MLB Home Run Baseballs Authenticated

This could be a terrific ongoing promotion for Major League Baseball Teams! This idea is a win for players, team, sponsors and most of all the baseball fans.

Imagine you are at Busch Stadium watching the Cardinals play and you are sitting in the bleachers. The Cards are down by two runs and there are runners on first and second. The Reds have the home team down to their last out. Matt Holiday is up at the plate with the count 2-2 and the fans are going crazy! The Red pitcher is Aroldis Chapman the flame throwing lanky closer. Holiday has fouled off four pitches and then all of a sudden Chapman throws a pitch down and in the middle of the plate. Holiday takes a mighty swing and the ball is hit deep to left field and it is coming in your direction. You calmly set your adult beverage in the cup holder so   not to spill it, and then you put your baseball glove on and get prepared to catch this walk off home run! The ball is coming directly to you and you confidently reach up to catch the ball “using two hands” and the ball glances off your glove and goes directly to a Reds fan three rows back!  The fans are going insane and you are happy but disappointed at not catching the baseball.

An attendant comes down to the Reds fan and asks her if she wants to have the baseball authenticated and of course she says yes even though she is not happy!

As you are leaving the stadium your buddies are giving you some verbal abuse for missing the ball hit right to your glove! They are laughing and poking fun and you half halfheartedly go along with the torment.

The game winning hit is broadcast on the local and nationwide sport stations for all viewers to see you missing the ball and your long face. The TV screen will show you over and over with the look on you face and your friends laughing hysterically at your failure!

Now we are going to get serious and discuss what can happen next with the home run baseball. The attendant will lead the fan to the authentication area on this level of the stadium. This is where the fan will meet the team employee that is trained to authenticate the baseball. The procedure will normally be done very fast because the game is usually still in progress.

The authentication will have a circular label that will go on the baseball. The label will have a serial number, Cardinals logo, date and the hitter’s name. The fan will also receive a certificate with the date, hitter, pitcher, count, inning, and the score at the time of the homer. There will also be a photo taken with the fan holding the ball and certificate. The fan will also inform the authenticator where he is from.

The team could also invite the fan and his party down to a designated area after the game to have the player autograph the ball in person. There could also be pictures taken. This would be some terrific publicity for the home team.

A sponsor can be involved and give the baseball recipient a gift certificate for their restaurant or another business. The restaurant could find a place to put the picture of the fan in their place of business, maybe close to the register.

When a home run is hit during the game it can be announced in between innings who the lucky fan was and where they are from. The field announcer can lead off with the sponsor’s name and then come in with the fan information. This will also be done on the TV and radio broadcast.

The team can charge the sponsor for advertising per home run. I would put on the big screen once a week all the winners and where they are from. The announcers would also do the same on the air.

There can be a drawing once a month for a fan to win two free baseball tickets to a future game! The drawing will be coming from the fans that are in the home run baseball promotion.

There can be a contest in November to see who will win a trip to spring training. This will take all of your home run winners to be involved. They will do a two minute or less video about why they should win the trip to spring training. The fans of the team can go online and vote for their favorite video. This is a good project to have a travel agency involved to handle the details.

This is a terrific promotion that could be put in place for a long time!  

Bob Brown

Big Dog Baseball USA is an organization dedicated to teaching, discussing, and interacting with baseball fans all across America. Our goal is to teach, explain and promote the game to the masses!

Big Dog Baseball USA will have former Major and Minor League Baseball Players as contributing writers. We are looking for players that are in business for themselves, contractors, or to write for a cause.

One person can make a difference but when you get many pulling in the same direction it can create a tidal wave of success!

 

 

Baseball Individual Goals or only Team Goals?

This is a follow up on an article titled “Baseball a Team or an Individual Sport” I had a little disagreement from a former MLB player on this issue a while back. We discussed the game numerous times on emails and also a couple of phone conversations. The conversation was going very well and I was excited to have this gentleman in agreement on how to improve the game. Then I sent him the article Is Baseball a Team or Individual Sport?  This did not sit very well with him at all as I think he had the opinion that I love selfish players. This is so far from the truth and I will explain my view and would love to see a lot of comments.

