How Jorge Posada became Tomas Nido’s ironic inspiration
Having grown up in Puerto Rico, born in 1994, Tomas Nido eventually came around to worshipping and emulating Yadier Molina.
The Cardinals’ catcher didn’t make his big-league debut until 2004, however, and Nido started catching at age 7. So in those introductory years to the tools of ignorance, Nido first found a different role model.
“Posada was the guy who was everywhere pretty much,” Nido said Saturday in Milwaukee of Jorge Posada, the Yankees’ iconic catcher from Puerto Rico. “You’d look up watching TV, and he was on TV, so that’s kind of who I looked up to. When I started getting older and Yadi came around, that’s who I started modifying my game after.”
The 25-year-old Nido rejoined the Mets’ catching corps last week when the club finally gave up on veteran catcher Travis d’Arnaud, designating him for assignment, and after riding a yo-yo between the majors and Triple-A, he now appears poised to stick around for a while. While he possesses vast room for improvement on his hitting — he has a terrible .176/.202/.250 slash line over 114 career plate appearances — Nido has drawn widespread praise for his work behind the plate. Jacob deGrom showered him with public plaudits last week when Nido caught his return to dominance (seven shutout innings) against the Reds.
With top catcher Wilson Ramos looking a little haggard on both sides of the ball, Nido could easily work his way into more playing time.
“I think he’s very prepared,” Mickey Callaway said of Nido. “He’s done a really good job in the last year of prepping and then taking ownership of the information, so he’s calling great games.”
Guess where that comes from?
“He was such a leader,” Nido said of Posada. “You could tell he always took control of the game. He knew what he wanted to do. It was almost like … the game wasn’t happening. It was him controlling everything else going on. And it looked like he was always in charge.
“That’s kind of one of the things I always liked to take out there. Feel like I’m in control of the game and not let the game speed up and go out of my hands. The more I feel like I’m in control, it’s like I’m slowing the game down.”
Nido said he has met Posada a couple of times, most recently last month, when the Mets visited the Marlins in Miami; Posada lives in South Florida and works as a special adviser for the Marlins, whose CEO, Derek Jeter, is of course Posada’s close friend and former Yankees teammate.
Some irony exists in Nido’s admiration of Posada, a terrific switch-hitter who always had to answer questions about his fielding. Nido, to the contrary, must hit just a little better to keep his job, since he widely is regarded as a near-elite receiver. Matching his minor-league slash line of .263/.303/.378 would do the trick.
“I know I can hit,” said Nido, whom the Mets selected in the eighth round of the 2012 amateur draft. “I’ve struggled in every level at the beginning the first year and been able to come back and catch up. I’ve been working on some things. I know it’ll pay off.
“I’ve just got to be patient, not try to do so much every at-bat. I’ll take it one at-bat at a time, and I know things will fall back into place.”
Now that the Mets will be more patient with him, Nido should, in theory, be able to relax a little. He wouldn’t concede entirely on that point, though.
“I won’t say I’m just going to sit back and, ‘OK, I’m comfortable,’” Nido said. “But more of, it’s nice to know that you’re here. It just helps me to keep working on my craft and just prepare even better.”
Sounds more than a little bit like the fiery Posada.
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