Live Chat With Former MLB Reliever Will Ohman
powered byJotCast
Tim Dierkes
9:48
Hey everyone!  Will Ohman will be in the chat room shortly to answer your questions.
Will Ohman
10:00
Good morning. Excited to see what questions you guys have!
Kirt
10:02
Who was your favorite teammate?
Will Ohman
10:04
I love answering this question! I played with this dude on the Cubs, Dodgers and White Sox - at three very different points in his career. He was the same hard-working, encouraging teammate regardless of his personal circumstance: Juan Pierre.
10:06
To be fair, I've had a lot of great teammates. Too many to list. Juan just stands out because he was such an example of hard work, humility and encouragement.
Kirt
10:06
Who mentored you the most as a young major leaguer?
Will Ohman
10:13
There wasn't one specific guy. I honestly looked to learn from anyone at any point. I believe that's what led me to enjoy coaching so much. The guys that had significant influence were definitely some of the best in the business. I learned a great deal about pitching/hitting strategy from just listening to Greg Maddux & Chipper Jones. Larry Rothschild in Chicago and Roger McDowell were pitching coaches that had a significant effect on my growth. I was honored to play for Dusty Baker and Bobby Cox - the both had an almost grandfatherly effect on teams. Ryan Dempster, Glendon Rusch and Mike Remlinger were awesome teammates and mentors for game preparation.
10:14
Honestly, the list cold go on forever because everyone helped. For a guy with a very limited skillset, I was blessed to rub shoulders and be in conversation with some of the best players and managers the game has ever seen.
Braves Fan
10:15
Will, thanks for doing this. Enjoyed watching you pitch for the Braves. Who was an influence among pitchers while you were in Atlanta?
Will Ohman
10:21
Loved Atlanta! That was one of my good years, so I remember it fondly! I already said Roger McDowell was a great coach and Bobby was awesome as a skipper. But getting to sit and talk with Smoltz, Glavine and Chipper (at the same time) was amazing. Conversations about the game would start, stories would get shared and then I'd look around and pinch myself because it was surreal that I was sitting with 3 HOFers.
Crag
10:21
What do you think of the three batter minimum rule?
Will Ohman
10:27
Great question. I think the rule is unnecessary and doesn't do what it was advertised to do. Allegedly, we wanted to speed the game up. But the fundamental problem with the rule is that it paints a manager into a corner. High profile case-in-point, Craig Kimbrel of 2020: when a guy is struggling, but you're forced to leave him out there for 3 batters. This can affect the game's outcome, put people in danger and basically removes a great deal of strategy. It goes without saying that I also don't care for it because it ostensibly eliminated that one job I did at the MLB level, but that's really beside the point. Rule changes have unintended consequences and shouldn't be introduced as frequently as they are right now.
Bad Ohman
10:27
Oh man, what was it like being a reliever with such a bad headline prone last name?
Will Ohman
10:30
I was the offensive lineman of baseball. You only got to read about me in the paper when I screwed up. Joking aside, it didn't affect me - it's low hanging fruit. I like my last name. I liked my job. Sometimes I sucked - more times I didn't.
Guest
10:30
Failure is such a big part of baseball. When you didn’t have it certain days, or particularly down the stretch of your career, what motivation did you draw from to keep competing and what advice can you give young pitchers out there on how to manage the failures of the game?
Will Ohman
10:34
Here's a piggyback answer for tough headlines. Bad games happen, they're inevitable. In fact, the only guarantee I could make to a young player is that they will experience some measure of failure. I can't remember where I heard it, but it stuck with me: "I don't care if you fail, I care how you respond." I adopted the mindset (and continue to preach it) that I never learned anything by getting 100% on a test. That allowed me to move on from game to game difficulties.
Jay
10:35
How important is the Pitcher/Catcher relationship? Was there anyone in particular you enjoyed having behind the plate?
Will Ohman
10:38
This is the most under-taught portion of the game IMO because it is invaluable. To be in sync with a catcher that has your back and knows your strengths  can lift a great deal of weight of your back. My favorites included Brian McCann, Henry Blanco and Matt Weiters. They each had very different setups behind the plate and different game philosophies, but we always managed to work well as the team within the team.
10:42
The mound can become the loneliest spot on the field sometimes. People should never underestimate how meaningful a simple clenched-fist gesture from the catcher can be. It lets you know that he's on your side and has some belief in you to get the job done. Catchers are generally great guys and very smart. I hope organizations start bringing more of them back into the fold to mentor.
Nimm win fur die mennschaft!
10:42
What was it like playing for Germany in the WBC? One of the coolest parts of the game to me...