I love the challenge of giving players individual attention and to set the bar high, but attainable. Coaches, parents and teachers need to bring out the rugged take charge attitude and to expect the most from players and students! We want the players when they are on the diamond to say hit the ball to me, because they feel they are the best. They have the confidence because they have taken 100s of ground balls, because of working in small groups or individual drills.

Our players understand with the with a runner on second base and no outs, our hitter will know that he has to hit the ball to the right side, so at minimum he moves the runner over.  They will do all they can to try to get a hit to the right side. Our players will work hard in practice to do this correctly. This needs to be worked on at practice, and will be discussed in a later article.

What needs to be pounded into each player is they have to work hard to be the best individual player they can possibly be on the diamond. Our players will get there with individual drills, praise, and setting goals. They need to have the confidence that they are the best at their position and can go as far as their ability will take them. That is what a good coach does he sets goals for and challenges each player to be the best that he can be in life and on the diamond! When the individual player feels good about his ability, this helps the team to reach their team goals!

We are going to be pounding in education for our players as they are playing the game. Teachers have to push the average student to reach for higher goals and to work the C student to get the B or above grades! Coaches are like teachers you need to work players as individuals to bring the most out of them. We are responsible to our players to explain the importance of getting their education. Here is an article I wrote on this subject – Education for our Athletes

One of our goals is to improve the coaching at all levels, and I feel we are getting some very good people on our team. We do need to have everybody on the same page on this subject. Big Dog Baseball USA is going to make a difference in how the game is played and how it is taught at all levels.

We are going to discuss the youth levels and what needs to be done to prepare the players for the high school level. I have some connections that will be checked out on teaching coaches and them earning certificates for completion of their programs. Here is an article on coaching youth baseball. Great Information on Coaching Youth Baseball

It is important for the coach to find the best positions for the players to succeed at this level and also at the high school level. Every player should be able to play at minimum of 2-3 different positions.

The coach needs to pound into the individual player the importance of him to be the best player he can be on the diamond. For example if you have a stud shortstop and the team is taking infield practice, he needs to be pushed. Yell out to him and say you have a chance to be a very good shortstop at the next level and maybe all state! Push him to get the ball in the hole and gun the runner out at first! Get excited and say that is the way you play the game! If he has a problem going up the middle, you work him hard as an individual and give him confidence he will improve.

The catcher is working on drills throwing out the runner trying to steal second base. You explain to him when he is behind the plate he has to want the runner to try to run. He dreams about gunning the runner out at second base! You pound this into him that he has to want it! This is individual work on the ball diamond.

Then we proceed to the ball being thrown to second base. The shortstop or second baseman will be receiving the ball. This is individual talent and has to be practiced. I worked all my players on a drill of receiving the ball in the dirt and making a quick snap tag. This was always done after they got their arms warmed up. I would also take my infielders to second base and would stand close to the mound and bounce the ball and they would be expected to catch the ball and make the snap tag. There is a natural tendency on these drills to start the glove low and go up with the bounce and then come back down to make the tag. This is not the way it is done, they need to start high and come down for the ball and make the tag all in one motion. My players were 12-14 years old and were very good at this, because of individual drills. Push them and when they succeed give a lot of praise, laugh and have fun with them.

My first baseman Brett was excellent at scooping the ball out of the dirt, because I gave him a lot of individual work on getting the ball out of the dirt. I would throw him the ball in the dirt from close to the mound and challenge him! This one time he was smiling as I was throwing the ball like a bullet and he was coming up with the ball like a MLB player.  I was smiling and acting like I was getting mad because I couldn’t beat him! This is pushing the player as an individual.

A good coach needs to push each individual player to be the best he can be on the diamond and with this he is helping the team to win. My goal at the youth level was player development for the next levels and for my players to want to win as a team. I coached to win but wanted to teach the players the proper individual and team fundamentals to be good players.

