Once upon a time in a forest, long long ago there lived a magician, who could take things and make them work better. Today another magician, still works his magic. Only now, it is in a gym on Long Island. The magic, is turning good athletes, into exceptional athletes. The magic man is Robert Malichio, a certified Professional Athletic Trainer CSCS. President/CEO of Gotham Athletics, LLC and Embrion Athletics, LLC.
One day, a few years ago, Rob called me up and asked if I could check out a young college pitcher, named Brendan Butler. A six- foot three inch, 217 pound right hander. I observed Brendan and noticed he had very good arm action, nice sharp bite on his slider and good rotation on his curve. His fastballs have some life with some sink and arm side run. But they lacked velocity as they say at around 86 to 88 mph on my gun.
I told Rob what I saw and asked him, what were his intentions in asking me to see a good college pitcher, who was interesting but not a prospect? He told me to remember what I saw and call him in the spring. That winter, I had a conversation with the area scout for the Texas Rangers that I was linked to at the time, who tells me he saw Brendan pitch and he is not a prospect.
Fine, end of story, right? Rob calls me the next spring, to tell me, that Brendan will be part of a showcase and that he would like me see him again.
What I saw six months later, was magic. I along with 15 other scouts, clocked him at 92 -93 touching 94 on the radar guns. Holy smoking guns Batman! The scouts were all over him that day. When I called the Rangers scout, he said he still wasn’t interested . I told him he better take another look.
He asked me, how could that increase in velocity happen in such a short time? I told him about Malichio.
Brendan was drafted and signed by the Oakland A’s shortly after that. The Rangers took a West Point Graduate who is still in the Army and after two years in the A’s system, Brendan has moved quickly to A + ball and is now touching 95 -96 on the gun. He continues to work out with Malichio in the off season.
Over the past few years, I have seen the Magic Man repeat these improvements again and again with athletes from all sports and even teams. Helping individuals go from division three, to division one college prospects with some becoming professional athletes. and keeping them injury free.
Sadly, when I told this story to a very big time General Manager, for a major league team, who I am close to, I was told to get in touch with the team physician. He had the final say on any new trainers for the ball club. One year later, Robert Malichio’s name is buried in the politics and egos of a big organization. They have yet to even give him a call.
Sometimes they already have contractual commitments and other times they are just plain stubborn, with egos and job security, sometimes controlling their decisions. We see dumb decisions by ball clubs all the time, add this to the list. Why would you not want to use what ever you could, to make your organization better?
Top mascots in baseball like Mr. Met, earn $600 per hour and a six figure salary, I think you can get the Magic Man Malichio for less. Magicians can pull big red apples out of a hats.
Coppola has been an umpire, coach, instructor and scout and involved with baseball the past 41 years