Pitching is such a vital part of the game, as far as winning is concerned.

On most teams the set up man has become more valuable, on others not so valuable.

Something to keep in mind — it’s raining lightly. The infield could be very wet on ground balls.

What is a drop and drive pitcher? He is a guy who drops and drives. Very simple.

So by guessing right you might have guessed wrong.

Giambi walks too much. He’s always clogging up the bases with all that walking.

As a new day begins in New York, the sun sets in Hawaii.

If football is a game of inches then baseball is a game of inch.

If that ball had more elevation, it would have been a home run.

If the double play is a pitcher’s best friend, what is a fielder’s choice? An acquaintance?

It’s better to have a fast runner on base than a slow one.

One thing about ground balls. They don’t go out of the ball park.

The reason we call that pitch up and in is because the arms are attached to the shoulder.

He wears his hat like a left hander!

Any ball that goes down is much heavier than any ball that stays on the same plane.

The blood on his sock looks exactly like Oklahoma!

You don’t want to use too many statistics. The ones that apply to a July or August game won’t be relevant on Saturday.

American McCarver

February 2012 Archives

Acquitted, Not Exonerated [Link]

Mike Lupica:

He wasn’t exonerated. He was acquitted. There’s a difference.

So Braun of the Brewers becomes the first positive test to win this kind of appeal in baseball. So he goes on with his career now, and his huge contract, no suspension, because a triple-sealed sample, one that no one ever suggested had been tampered with, didn’t make the last FedEx shipment on a weekend, didn’t go out until Monday morning.


Pitcher and Catcher

Hats off to George Washington and Abe Lincoln, but today’s real national holiday was Pitchers and Catchers Day. But I’m not all smiles this year. It’s been a long time — we’re talking Bill Clinton still in his first term — since last you could say “pitchers and catchers reported to spring training” and have that not include two great players: catcher Jorge Posada of the Yankees, and pitcher Tim Wakefield of the Red Sox.

That’s right, I said Wakefield, a Red Sock (is that what you call one of those jerks in the singular?) was great. I’m feeling magnanimous.

The way I see it is this. He was a class act, a good guy, and a competitor who never shied from taking the mound in the clutch. His stats aren’t great, but no Yankee fan liked seeing Wakefield on the mound. Yeah, yeah, Wakefield’s the guy who gave up that home run to Aaron Boone. But more often than not, Wakefield did good work in tight spots. And if you want numbers, let me give you these two:

  • 0: number of World Series championships the Red Sox won during the 77 years preceding Wakefield joining the squad in 1995.

  • 2: number of World Series championships the Red Sox won during Wakefield’s career.

I’m not saying Wakefield was the linchpin of the 2004 and 2007 teams. But he was there, right in the thick of it, and year in and year out he was a dependable part of the Boston rotation. And before he got there, the Red Sox were dependable in only one way: they’d figure out a way to lose. Wakefield wasn’t like that. He always looked to me like a guy who expected to win.

Wakefield’s two championship rings are a few less than Posada’s five, but that’s still two more rings than all the Red Sox from 1912-2004 combined. I can’t help but suspect that many Red Sox fans have the same begrudging respect for Posada that I do for Wakefield. They’re both How can you not like the guy? guys. How can you not love a knuckleballer? How can you not love a hitter who never wore batting gloves, no matter how wet or cold the weather?

Their careers more than just coincided; they were intertwined, right up until the end:

(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

pitchers, catchers and the hope of spring

It’s February. There’s a light frost on the ground and a promise of snow this weekend. Some of my neighbors still have their Christmas lights up. Yet I wake up this morning with my thoughts on baseball, as if spring has already arrived.

The phrase “pitchers and catchers” has a way of confusing my brain into thinking winter is over. Even though the National Hockey League season is at its halfway point the first sign of spring training pushes me into baseball mode. It means it’s not too early to start thinking about opening day, about warmer days and longer nights and the hope that your team’s season will last well into October.

The arrival of pitchers and catchers sets off sonic, tactile memories; smells, sights and sounds that are entwined with both spring and baseball, memories that come from having spent more than 40 years (I won’t say how many more than 40) as a fan of the sport. They are memories I store in a small compartment in my head and at the first mention of spring training that compartment bursts open and it’s all there: the powdery feel of the gum in a new pack of baseball cards; warm spring breezes that smell like lilacs; Bob Sheppard’s voice reverberating in my head (for some reason, he’s always announcing Don Mattingly’s name in these memories), the sound of the television in my parents’ backyard echoing the call of a game into the neighborhood; the slow motion cadence of the game itself, signifying the laid back nights of summer.

Baseball season brings hope like no other. It’s a long season. Anything can happen. At least that’s what you tell yourself when your team starts off slow. April. May. June. So much time ahead of us and all that time is spent under the cover of warm weather and days free of snow and biting wind. Baseball season brings a freedom from the darkness of winter. It brings summer vacation and the promise of freedom and picnics and beach days. How can you not have hope when with the baseball season comes the release from winter’s grip?

Sure, it’s only February. There might still be snow ahead of us (heck, it snowed on Yankees opening day one year) and early darkness and the drudgery of sloshing through the rest of winter. But the mind works in mysterious ways. When I hear the words “pitchers and catchers” the fog of winter breaks and I’m ready to throw myself into baseball season. I want to hear the crack of the bat and yea, even Tim McCarver’s voice. I want to watch Gruber and Monteiro go at it on twitter. I’m anxious to hear my father’s taunts about the Yankees and give him back my good natured jabs about the Mets. I want it to be spring already, with warmer mornings and box scores and hot dogs and peanuts and Cracker Jacks.

In the season of pitchers and catchers, hope feels eternal. Spring feels like it’s already here.

Play ball.


Superb Owl

Apparently, there was some sort of football game today. The more obscure sports sites covered it, if you care about that sort of thing. There was one funny play where a guy fell on his butt!

In actual news, pitchers and catchers report in two weeks.


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