Here is an example, we were in the field and there was shot to third and RP dove and fielded the ball cleanly and made a low throw in the dirt to Brett at first and the runner was called safe. The runner was probably out, my coaches gave the ump some grief and I said I had no problem with the play because our guys made a great play!

The high school level is the same as the youth except you pound into certain players their potential to play at higher levels. In the cage and batting practice you push the players to use the whole field if they want to play at the next level. The coach is constantly on the players to do their best to be all state and say they have potential to play at the next level or above. Push them and you need to hustle, teach and be enthusiastic. Article on high school coaching-Coaching High School Baseball/  Article on hitting program: The Best Hitting Program in America

When you sell the players on the importance of individual drills and the importance of being the best player they can be to help the team win, you have succeeded!

A good coach has individual meetings with his players before the season starts to discuss the player’s potential and what it means to be a team player. You are going face to face with the player and you will say Jeff you are a very good hitter and I want you to shoot for a 400 batting average this year and gun out more than half the runners trying to steal! Mention that he has a high ceiling and has potential to move up to higher levels. It is all up to you how far you can go in baseball. Be firm and enthusiastic in your conversation with all your players. You do the same with all your players and discuss their role, individual potential, and how important it is to be a good teammate and play for the team.

College level is the same as the above but you discuss with the individual player about his ability to play at the professional level and to be an All American or All Big Twelve! Set the individual goals for the player to strive for in the current season. The coach will say to the player that he will do whatever he can to get him ready for the pro game, but he will still need to play as a team. This will be stressed to the player to play as a team, if he doesn’t he will be taken to the wood shed!  Short article on college coaching-Coaching College Baseball/

The professional is next and I will discuss a couple of situations that occurred late in the Cardinal regular season.

The second to last day of the season Matt Holiday got a hit to reach 300 for the season and I think he hit one more time and walked, and was taken out of the game. Then he didn’t play the last game in order to secure his 300 batting average. I had no problem with this because each player needs to set his individual goals at all levels!

Matt Carpenter was sitting on 199 hits for the season and everybody was pulling for him to reach 200 hits! What is so bad about a player wanting to reach 200 HITS in a season? I think it is an individual ambition for a player to do his best to reach 200 hits within the team goal. I think he had 3 games to reach 200 hits and could not get another hit, Cardinal fans weren’t happy and I am sure Matt wasn’t jumping for joy! Watch how the Cardinals play as a team, but with a lot of individual goals and hard work!  Here is the previous article-Is Baseball a Team or Individual Sport?

Big Dog Baseball USA and our baseball family will make a difference in the game on the diamond and also to promote the game to the masses!

Here is some good information – Big Dog Baseball USA Words of Wisdom- Words of Wisdom/

Thanks

Bob Brown

Big Dog Baseball USA is an organization dedicated to teaching, discussing, and interacting with baseball fans all across America. Our goal is to teach, explain and promote the game to the masses!

Big Dog Baseball USA will have former Major and Minor League Baseball Players as contributing writers. We are looking for players that are in business for themselves, contractors, or to write for a cause.

One person can make a difference but when you get many pulling in the same direction it can create a tidal wave of success!

Baseball a Team or an Individual Sport

I am a firm believer in team sports that there is a need to stress individual talents. I saw an interview with Stan Musial after he hit his 3,000 against the Cubs on May 13, 1958.  Stan was asked what he wanted to do next, and his reply was he wanted to finish his career as the all time hits leader for the national league.

I heard people say that Pete Rose knew exactly what his batting average was at all times. Before and after a hit he knew where he stood with his stats. He stated that he always wanted to see his name in the paper everyday among leading hitters. In them days he would have to be in the top ten in the league on batting average. He also had a goal to be the first singles hitter to make a $100, 000.00 a year and he succeeded!

