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Stone-Cold Stare Helps Provide Smith With Results


By Patrick Hickey Jr

Throughout the season, Smith has proven time and time again that he is the Cyclones best pitcher

After a shaky outing against the Staten Island Yankees in his pro debut, Cyclones closer Joe Smith has started to show the Coney Island faithful why in fact the Mets drafted him in the third round of this year’s draft.


“I’m just getting comfortable; I was nervous my first couple of times out,” said Smith, who has a 0.45 ERA and 28 strikeouts in just 20 innings for the Cyclones this year. “It was my first time in pro ball and I didn’t know what to expect. After that, I kind of got the feel back. It’s just baseball; all you got to do is throw strikes and get people out.”


While there is no doubt that Smith’s ability on the mound has been a huge factor in his success, his demeanor and poise on the mound have proven equally beneficial as well. Sporting what Cyclones manager George Greer calls a “Stone-Cold stare,” Smith has been unstoppable on the mound for Brooklyn, going 9 for 9 in save opportunities after his blown save against the Yankees in his pro debut. Rather than accept all of the credit, Smith attributes his focus and determination on the mound to his college pitching coach.


“My head coach at Wright State, Rob Cooper worked really hard at the mental aspect of the game,” said Smith. “I can’t tell you how much he taught me about the mental game. I made a choice to listen to him and I can’t tell you how much it’s helped me.”


Taking a break from staring down hitters late in games, Smith and a few other Cyclones attended a Mets game at Shea Stadium on July 24 and got the chance to meet some of the players. Smith, who has been in the Mets clubhouse before, getting some tips from Heath Bell and Chad Bradford, found solace in picking the brain of another Mets pitcher, closer Billy Wagner.


“He basically said, ‘when you’re on the field make it personal and when you’re off, don’t.’ It goes with the same mental approach I try to have,” said Smith. “When you’re on the field, here it comes and when you’re off, it’s fun, especially when you’re winning.”


The experience of touching base with some of the Mets may prove to be even more important for Smith, whom many believe has the best chance of all of the youngsters on the Cyclones to make the Major Leagues. Even Smith acknowledged how great the experience was.


“It was fun,” said Smith. “It was like being a little kid but even better because I have a chance to play for these guys one day.”

All photos for this article were taken by Conroy Walker

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