Cardinals’ Plan Is Working – And They Need To Stick With It

This is an article written by Rob Rains from STL Sports Page. I agree with what Rob has to say on the Cardinals staying on the same path and not to wonder.The Cardinals have the best organization in all of baseball and  are dealing with a cup that is over flowing. I hope everybody enjoys the article and checks out a very good site on STL Sports. http://www.robrains.com/CARDINALSBASEBALL/tabid/91/entryid/533/cardinals-plan-is-working-and-they-need-to-stick-with-it.aspx

Bob

Baseball Pitching in the Future

I have written five articles in the hope of improving pitching at all levels. Before we go any further, I am not an expert on pitching. But I will give my opinion on the subject; this will tie in with my articles on Starting Pitchers as Closers, Drop and Drive VS Tall and Fall, Pitching for Accuracy, Professional Pitch Counts and Pitching Deception.

The goals of these articles are to help our pitchers to have fewer injuries and to be able to pitch more innings.  We are having so many injured arms and I am hoping with these five articles we can make a difference.

The AMTA is the organization that will help us with the massage therapy for our pitchers.  I will be discussing the pitching issue with other professionals, trainers, doctors, and pitching coaches. I want readers to add to the discussion and as many professionals in the field to give their comments and write articles.

We want as many different ideas on pitching as possible. There are so many different views on what needs to be done but hopefully we can all learn and bring something to the table. Big Dog Baseball USA will have different articles from other writers that will add to the education.  We all need to be open minded on the subject and respect other views.

Starting pitchers as closers is very outside of the box thinking, but it has some merits and I will look forward to the comments or articles from others.

Drop and Drive vs. Tall and Fall will have me in the minority. The majority of the baseball people are teaching the tall and fall. In the article I give you a funny story, and a short summary of the difference in the styles.

Professional Pitch Count deals with having a massage therapist in the dugout and in the bullpen. I discuss the advantage of using their services to help the pitchers increase their workload and to also decrease the chance of injury.

Pitching for Accuracy is my thoughts on help for pitchers to be more accurate with their pitching. The main theme is repeat, repeat and repeat some more. I will give examples of how this has worked in the past.

Pitching Deception is about messing up the timing of the hitter. I will show several ways this can be done. I think this article can help the player that has hit his ceiling and can help him move up to the next level. I think there are a lot of ideas that can help the professional pitcher to give the hitters something else to think about.

I have a link for a site that I love that you can video tape your players and be able to dissect their hitting and pitching. They also have a good video discussion on drop and drive vs tall and fall. They use Mark Buhrle and Randy Johnson as examples.

I also have the links to my other articles that tie all of this information together.

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/04/starters-as-closers/

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/06/drop-and-drive-vs-tall-and-fall/

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/05/professional-baseball-and-pitch-counts/

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/pitching-for-accuracy/

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/06/pitching-deception/

http://blog.powerchalk.com/2012/06/drop-and-drive-or-tall-and-fall/#comment-2806

Bob Brown

Yadier Molina proves Cards kept right guy (and it wasn’t Albert)

This is a very good article by Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/blog/danny-knobler/22403214/yadier-molina-proves-the-cardinals-kept-the-right-guy-and-it-wasnt-albert  Yadi has always had more value than AP. I was never in favor of signing AP, he could be replaced by Craig,  and then the Cards made the move to get Beltran. We are now in a situation of Matt Adams being ready for full time duty,  I think a good move is Craig to RF in 2014.  Beltran will go to AL next year in order to prolong his career. We have Taveras learning CF at Memphis and I hope   he is living in Center field. Here is an article I wrote about the Cards team in 2014. —http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/cardinals-spring-training-3-17-19/

Bob

Throwing and Catching

This is a good article for the younger players that are looking to improve. The article is written by Rick Johnston of The Baseball Zone. I cant say enough in order to be a better hitter, fielder, or thrower is to repeat, repeat, and repeat some more. There is a need to use the proper fundamentals and work your tail off. Check out the article-http://blog.thebaseballzone.ca/baseball-blog-toronto/bid/65387/Throwing-and-Catching-Quintessential-Defensive-Baseball

Bob Brown

 

Working the Count Larry Baseball

This a very good article written by Larry Cicchiello on the subject of working the count as a hitter. This is a subject that does not receive enough attention from coaches at the youth level.

I pounded this into my players when I was in the dirt. There will be a lot of teaching coaches at the youth level to improve the quality of coaching. I am getting a real good team together that is real excited about improving youth baseball. We will all be sharing a lot of information that will help the coaches at the amateur level.

http://www.larrybaseball.com/component/content/article/34-free-tips/74-you-really-should-read-the-benefits-of-hitting-ahead-in-the-count-

Bob Brown

 

Matt Carpenter – Redbird Rants

This is a very good article by Daniel Solzman of Redbird Rants that you will enjoy! I am a big fan of Matt Carpenter and think he could be a batting champion in the future. I wrote an article that told a little of the story of Matt earlier in the year. Take some time and read Daniels and if you haven’t you can check out mine.–http://redbirdrants.com/2013/06/11/matt-carpenter-a-humble-leadoff-man/?utm_source=FanSided+Daily&utm_medium=email#comwrap

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/cardinals-spring-training-3-17-19/

Thanks

Bob Brown

Keep the DH as it is!