Years ago an announcer would ask the hard hitting third baseman what he wanted to accomplish this year. His response would be something like I want to hit 30 home runs, 100 runs batted in, and to hit 300. This was typical for players to strive for their goals for the season. I am sure that when they reached these goals they would not all of a sudden quit trying for the rest of the year.  If they saw they were falling short, it is all the more reason push harder. That is not to say they shouldn’t be pushing hard every day. But MLB players are no different than the rest of us, they will have their good days and they also have some bad days.

I think it is very important to set your individual goals high and attainable. A good example is a hitter that is a career 275-280 hitter; he needs to set his goal to reach the 300 mark! Make this simple just one more hit a week and what do you need to do to reach your goal. This needs to be in the back of your mind.

This can just take some extra and smart work.  Get in the cage and work on a weakness, if it is bunting get to work. Here is some good information on how to improve your bunting skills.  http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/07/hitting-and-fielding-coach-for-pitchers/ If you are pulling the ball and not using the whole field go to our hitting program.  http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/the-best-hitting-program-in-america-3/  The most important thing to remember is there always needs to be a purpose when you are working on your hitting! Don’t ever go into the cage or hitting practice without a plan.

A base stealer needs to set his goals before the season starts and he needs to make sure that he is prepared to succeed. This may mean just doing the extra wind sprints or working on your jump. Push yourself to be quicker and have that explosion.

A goal for our pitchers is to hit 250 and that is why I would love to see a hitting coach just for the MLB pitchers.  Here is some good information to help the pitchers to hit in the major leagues.  http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/07/hitting-and-fielding-coach-for-pitchers/

A starting pitcher should start his season out by saying he wants to win so many games 15-20 whatever is a good goal for this particular pitcher. He needs to also set goals of complete games and innings per start.

Baseball is an individual sport played as a team.  Check out these 2 links. http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/baseball-is-an-individual-sport-played-as-a-team-2/

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/drill-drilldrill/

When I was coaching I would look at my players and say Brett I want you to be the best first baseman. Jeff you are going to be the best catcher and on offense I would push them individually to succeed!

Now what you don’t need is a selfish player that is totally consumed with himself. This is the guy that will not hit his cut off or relay man, and has no desire to play as a team.  The player needs to give 100% percent on sacrifices and hitting behind the runner to move him up a base. You don’t want to be known as a selfish player that only thinks of his own personal stats.

The game today is totally different if you ask a player what his goals are, they will only state team goals. We want to win our division and whatever contribution I can make is just fine. I see nothing wrong with a player stating that he has a goal to hit 300 and drive in 120 runs. A base stealer should be able to say he wants to pilfer 50 bases in a season.

How does a player get paid in the major leagues? He gets paid for what he does as an individual player. If the players is a star, he will be paid more that the utility player. This is only right and the money is an incentive for the player to do his best. I think Jim Leyland said I will take all of my players in the last year of their contract and we will win the World Series. Money talks and how do the players make more money, by individual stats.

My reason for writing this article is to stress at all levels more individual coaching. Small groups and keep the players moving and active at all times. Push individually for each player to be the best they can be. I have seen high school practices last 3- 4 hours and nothing being accomplished.  They are running scrimmages and standing around, and the players become bored.

If you are pushing your shortstop during infield practice, say to him, I want you to work to be All State! Each player has their strength and weakness and it is up to the coach to know how to push the player to be the best he can be!  The second baseman may be a glove man and you may push him to work extra hard on his fielding. If he needs to work on his hitting, give him extra individual work. High individual goals that are attainable and with a large coaching staff to help each player, is very important.

The MLB level tell your stud player he needs to work his rear off so he can be an MVP candidate!  Look at the pitchers that are capable and say you have the ability to win 20 games and our staff is here to help you reach your goals. High individual goals and coaches that will work as hard as the players is the Goal of Big Dog Baseball USA!

Coaching Articles for Amateur Baseball– http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/great-information-on-coaching-youth-baseball-3/

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/coaching-high-school-baseball/

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/coaching-college-baseball/

http://baseballcommentary.com/category/words-of-wisdom/

Bob Brown

Big Dog Baseball USA is an organization dedicated to teaching, discussing, and interacting with baseball fans all across America. Our goal is to teach, explain and promote the game to the masses!

