Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
“Hey, everyone, look, the next Mike Piazza,” a fan said, loudly, a few feet behind Travis d’Arnaud, who was waiting to hit. The fan kept repeating it. “Hey, little Piazza, turn around,” he escalated.
D’Arnaud just stood there, straight faced, locked on the pitcher he was about to face. It’s not like Travis doesn’t know who Piazza is. He’s repeatedly said Mike was his favorite player growing up. He told me later he didn’t hear the ‘heckling.’ At first, I didn’t believe him. However, I do know these guys to be able to focus in a way I’ve never totally understood.
Every player I’ve asked has told me they’re able to block out everything but the task at hand, focus on the moment, or the technical element they’re locking in on. I once talked to Pedro Martinez, who said he could hold his breath and zone in on the catcher’s mitt in a way that would (in his mind) literally silence 55,000 Yankees fans taunting his name.
Travis later told me, even if he did hear the guy, it wouldn’t have mattered any way. Pressure, no pressure, comparisons, no comparisons, New York, Toronto, whatever, his goal is to just get better… always work to get better. That’s all that matters.