Will Ohman
10:46
There is no greater honor than to represent a country in a sporting event. It was an amazing experience and I've made some life-long friendships from the opportunity. Don't sleep on German baseball! Max Kepler was on the 2012 team and if you ever watch Germany play handball in the Olympics, they've got some serious athletes in the country. If the governing bodies put the resources in place to foster the game, they could begin producing.
Jon
10:46
Hi Will.  You were on the Cubs with Bob Howry, I loved watching you guys pitch because you were effective and were able to play in so many games. Do you think you were able to gain any insight in how to be a workhorse from each other?
Will Ohman
10:48
Bob is the man! He and I kept it pretty simple. If you show up to the field and the jersey is still in your locker - you're available to pitch.
Duffy
10:48
Will, thanks for doing this. There was a 3 year gap where you weren’t in the majors, in part to Tommy John Surgery. Was there ever a point where you didn’t think you’d make it back? And how did it feel once you did?
Will Ohman
10:57
My pleasure! You guys are asking quality questions. As much as I trained and tried to take care of myself, I was not immune to injury. And honestly, doubt was heavy on my shoulders during this time. For context, I was up and coming, and had a couple of months of experience at the MLB level; then 3 surgeries in a row nixed 2002 and 2003. The Cubs didn't think I could make it back, dropped me off the 40-man but I signed back and went to AAA because I felt I had something to prove. 2004 was a grind because I had to recalibrate what "normal" felt like. Almost every day I wondered if I had blown my elbow out again. There were a lot of icepacks and Advil. When I finally made it back in 2005, after walking through some really dark places mentally, physically and emotionally - I was ready and I knew I belonged. That journey of recovery was probably the single greatest gift in my career. It has helped me be a better teammate, mentor and coach because I can relate and show empathy.
Rick Bristol
10:57
How many days/game in a row could you pitch as a lefty specialist only pitching to a batter or two, without feeling spent?
Will Ohman
11:01
In 2001, I was hot in the bullpen or in a game in 21 of 27 straight days. 3 of the days I did not warm up were scheduled off days. That was tough. But as I said, if the jersey is hanging in the locker, you're available. To answer your question more specifically, I always like pitching in as many games as possible. 3 games in a row starts to take a toll regardless. But every reliever will tell you it's the dry humps that add up.
Guest
11:01
Huge Angel fan. Always curious to ask players that didn't play for them if there ever was a time he considered Anaheim or almost got traded there??
Will Ohman
11:02
2008 I almost went to Anaheim with Mark Texeira.
Aris B.
11:02
Who was your most memorable strikeout? The one you always go back to in your head?
Will Ohman
11:05
Three stick out. JD Drew was my first MLB strikeout on a check swing that we both know he didn't go on. Ken Griffey Jr. in 2005 when I finally made it back from injuries. Barry Bonds because I can always say that on one glorious day, I faced the best the world has ever seen, and I got him. Side note, he homered off me the following day to restore my humility!
Sam T
11:06
Thanks for doing this! I remember seeing you as a pitching coach for the Palm Beach Cardinals a few years back! What inspired you to become a coach and how did you get into coaching?
Will Ohman
11:11
I absolutely love the game. It hooked me early in life and I've never been able to shake it. I always felt lucky to sit behind the outfield fence and watch the game unfold - to watch the field movement and defensive positioning, to manage the game in my head in order to be prepared to pitch anywhere from the 5th-9th inning. I think that prepared me well for in-game strategy. I learned from some of the most respected names in the game as teammates and coaches. And I had my own experiences that I felt we worthwhile to pass on to the coming generations of kids who want to see if they can be elite.
Jon
11:11
We've seen closer and designated hitters be inducted into the Hall of Fame. As arguably the best LOOGY in the history of the game, do you hold out hope for induction at Cooperstown?
Will Ohman
11:13
I'd put several people in front of me, but thank you for the vote of confidence. Ha!
Bryan
11:13
Whats it like sitting out in the bullpen during games? Is there alot of fan heckling going on?
Will Ohman
11:15
Fan interaction was always a highlight for me. Be prepared though - heckling is a two-player sport. Many fans forget this.
Scooby
11:17
What do you think about hitters pimping home runs?
Will Ohman
11:18
I'm a fan of acting like you've been there before. In a big situation, go for it. If you're down 12, don't act like an idiot. In the end though, I should have made a better pitch and we wouldn't have a problem.
Doug
11:20
What analytics-driven practices are you a fan of as a coach, and what difference would that have made for you 15-20 years ago?
Load More Messages
Connecting…