Big Dog Baseball USA will have former Major and Minor League Baseball Players as contributing writers. We are looking for players that are in business for themselves, contractors, or to write for a cause.

Cardinals Implosion and what to do next

The first thing that Cardinal fans have to do is to take a deep breath. The 6 game losing streak is not good, but the situation with Yadi is of the most concern. I have made a couple of comments about the handling of Molina by Matheny on a couple of Bernies columns in today’s post.  I also have the comments on my face book page.

I am going to explain what I would do if I was Matheny. If you have read my articles on my website you will see that I am very creative.

What Mike should have done after yesterdays DH sweep by the Pirates was to tell the guys to go home and relax. They need to get a good night’s rest and be ready to play some Cardinal baseball on Wednesday.

It is important for Mike to appear calm and to keep the players relaxed and focused on what they need to do in the game. The players need to prepare as if this is just a regular game and to forget what has happened the last few days.

After the game on Wednesday he needs to call a pre game meeting for Thursday. He needs to take charge and let the guys know they are a lot better baseball players than how they have been playing  in the last few games.  He needs to look at them and say we are all going to work our rears off at practice to get our game where it should be. Mike needs to also stress all the positives and compliment them on how happy he is with their play up until this little detour! At the end of the meeting he tells them to be prepared to work tomorrow.

Personal note – When I was in the dirt if we had a game that we didn’t field well, guess what we worked hard at in practice? It is the same with hitting and the other parts of the game. I loved practice more than the game, that is where the real players shine in preparation. Here are a couple of articles that can make a difference in the way the game is played in the major leagues. I talked to Joe Garagiola Jr.  in the MLB office a couple of years ago and he told me most MLB teams don’t take infield practice before games. Check out this article on this subject-http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/mlb-needs-to-start-taking-infield-practice/  This article is about how MLB needs to improve the way they take pregame batting practice.-    http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/mlb-pregame-batting-practice/

I found out the Cardinals do not have a good old fashion infield practice the coaches just hit grounders while the hitters are hacking away! I wish they could have seen how I ran my infield practice; the players just loved it and enjoyed the challenge. You push and repeat, repeat and repeat some more. I have refined the infield practice to get the players more work. You can never get too many ground balls.  This is how you get in the groove in baseball.

Here is some input on what to do with certain players and how to get them back in the groove. Craig needs to get into the cage and relax and concentrate on hitting the ball to the right side. Holiday is close to breaking out and that is exactly what he is doing, pounding the ball to the right side. When you concentrate on hitting the ball to the opposite field in the cage and on the field, it makes you stay on the ball longer. This is what should be done with Jay, hit the ball to left field. His past says he is a slap hitter that uses the whole field.  Kozma is just missing the ball and would benefit by using the beans or small ball procedure in my hitting program. My players always said that after using the beans or the small balls that it made the baseball look larger. http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/the-best-hitting-program-in-america-3/

There are two problems that I see in the future and one is not having a strong #2 in the rotation. We need to hope that Lynn and or Miller will step up and be that person. The other is the Yadi situation, he is irreplaceable.

Mike needs to be optimistic and push the guys to be the best they can be. There is so much in between the ears, even at this level of play.

Bob Brown

Nolan Ryan’s Crusade

This is an article by Albert Chen from SI Vault. There is information from one of my future writers Alan Jaeger. I am a huge fan of Nolan Ryan and think his ideas on pitching are very strong. Nolan really cuts to the skinny in this article from 5-24-2010, I think this is important for the game to push the pitchers to go longer as starters.

Bob

Hitting and Fielding Coach for Pitchers

This discussion will be about hitting and fielding coaches for professional pitchers. Big Dog Baseball USA will improve the game with a lot of different ideas, from youth to the big show! This is one of my ideas that I would love to have some comments.