There have been some rumors that MLB is going to try to force the Designated Hitter on to the National League. I think this would be very bad for the game, it will take a lot of strategy out of the hands of the manager and the fans who like to do the same.

The DH when it was first started was to increase the attendance in the American League. I think it worked because of more runs being scored and to be able to bring old NL players over to the AL to finish their career. Ron Blomberg was the first DH on April 6, 1973 playing for the Yankees at Fenway Park. Ron was all hit and no field, the DH prolongs careers and keeps players in the game who can only hit.

I hear people say all the time; I don’t want to watch the pitcher flailing away, when there can be another hitter in the lineup. These people don’t understand the true strategy of the game of baseball. Should we pitch to the 8th place hitter or do we walk him and face the pitcher. This all matters in the real game, is there one or two outs, who is the leadoff man? Where are the runners, what is the score. Do you pinch hit for the pitcher, what inning, how many pitches has he thrown. I love the strategy of the two managers, and the chess game that it creates. The managers in the American League do not have to use as much strategy as the skippers in the National League.

There is a need for the manager to make double switches; I think Whitey Herzog started double switches. Whitey was a very good manager and was a pioneer in the game. These kinds of switches can bite a manager in the rear. But this is what is fun about the game and the strategy, not another hitter in the lineup!

I like the way the game is today with the difference. I like to watch the American League games and compare the game to the National. I like the American League because it can keep some good players around a little longer for us to enjoy. The National League is where the real game is played and I hope the game stays the way it is for my grand kids to enjoy!

Bob Brown

Pitching Deception

In order to be a good hitter at the higher levels of baseball, there is a need to have good timing. This is why in MLB they have spring training and it takes about that amount of time for the hitters to get it together.

Hitters are taught to look at the release point of the pitcher and expect the ball to be thrown from an imaginary box. The hitter then has to identify the pitch, velocity and what he is going to do with it.

The pitcher is the opposite; he wants to mess up the timing of the hitter. This typically gets done with an assortment of pitches cutters, curves, changes and etc.

Most pitchers have the same delivery and arm angle with each pitch. They stand on the same part of the rubber with each pitch thrown, and don’t vary one bit in approach or delivery.

I want to go back to the 60s and the 70s with a pitcher named Luis Tianthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luis_Tiant I loved Luis he was a showman on the mound and was always trying his best to deceive the hitter. He would look back at second base before a pitch while in his windup. With runners on he would be in his stretch and before he came set he would bring his hands down in a stop and go fashion, he would wiggle them on their way down. He would get set in several positions, and the hitter never knew when he would pause and pitch. We would be playing wiffle ball later in life and would be copying Luis! My best friend the Big Lew would imitate Luis all the time; Lew was a real good wiffle ball pitcher! Luis would give interviews after the game smoking a big cigar, and was always a very entertaining interview. Matter of fact my buddy the Big Lew is very entertaining and has smoked a big cigar from time to time! Maybe they were cut from the same cloth? Check out Luis– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=md2k4NdOPmA

Don Drysdalehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Drysdale was a pitcher from the 50s and the 60s that we all imitated when we were kids. Don was a big man that would throw over handed and would drop down and throw sidearm to right handed hitters. There was a lot of times the sidearm pitches were curves, it was like he was throwing from the third base to right handed hitters. He had many big league hitters’ knees buckling, with his big curve!

I believe a pitcher can move up the ladder by using some of the techniques that I will explain in this article. The current baseball people will probably think I am nuts, but that is ok. I want to with all my energy to improve the game and promote the game to the maximum!

I think we will start with throwing from different angles. If you would talk to a good pitching coach, he will tell you that you can have your ball act different ways, if thrown from an overhand to submarine motion.

We can say your normal delivery is straight overhand and you are facing a right handed hitter in a clutch situation. Just think what his reaction would be if you come sidearm with a curveball. The pitcher has to understand that any time you can get out of the hitters box, change your release point, it is to your advantage. It is up to you to keep the hitter guessing where the ball is coming from. You want him to be confused and to throw off his timing. It will be easy to change speeds from all of these angles. I think the speeds can be changed just by taking a little off on some pitches.

Everybody will be different, some may change angles 10% of the time and others will be 50-75%.  The guy who has the power arm will only do this with maybe 10% of his pitches. But in the back of the hitters mind is the possibility of a pitch being delivered out of the box.

The pitcher who has hit his ceiling may be a 50-75% pitcher; this may be his chance to move up a level or more!

