Some baseball players enjoy yukking it up in the dugout. Some baserunners enjoy small talk with the opposing team’s first baseman. Rougned Odor? The dude loves making mound visits.
As a second baseman, there isn’t an obvious or practical reason why Odor would need to join a pitcher-catcher conference, or to participate in a conversation that precedes a pitching change. While it’s not uncommon for infielders to join in mound visits — oftentimes, they need to in order to discuss shifts and strategy, or who’s covering what base — Odor does so in just about every single instance, something that he also did during his Rangers days. But why?
Some fans speculate that Odor, who is bilingual, serves as an interpreter. That is definitely not the case, though, since Odor also makes mound visits when the pitcher and catcher speak the same language. Besides, the Yankees already employ a translator for that specific job. During occasions when a pitching change isn’t imminent, Odor will even initiate a mound visit himself. Since his first game with the Yankees, he’s been making a trip to the mound every time the catcher does.
Rougned Odor calling a mound visit without a catcher or anybody else for that matter makes me chuckle.— Joe! (1.078 xTWEET) (@Yankeelibrarian) April 25, 2021
Is this why the Yankees traded for him pic.twitter.com/XipbnsMZQJ
Fans have proposed a number of hypotheses why Roogie doesn’t miss an opportunity to visit the pitcher’s mound. Let’s explore a few of these theories as to why he never fails to be involved.
Theory #1: He’s trying to be a good teammate and leader
On the latest podcast episode of R2C2, Marlins infielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. told CC Sabathia and Ryan Ruocco that Derek Jeter advised Chisolm to be part of every meeting on the pitcher’s mound. As the Yankees’ shortstop, Jeter almost always joined these meetings. Perhaps Odor wants to display leadership. He wants to support his Yankees teammates and stay engaged in the game strategy.
Theory #2: To review signs, signals, and positioning when there’s a runner on base
Beyond pitcher removal, a primary function of mound visits involves the manager or coach offering a pep talk or bit of strategy. There are certain situations when it’s appropriate — and even necessary — for infielders to join the mound meeting. In instances where the hitting team may want to bunt to score a run or move the runner over, the infielders, pitcher, and catcher typically coordinate strategy. For example, it could be bringing the corners in or telling the middle infielders where the catcher might throw when fielding the bunt.
It’s possible that Odor just wants to know what the plan is, especially in tight situations. Roogie needs to know what the catcher’s signs are, so he can coordinate with Gleyber Torres and review who will cover second base.
Rougned Odor aka Mr. Mound Visit pic.twitter.com/PYz87nSJ0T— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) April 25, 2021
Theory #3: He’s nosey and prone to FOMO
It’s easy to get bored when there is less action on the field these days. Who wouldn’t want to know what Matt Blake, Gary Sánchez, and Chad Green chat about when they are stalling to give Aroldis Chapman more time to warm up?
Theory #4: He loves the smell of catcher’s gear
We all have our eccentricities. Maybe Roogie really enjoys the smell of catcher’s gear. Anytime Gary or Higgy goes out to the mound, he can’t resist. My colleague Kunj Shah envisioned the following scenario:
Cole calls Higgy over to talk while pitching at the Trop.
Gerrit: “Man, what’s the foul odor?”
Rougned: YOU CALLED ME???
Theory #5: It’s there
Roogie visits the mound for the same reason as those who climb Mount Everest: Because it’s there.