The pitching coach at the professional level has the responsibility of teaching the pitchers how to get hitters out. I will be concentrating on the hitting and fielding part of the game. Most pitchers at one time were probably good hitters at some time in their career. I bet the majority played two positions in high school and were probably good at both.

College baseball and the minors most or all run the DH in all of their leagues. So by the time a pitcher is at the MLB level he hasn’t hit since high school.

The major league level has expanded the number of coaches that are allowed in the dugout to a total of seven. Up until this year the extra hitting coach could not be in the dugout. I have been a supporter of two hitting coaches and really like to have one that was a left handed hitter.

The problem with MLB is they do all of their drilling in spring training. They on the most part do not practice the pitcher covering first base or pick offs during the season. Heck most don’t even take infield practice, this really bothers me. Here is a past article-http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/mlb-needs-to-start-taking-infield-practice/

This coach is very important to the organization and should not to be taken lightly. He will be in charge of these pitching coaches all through the organization and makes sure everybody is on the same page.  I would have one of these special coaches for two teams at the minor league level, and they all report to the head man of the program at the major league level.

The Major League level there is a lot of work that needs to get done. From what I have read is the Cardinals do more with the pitchers on this subject than most of the other teams. The pitchers have some friendly competition and some humor.

The pitchers do a lot of long distance running, I would do short sprints that will build cardiovascular and save time. Baseball is a game of relaxed concentration and explosion.

My pitchers would be the best bunters on the team. How is this done, repeat, repeat and repeat some more. This is after they learn the proper way lay one down. There will be a lot of cage work and different levels that have to be successful then move to the next.

  1. Soft toss from the front, bunter concentrates on first base line and success on ten pitches. I would do about three, three and three- outer half low, waist and up in zone. Do the same for the inside half. This is like my hitting program, you can’t move to the next level   until you have success.  This has to be aced and then do the same to the third base side.
  2. Same procedure but challenge the bunter with more velocity on your tosses.
  3. Move the screen back and throw over handed and do the same procedure. Do not challenge with more velocity until the bunter is successful. Once this is accomplished then start to change speeds.
  4.  Now is the time to go to the full pitching distance and have the pitcher throw at 80% velocity and then when the bunter is doing well throw in some breaking balls. The pitching can be part of the pitchers throwing program or this can be done by the hired batting practice pitchers.
  5. The bunting is completed and it is now time to hit. Here is the link that needs to be followed. http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/the-best-hitting-program-in-america-3/
  6. The pitcher has graduated and is now ready to do some hitting on the field. They need to let the position hitters get their repetitions and try to squeeze in some bunting and hitting of their own.
  7. This will all take some time in the spring but once this work is done, you can do a maintenance program to stay sharp.

We can now add the fake bunt and hit away. This can be practiced and is a good weapon during a game. The infield is moving to defense a bunt and the hitter fakes a bunt and then swings away. Some of my position players will learn how to do this and some of the following information correctly. Why not do this with nobody on base, keep the defense thinking and moving.

The pitchers should all know how to shorten up and to place a ball to the right side. I have seen managers when there is a runner on second base and no out, always have the hitter bunting. This drives me crazy; you don’t want the opposition to know that you will do the same strategy all the time.

On a bunt play with a runner on first the shortstop will go to cover second base, there is a hole that is created, work your hitters on hitting grounders to the vacated area. The same can be said for the area vacated by the second baseman.

The coach needs to pound into the players to hit the ball on the ground in some game situations. The hitter can shorten up and the hit and run can be put on. A good manager will keep the defense guessing.

In the past a pitcher would throw the pitch up in the zone if he figures the batter will be bunting. This pitch is more difficult to bunt, I don’t see this done much in today’s game. If this is being done then you can fake and hit away, it could be a real hittable pitch.

There is a need to practice fielding with the pitchers and this can be just doing pickups. This should be done every day, if just ten grounders for each pitcher. There needs to be time for fielding practice, bunt plays, grounders, covering first base, and turning the double play. This has to be done during the season and not just in spring training. I think this can be improved at all levels and needs to be drilled at a young age.

Bob Brown

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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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