When I featured softball legend Cat Osterman last Friday, I wrote that I hoped to get some interviews with Team USA. As you saw Saturday, I interviewed Monica Abbott. Today, I have my interview with Cat.
After a Hall of Fame career in the NPF and two Olympics, Cat retired from playing. She continued coaching however. After softball was announced for the 2020 Olympics, Cat made the decision to come out of retirement.
The interview reveals a little about Cat's decision and mindset about coming back. You can see the determination in her face and hear it in er words. Cat revealed how long she has been working at the comeback.
There are so many layers to the comeback. While Cat has stayed close to the game through coaching, returning to the field, especially at this level, is a totally different story. Would she be able to regain enough of her old form to compete for a roster spot on Team USA? Would she regret the comeback? She was putting herself out for everyone to see.
I am quite sure Cat had a certain level of confidence before she made her announcement, but I also know training and competing are different. She would never really know until she was pitching in real games.
Last weekend, Cat appeared in games against the Chicago Bandits and the USSSA Pride. In all honesty, she was not in her prime form, but she is close and she has a year to further sharpen her skills. Considering her path to get here, she is probably on schedule. Don't misunderstand me though. She is still pitching at an elite level, just not yet at her previous peak Cat level.
Of course, she is a bit older and spent time without truly competing. None of that matters when the Olympics come around. It's not about effort or relative success. It is about performance.
I write all of this to be objective about where Cat is now. I do believe she will be fine by July 202 for the Olympics. This is all part of the journey. You can't expect her to simply step back on the mound and be the best.
Cat and Monica are an elite one-two punch. They are arguably the two best pitchers ever. In short series, dominant pitching is hugely important. Monica and Cat have the ability and durability to log in a lot of innings.
You can follow the progress and get all of the news about Cat and her teammates at Team USA. Check back here for recurring coverage, including my interview with Rachel Garcia tomorrow.