Ask the Pros

with Wendell Kim

Our guest is Tom Gordon, the Red Sox top fireman out of the bullpen. The following questions were originally put to Tom around May 24, 1998.





From: Toddcliffo <>

I coach at the high school level in New Hampshire and have always been a Sox fan. I was wondering what things you do to prepare your arm to throw two or three days in a row. Our pitchers currently sprint after throwing, ice, and drink diluted orange juice. Any thoughts?

Congratulations on the teams strong start.

Tom's Answer:


I know I have chance to pitch everyday so I prepare my arm and body for the whole season.

From: Mike Mahoney

Congratulations Tom on a tremendous transition from starter to closer. I notice that when you pick up a save, you say a little prayer after the final out. On the outside possibility that you someday blow a save, should we watch for anything different?

Tom's Answer:


I will always say a little prayer no matter how I do. If someday I blow a save, I will still say a prayer, but in different ways and places.

From: Steve Schiffman - Scottsdale, Arizona

Tom, can you explain the "mental exercises" that you go through to be able to put a "poor" outing behind you so that you can face a new opportunity with confidence?

Tom's Answer:


My "Mental Exercises" that I do are really very simple for a poor outing or a good outing. I focus on the positive. I concentrate on what I have to do to prepare myself for my next opportunity (both mentally & physically).

From: Mike Mahoney

Do you get pumped up more for certain teams? Is it a bigger charge to go up against the Royals or say the Yankees? That's sort of history versus. quality. Do the three hitters scheduled in the ninth go through your mind or do you handle them all at the same level regardless of stats?

Tom's Answer:


I get pumped up for every team, but maybe a little more for the Yankees. Yes, I always prepare mentally for the hitters I will face in the game. I know their weakness and strengths from our scouting reports. I also concentrate on what I have to do physically.

From: Michael Simon - Redwood City, California


At what age did you learn how to throw your curveball? Have you changed your grip as you have matured as a pitcher? Do you use different grips during a game to give the ball a slightly different effect? Thank you for your response. I hope you have continued success and the Red Sox catch and pass the Yankees soon.

Tom's Answer:


I learned how to throw a curveball at 17 years old. I have adjusted my grip from when I was younger and now I have two ways of griping my curveball, one for a big break and the other for a little smaller one.