’t want to take up too much more of your time. But you got any last word that you’d like to share with our listeners when it comes to the pity Mojo and everything else that you’re doing?

Joe Lewis
Yeah, no. See, I my big plug is that it really boils down to and I want to promote making pictures better. And a lot of times I’ll say to folks, hey, what is the number one goal of the picture? majority of people don’t know the answer to that true. They say to throw strikes, right? And there are a few few people that will say to get out, I can swallow that. But at the end of the day, I go Okay, well, why don’t you just pat Johnny on the button, go out there. Say Hey, get out. No, it for me. The real answer is To control the ball, and you need to practice that on a daily basis. And I guess another answer that I will kind of in my mind accept is to stay healthy. And if you look at the trend, it is people aren’t staying very healthy here, right? And it’s because they are trying to throw that ball as hard as they possibly can. They’re running. They’re running half a mile down the lane, rolling the ball as hard as they can, and I’m going, how does that transfer? I just do that MMA game? And it’s, for me, it was a thing of if you want Mojo, hey, I can guarantee you but I really think if somebody can figure out like where their forte pitching target because it’s more affordable, even the nine hole pocket, but develop a program where you are Have them throw to a target, track them and have them be accountable. That’s really what it is. I think that’s going to be the future. It may be 1520 years down the road. But there’s a few people like the guy who location nation, Dustin has a name. Yes, sir. Yep. Yeah, Dustin, PS, I believe. There’s some people that are gonna start to get on track with that, especially with injuries and stuff that are happening. Yeah. And I think that we have a really bright future. But we do have to step up and come up with some things and make it fun.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, I agree. You know, everything goes in circles. So we’re gonna start to see things kind of come back around.

Joe Lewis
Yep, yep. So hey, I really, really appreciate the conversation. I think you’re doing a great job with your podcast and you’re one of the pioneers of I also love your logo and your logos. Really cool. I like that too.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Awesome. Well, Joe, I really appreciate that and I really appreciate your time. Okay.

Joe Lewis
All right. Take care.

Download now: Ep. 51: Mojo Pitching Cage with Joe Lewis | A Baseball Podcast

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Geoff Rottmayer

Geoff Rottmayer is the owner of Athletic Mission Baseball Academy, a training facility in Tulsa Oklahoma. Geoff also host The Baseball Awakening Podcast, which was developed to provide content to the baseball community straight from the source. In addition that that, Geoff, is helping coaches and professional start their own podcast and find their own voice.

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