Home Team and All Star Ballots

I will start this column off with; I am not in favor of fans voting in the all star game. I have been at the stadium during the time of voting and just pass the ballots down the line. The comments that are made by fans filling in the ballots make the selection process a farce. We need to vote for all Cardinals, or I will vote for him because he is cute. I think you get my idea.

I was watching the Cardinals play the Brewers in Milwaukee and right behind the catcher at the backstop was a sign that said vote for your Brewer players to be at the all star game. I think this is terrible and I am guessing it is happening all over the major leagues. I have heard the on field announcer tell fans to vote for their favorite Cardinal.

Baseball says this is all for the fans, and they are correct. But there are some circumstances that a player will be voted in or receive a lot of votes and he is having a terrible year or has been injured. This seems to happen every year and a deserved player ends up missing a chance to be on the roster.

The Cincinnati Reds had a ballot stuffing plan in the 50s that caused some problems for major league baseball. Here is a link that explains what happened – http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60255

I imagine you think I am a grouchy old man that wants to take the vote away from the fans. Stay with me, I think we can have a compromise and keep everybody happy! I just want to see the players that deserve to be at the game get the honor.

Here is the deal, there will be four groups participating and this should keep everybody happy. The groups will be fans, players, coaches, and selective sports writers. MLB will announce in a grand fashion who the all stars are in each voting group! This could create a lot of enthusiasm and discussion. I would have the votes from each group on record. I love when people are talking about baseball and this could add to the discussion. This could build a little rivalry among the groups on who could pick the best team. MLB could every Monday morning make an announcement on who are the leading vote getters from each group. This could make the voters more aware and vote for the more deserving player.

Now we need to narrow this down to one team and keep the discussion active. This will be real simple; each group will have equal shares on the final vote. This will be good for baseball and the interest and competition to pick the best team will be fun for all! This could keep the teams from ballot stuffing and giving the honor to a player that doesn’t deserve to be at the game. If there happens to be any ties, the manager can make the decision on who gets chosen.

The manager will still have the ability to pick the rest of his pitching staff, and add players because of injuries.

Bob Brown





Professional Baseball and Pitch Counts

I am going to touch on some information and I am hoping this will help some people in the baseball world.  The article will discuss pitch counts and what to do with the arm before, in between innings, and after pitching in a baseball game.   

I heard Ricky Horton a former MLB pitcher say the starting pitchers normally throw about 50 warm up pitches before they take the hill. He then added relief pitchers will throw about 25 pitches before going to the mound.  Why the difference in counts for the starters and the relievers? They both need to be stretched and warmed up? 

We will begin with the starter; he goes to the mound and takes his allowed 8 warm up pitches to begin the game. Our starter on this particular game happens to go a full 7 innings and he gets pinch hit for in the 8th inning. He leaves the game with 105 pitches thrown, and he has only allowed 2 runs and everybody is happy. The problem is he has thrown a lot more than 105 pitches. Before the game even starts he has thrown about 50, and in between innings he has thrown 56 pitches. This is a grand total of 211, and we can reduce this significantly!

We can reduce the pitches thrown before and in between innings to more than half of what they are doing now.  It is my opinion that we can get the pitchers warmed up in 20 pitches.

This is not etched in stone, because of weather conditions. If the weather is cold, rainy, or windy it will take longer for the pitcher to be game ready.

Typically what happens is a pitcher comes off the mound and puts a jacket on his throwing arm to keep it warm. This is good but there needs to be more done to keep the pitcher prepared to throw.  He sits and his muscles get tight and he goes to the mound and  throws 8 pitches to get warmed up. This just does not make any sense, and we are here to see if we can correct this problem.

I think the major leagues needs to have a massage therapist in the dugout and in the bullpen. These professionals are trained to be sport therapist that specializes in baseball. They are part of the team and go on all road trips and are separate from the trainers.

The dugout specialist is in charge of the starting pitcher and works with him before, during and after the game. The starter will get his stretching in and then report to the massage therapist. The dugout therapist will then proceed to a work on his throwing arm and upper body. Once he gets this work done he then goes to the bullpen and he is stretched and his muscles are relaxed. He should be able to throw about 20 pitches and be ready to pitch the game. This is a significant less amount of pitches and a lot better for his arm. After each inning the pitcher gets worked on by the therapist and returns to the mound. This procedure will take away any stiffness and he will be able to pitch longer and without as many warm up pitches. He can probably get by with 4-5 warm up pitches an inning. After the pitchers are done with their day they see the therapist before leaving the park. I think this process is valuable to the pitchers in between starts to prepare for their next outing.

The relief specialist is in the bullpen and working the relief pitchers. He will need to work fast and maybe prepare 2 pitchers at a time. This will have to be coordinated with the manager, so it does not create chaos.

I think there is another tool for the team to use on the pitchers. This devise is a neuromuscular electrical stimulation, and it has been proven to help the muscles recover.  This tool is appropriate before, during and after pitching.

I am going to being doing more research on this subject in the future. I am working with the American Massage Therapy Association and we are going to see what we can do on this subject.

Bob Brown


Cardinals Run Down Play 4-30-13

The situation had the Red player Brandon Phillips on first base. Cardinal left handed pitcher Jaime Garcia threw over to first and had Phillips picked off. Phillips took off for second base and the Cardinal first baseman threw the ball to shortstop Pete Kozma. This is when it becomes a mess! The ball was thrown all over the place and it looked like 10 year olds were playing the game!

Kozma ran the runner toward first base but threw the ball way too early. The first baseman received the ball and ran the runner towards second and threw it again to Kozma. He starts to run the base runner towards first and throws the ball early again. The throw was pushed and only went a couple of feet. After this was all over Phillips was out at second base.

I played shortstop and second base and this situation would arise from time to time. This is a simple play and it amazes me how it just gets screwed up all the time. I would literally yell for the ball and get the runner out fast by tagging him or forcing him to be committed to the previous bag and then I would throw him out.

Here is an example of what needs to be done. The pitcher picks off the runner at first, the runner bolts to second base. Our first baseman throws to the shortstop, and he receives the ball. The shortstop takes off fast, holding the ball in his right hand and once the runner is square to the base and about 20-25 feet from the bag and committed, you make one throw and he is out.  The fielder can make a fake throw but only once, if you do it repeatedly, the receiving fielder can be faked out and miss the ball.  There are a lot of times the runner can be run down and the ball not even thrown.

The runner always has to be run to the bag he came from.  My 12-13 year olds knew what to do and I still see this simple play being done wrong by major leaguers! I would literally yell run him and the players knew what to do.

Bob Brown