Do you have any pet peeves with Baseball exerts, analysts, etc.? More probable, as with Mickey Mantle & myself, you have several. Well, it’s baseball season and the dog days of summer, so let me go ahead and get something off my chest.
When it comes to pitching and pitch selections… what once was predominantly a simple identification of fastball, breaking ball and change-up, with an occasional specialty pitch (knuckle ball, screw ball), has now evolved into a convoluted number of baseball grips which offer the baseball pundits with a multitude of variations to describe a major league pitchers repertoire. “Tommy Jones has a four seamer, a two seamer, a split finger, a “Rivera like Cutter”, a circle change, a wicked slider, an overhand, three quarter and sidearm curve ball, a knuckle curve and a knuckle ball which he throws with just the tip of his middle finger on the ball.”
Sure… I am tab older but do recall a Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle story circa 1961. Yogi identifies the art of calling pitches to Mickey prior to a game against the Detroit Tigers that Whitey is to start. Mantle has his own pet peeve on the topic of pitching and is adamant that calling pitches is a simple process. Berra takes offense and challenges Mickey to do so. As the story goes, Mantle proceeds to call the game from centerfield. He stands straight up when calling for a fastball and crouches over with hands on his knees for a breaking pitch………….that was it, just two positions. With Ford throwing a shutout into the 7th inning and the New York Yankees holding a 1-0 lead, Mantle relinquishes his role to Berra. (Micky got a little nervous and did not want to give up a Home Run or big hit. It was also important to the team to let Berra lead the pitching efforts)
Needless to say – are analyst getting to sophisticated with their description of various pitch types? At the end of the day can’t we describe a pitch as either a fastball, breaking ball or change-up? Heck Micky Mantle called almost an entire game by calling for just two pitches.