The baseball season is long, the New York Mets are not especially good, and the Arizona Diamondbacks are quite possibly a good deal worse, which explains why Josh Lewin and Howie Rose were discussing Mets outfielder Eric Young, Jr.'s decision to visit a Phoenix-area hypnotherapist -- during the offseason, and again during the team's visit to Arizona -- on the air during Wednesday's game. An insignificant April baseball game takes as long to unfold as any other, and dead air is dead air, and so it came up. The two agreed that the mental aspect of the game is important, and that there was nothing wrong with Young making sure his mind stays as fit as his body.
They're right, of course. About all of it: baseball is exceptionally difficult even as rote physical activities go, but it isn't just a rote physical activity, at all. There is a lot of time to think and copious failure and constant reason for doubt, on top of the high isolation of constant travel and scrutiny and the deleterious effects of repeated visits to various Cheesecake Factories in various big league cities.
These are all good reasons to see a therapist, although there's really no reason necessary, for Young or anyone else, beyond, "it helps." There's nothing wrong with seeing a therapist -- I do it myself, and look at what a fast typist I am today -- and there's certainly no reason to keep it a secret. Young didn't, talking about it in AZCentral.com, in a story that was later picked up by ESPN.com. This brings us to Pattie Freeman, who is Eric Young's hypnotherapist.
Freeman is not a psychiatrist, or a psychologist, and doesn't like to call what she does hypnotherapy. "I call it visualization and mental sports training,'" she told AZCentral. "When [the athletes] see that, they say, 'Oh, that's cool.'" Which, again: whatever works, works. The #LOLMets moment here is not that Young is seeing a hypnotherapist. It's the hypnotherapist that he's seeing.
In her online bio, Freeman says "she has studied as a student of psychology" and notes that she's certified by the National Guild of Hypnotists. This appears to cost $130 and be a thing one can do online, provided you correctly answer questions such as "have you ever been convicted of a felony?" and "have you ever been dismissed from any professional organization because of an ethics complaint?"
Beyond that, Freeman's bio is notable for a wealth of unmotivated capitalization -- "Whether its, Cheer leading Baseball, Hockey, Basketball, Football, Soccer, Arena Football or Olympic type of sports figure skating, weight lifting, track the list is endless...Sports is competitive and it's all mental," all (sic)'s in the original -- and for Freeman's tendency to compare herself to Dr. Dani Santino of the short-lived USA Network show "Necessary Roughness." ("She has been called the 'Dr. Dani Santino of Necessary Roughness' Because of her techniques of overcome fears and doubts with athletes.")
It's a pretty extraordinary website, and one that mostly reads -- in syntax and capitalization and general half-distracted grandiosity -- as if it was written on a smartphone during a bumpy bus ride. The parts of the site that read best, on baseball and baseball slumps, seem to have been lifted wholesale from this website. Freeman's other website, hypnosisbypattie.com, is more concerned with selling Freeman as a hypnotist-entertainer for corporate events. It is written much the same way -- "Pattie is one of the Top Rated Female Stage hypnotist in the US. Voted #1 Entertainer of the year" -- and notes that Freeman was the "Arizona State Fair hypnotist for 2012."
This all raises various questions, starting with why the Mets couldn't connect one of their players with a visualization specialist or hypnotherapist who is 1) an actual doctor and/or 2) whose bio does not contain the words "Pattie's Comedy Hypnosis Shows is a SOLD OUT hit at Dave & Buster's."
Of course, all these questions might have only one relevant answer -- if whatever Pattie Freeman does works for Eric Young, then perhaps it all works as well as it needs to. And where are you supposed to find a decent psychotherapist in New York City, anyway?