How about some deception in your windup? For example if you are in your full windup and you put a little hesitation before you release. This can really mess with the timing of the hitter! You will need to vary your hesitation, slow to quick. Be like Luis and look back at second base, you can even hesitate in this delivery. How about a real herky jerky delivery, with a hesitation? You need to have your throwing hand start from a different spot. Show the ball behind you and begin your throw from low to high. You can even wiggle your throwing hand with some hesitation. Why not different release points, some lower and some higher. Remember the hitter is taught to look for the box and pick up the release point.

Quick pitch to your hitter and really get him angry. You will want to frustrate your hitters, and get them mad, this works better for you. You will have a play with your catcher where you will call two pitches at a time. The second pitch will be a fastball 90% of the time. What will happen is on the second pitch, instead of going into a full windup you just take the ball when he is in the box and throw the pitch. He is expecting you to look for a sign and all of a sudden here comes the pitch! This can work also if you wait for him to settle in and you act like you get a sign and then you just throw the ball with no windup!

The quick pitch from the stretch can be done. It is basically the same way, you call two pitches and you receive the ball from the stretch position, as soon as the batter steps into the box you get in your set position and throw. You will need to give a slight hesitation so there is no balk called.  He is thinking you are going to look for your sign. The runner or runners will not know what to do; chances are they will have small leads.

The hitter will do his thing at the plate, to stay loose, and if you can pitch the ball when he is doing a little warm-up swing and surprise him. Do not do you windup, wait for his bat to start to come forward and just throw the ball!

Wiggle your glove and cause as much confusion as you can before releasing the ball. Your responsibility is to throw the hitters timing off as much as possible. Use your glove as a shield to hide the ball as long as possible. They will not know where the ball is coming from and if you can use the glove as a shield, this will benefit the pitcher.

I would pitch from different parts of the rubber. A righty is hitting you may get on the far right and crossfire “throw across your body” and throw a wrinkle or a fastball. The hitter will think you are throwing from third base. Experiment with throwing from different parts of the rubber. This will give the hitter a different look and will keep him thinking.

Pitchers use to do this more often years ago and I do not understand why you don’t see much in today’s game. Why not throw a curve and a slow curve? The hitter is thinking curve and he gets a slow curve, he will look like a fool!

The main thing is to change speeds and be as deceptive as possible.

This information should be looked at by all pitchers who have hit their ceiling! You have nothing to lose. Just try a couple of my ideas it might help you get to the next level.  

Here is a good article about Adam Wainwright of the Cards and what he does to hitters. This is written by Derrick Goold of the STL. Post Dispatch. http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/wainwrght-mixing-up-delivery/article_2eb38db3-cd82-590f-b70b-1fa949b3714c.html

Bob Brown

 

 

Braun scandal reminds us of man whose reputation he ruined

This is a very good article by Michael Rosenberg of Sports Illustrated. This deals with Ryan Braun and the steroid issue and who it has harmed the most. I have a lot of problems with liars and cheaters! The whole issue of performance enhancing drugs really eats on me.

The players that should be bothered the most should be the AAA and AAAA professional baseball players. Some could have had a career in the big show, if not for steroids. There was a lawsuit filed from a minor league player several years ago on this subject. I have never heard about any outcome or information.

Bob Brown

Joe Buck and Three Gentlemen

I was watching a Cardinal game several years ago and Joe buck was still in the booth for the Cards. I think a lot of fans will remember this event that will humor me for a lifetime!

The camera fanned up to the third deck way up in right field. There was three Gentlemen sitting next to each other and there was nobody within a hundred miles of them. Joe noticed they were having a very good time laughing and enjoying the game.

Joe is like his Dad the Great Jack Buck, with a very good sense of humor. The camera kept going back to where these long distance Card fans were sitting and enjoying their day at the ball park.

I think it was after about the third time of Joe watching the guys and making some funny comments. He noticed that these three Cardinal baseball fans were sharing one beer! We were all watching as they passed the beer from one to the other. I personally think this is too much closeness. But it is a free country, if they want to share a beer, all the more power to them.   Joe had so much fun with this and I just loved watching the Old Boys laughing and sharing one beer.  This event was better than watching the game and Joe added to the fun with some very humorous comments.

Finally what Joe did was send three beers up to these gentlemen with an attendant. Joe announced the event as the beers were getting closer to their final destination. The beer arrived to the scene and the men accepted the free brew.  The courier of the adult beverage said the beer was a gift from Joe Buck.

It was obvious the men were enthusiastic to be able to consume free beer and to hear it was a gift from Joe. The courier then proceeded to explain to the beer consumers that they have been on TV and then pointed to the broadcast booth.

The three baseball and beer fans then proceeded to laugh and point to the booth. They were laughing so hard, I thought they were going to fall over! Joe with his style was making some funny comments about the beer sharing gentlemen. As Mike Shannon says there is nothing like fun at the old ball yard. I will never forget this and I am sure that Joe has a special memory of the three gentlemen!

Bob Brown