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Sean Doolittle Newsbeat

Friday, April 03, 2020

An Activist and a Bookworm, Sean Doolittle Is the Conscience of Baseball

Sean Doolittle’s plan to visit a bookstore on every road trip last season did not originate as any sort of serious plan at all. It started as simply a way to get some books. The Nationals’ reliever, 33, reads voraciously. He reads because he has to.

Doolittle has had the same in-season routine for a few years now—after a game, at home or in his hotel room, he reads for an hour or two before bed. (If he’s at a particularly good point in a book, he’ll carve out more time the next morning before he heads to the park.) It’s a relatively small part of his day. But it’s become crucial to his relationship with baseball and with himself.

As Doolittle worked his way into the majors—an extended process, with a set of injuries that sidelined him for full seasons after he was drafted out of the University of Virginia in 2007—he realized that baseball dictated the conditions of his entire life. It set the tone for everything; to pitch well was to enjoy a night thinking about nothing else; to pitch poorly was to be condemned to the same. He had no outlet outside of baseball because he had neither space nor energy for it. When he spent time on the injured list, everything went dark. “My whole life, my everything—I was consumed by baseball,” he says. “How that was going determined how I was feeling about literally anything.” The game had come to determine not only what he did but who he was.

“It’s something that he’s always been comfortable going into,” Doolittle’s wife, Eireann Dolan, says about watching him handle the pressure of his role as a closer. Before he came to the mound each day, his tendency to wrap his whole self in his job was an asset, the source of that ability to feel comfortable. After he left the park, however, his inability to disconnect was a struggle. “When all of your energy—your work and focus and adrenaline—is condensed into ten minutes at ten o’clock at night, when he’s actually pitching, it’s very hard to come down from… And it’s just very hard then not to let that be your entire identity, as the guy who either saved the day or ruined the day.”


QLE Posted: April 03, 2020 at 01:10 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: sean doolittle

Friday, February 28, 2020

Whiff: Nats closer Doolittle calmed by lavender oil on glove

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Washington Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle moves a glove out of the way as he reaches into a shelf in his spring training locker and grabs a different one, which he then hands over with a simple, if unusual, instruction:

“Smell it.”

So, of course, you do—getting a sweet whiff of lavender, the sort you might get from a candle or bowl of potpourri. And now you know what Doolittle sniffed each time he jutted his right elbow toward home plate and tucked his glove under his chin to get his catcher’s signs during last season’s World Series.

At the suggestion of Washington’s director of mental conditioning, Mark Campbell, Doolittle put lavender oil on the leather laces around the webbing of his glove for the postseason. It helped the lefty relax on the mound after a rocky regular season, much the way the bullpen as a whole morphed from disaster to asset in 2019, a trend of improvement the club figures will continue in 2020.

Is this one of the foreign substances we aren’t supposed to have applied to the ball?


QLE Posted: February 28, 2020 at 01:16 AM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: gloves, lavender oil, sean doolittle




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