All of us fans who were sad to see Cat Osterman announce her retirement, and yes I was very much in that group, can now feel better that August 24th wont be the last chance we get to see her. After days of thinking how I can spice this up and put the interview into a great piece of writing, I ultimately decided I wasn’t going to do a thing to it. Anytime Cat speaks people will listen, this isn’t about my perspective, it’s about embracing the moment, and not taking for granted what we have. We have a chance to watch greatness. Some of us in person, some on TV. Regardless of how, it is truly an honor. After throwing two no hitter’s this season, I think we all, Cat included, can agree, it’s not time!
Cat: I think last year my numbers weren’t, I mean…the effort I had to put in to be successful last year isn’t portrayed in the numbers. I put up good numbers but it was a struggle for me physically. Just the grueling day-in-day-out, the soreness just to be effective was not easy at all last summer. I thought I was kinda hitting that point where that’s how it was gonna be and I was gonna have to really try to reinvent myself over and over in order to be successful still and I’m at an age where…not that I don’t wanna do that but it just…I wanna hang it up before I’m on the decline and I thought that’s where I was hitting last year and I came back and I’m throwing better than I thought I would. I think i didn’t give myself enough credit. I had surgery in December of last year and my rehab didn’t technically end til mid-March so I really only had a month and a half of trying to get in shape to come into season so I think the competitor in me wanted to be better and I didn’t put that big picture into play but I really thought I was just hitting a point that i wasn’t gonna be as effective..
HOFH: With age?
Cat: Yeah, I’m not as young and I thought I wasn’t gonna be as effective so I thought, we’ll give it one more year and then hang it up. Obviously my performances, not today, but every other game, have been pretty good.
HOFH: Well even tonight must people would kill for your numbers…
Cat: Yeah, I mean…you know I’m performing better and I’ve kind of refallen in love with it. I’d still like to pitch a little bit better but I’m having fun with it again where last year it was…
HOFH: .82 ERA, come on (both chuckling)…
Cat: After tonight it might be back over one so we’ll see.
HOFH: I’ve seen over the offseason on Twitter that you really hit a workout program and got in phenomenal shape, not that you were in bad shape before, but you were really hitting it hard. Was that a result of you thinking you were in bad shape last year?
Cat: Well yeah, even since ’08 my working out wasn’t as religious as it should be. I run and I keep in some sort of shape. It’s just not great shape. When I knew I was gonna announce my retirement, I basically decided that if I’m gonna go out I’m gonna go out in the greatest shape i can. I’m not gonna have any regrets. I hit the gym and I think that working out, more than anything, as attributed to why i can throw the way I’m throwing again. I’m in the best shape I’ve been in since 2008, and i’ll continue with that, I wont give that up.
HOFH: What went into your decision to unretire? I seen on twitter that you got Brett Favre’d by your teammates but he took time off then came back so you re not quite in the same boat, but was that decision something you thought about and thought about or was it BAM, I woke up one morning and I’m ready to keep going?
Cat: I think about 3 or 4 weeks into the season I started contemplating it and I kinda started discussing it a little here and there with people, teammates and other people in the league. Actually last time Akron was down in Florida I was talking to Norris and she just looked at me and said “You don’t need to be done.” That kinda hit home and then I thought the more I’m discussing it with people I’m obviously not ready, so why even chance it? And I’m not, I don’t think I really am ready. As much as I love coaching, and I know that’s the next future for me, I…I’m in situations and I can say last weekend in Chicago, pitching 9 innings then coming back and pitching 7 in relief, giving up a leadoff triple then striking out the side, I still live for those moments and I don’t wanna watch those moments next year. I’m not ready to be watching them yet.
HOFH: Is there anything that could happen that could bring you back to retirement mode?
Cat: No, no, not this season. I’ll come back next season no matter what.
HOFH: Is there any kind of time table you’ve set for yourself?
Cat: No, I’m never gonna announce it before the season again. I’ll see how I feel by the midway point next season, see what I feel like and make a decision.
HOFH: What type of reaction did you get from your family, your teammates and all your fans?
CAT: So far everything’s been positive, so far everyone has been excited that I decided to come back.
HOFH: Well for the initial retirement announcement…
Cat: Oh the initial announcement…It was mixed feelings. I got congrats and good luck and I got a lot of ‘the games gonna miss you’, ‘we’ll miss watching you play’. As the seasons gone on and I’m throwing well I’ve got a lot of people ‘oh you really gonna go out?’, ‘you gonna reconsider?” Even last night, knowing I was gonna make the announcement, a couple people were like ‘come on there’s no way you’re gonna be done.” I was like ahhhh sure I am! Everyone was supportive but there was obviously a lot of people who didn’t wanna see me go yet and you know, its just not time.
HOFH: Something I’ve noticed, when you face off with Monica it seems like you get a lot of one run low scoring loses. I know how strong you are mentally and such a great pitcher obviously, but is that something that you think about, something that…does that get to you? Not that you haven’t beat her too but most times it feels like you’re on the short end of a 1 run loss…
Cat: It just depends, I mean she’s obviously a great pitcher, she’s a couple years younger. When I was 27 I…back in ’09 at 26-27, I threw lights out.
HOFH: Well you still throw lights out…
Cat: I think that’s when we kinda hit our prime but she’s throwing around over in Japan and stuff so she’s always in shape. She’s a great pitcher and you have to tip your hat to it. People have figured out, made me change the way I throw a little bit. I’ll take a one run loss, it’s when it’s 4 and 5 when I’m definitely not gonna be happy. I don’t like losing period but it happens. Those games, both sides know it’s gonna come down to one swing, and it usually does. Just kinda part of the game, I’ve dealt with it my whole life, my college career was a ton of 1-0 games.
HOFH: Besides the workouts, did you approach the season any differently knowing it was gonna be your last?
Cat: Not really, I didn’t come out with a vengeance. I mean obviously every time I step on the field I want to do my best. I wanna be on top. But no I didn’t have any different mental makeup really. The pitching and the numbers just kind of happened and I think part of that is being completely healthy and in shape again.
HOFH: Was there anything in particular that opened your eyes to the fact that you still love the game and you still want to play or was it just getting out there and playing?
Cat: It was getting out there and playing, obviously success always drives something. So seeing that I could be successful again and it’s not as much of a chore as last summer was. Last summer i feel like i was pitching to get outs, I couldn’t even consider strikeouts because I just didn’t have the same command I had before. You know this summer having the command and seeing the numbers…I just wasn’t on the decline like I thought I was. But like I said, moments like last weekend, leadoff triple and strikeout the side, I was pumped up! If i still love it this much there’s no reason…it’s not the fact that I struck out the side it was how excited I got about it.
HOFH: Is there anything you want to add? Anything else at all you want to say?
Cat: I’m really excited about returning, I should have known in April when I was writing an email to my teammates to tell them that the announcement was coming out…when I was crying and shaking typing an email, that probably should have been a sign. But…they all kinda let me…I think they all…most of them I think expected it…
HOFH: Expected you to come back or expected you to retire?
Cat: Once the season started and once I was throwing a couple of them…obviously I told Megan (Willis) before I told the team because she is close to me and Kretchman is my roommate on the road and we’ve known each other for 12-13 years, so those two knew prior to the team knowing. Megan said “alot of us expect this, just no one could convince you of it, you had to see it yourself. You still love this.” I have great teammates and a great team, they make it easy to make it a fun game.
Special Thanks to Cat Osterman ( @catosterman ) for Sitting Down
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