Chris Perez – 2008 Bowman

April 1, 2011

Hey, Marlee Matlin Isn’t In Their Dugout!

I sometimes don’t get this whole talking through the mitt thing.

To me, baseball isn’t like football where you game plan the game plan and the execute the game plan against their game plan and adjust to the game plan by game planning the adjustments.

In basketball, there are just a few basic plays, and once you know a team’s offense it’s about execution. And once you figure out a defense, then you execute the offense around the defense. (I know there are ‘genius’ coaches, yes, but the triangle offense, the Princeton offense, the motion offense, the run-and-gun offense are all basic, really.)

In hockey and soccer, it’s more free flowing but there are set pieces. But it’s basic – find the open man and put it in the net.

Baseball is see the ball, hit the ball, catch the ball.

Bull Durham aside, I bet you can tell major league hitters what pitch is coming, and if you put the pitch where YOU want it, it’s not going to matter much in the scheme of things. I’m not a big believer that stealing signs or knowing exactly what pitch is coming is anything but psychological. That can help, but a plus fastball located precisely where the pitcher wants it, or a well-thrown curve or slider is going to get you out. And for relief pitchers, it’s even more of a proposition of not what will be thrown, but where and at what speed.

How many pitches does Mariano Rivera throw? How many pitches did Trevor Hoffman or Doug Jones throw?

I remember in Ball Four when Jim Bouton was arguing with Sal Maglie about his knuckleball. Maglie always wanted Bouton to throw another pitch, but Bouton (rightly) wanted to just concentrate on the knuckleball. Of course, the discussion then went to how Maglie pitched one of his best known games, and he replied “97 snappers”.

Maglie threw 97 curveballs. So much for disguising what he was throwing. By about the third inning, I’m sure the other dugout was going “Maglie’s just throwing curves.” And it mattered not.

It’s not 100% about deception, it’s about execution. You just look like a dork with your mitt to your mouth.

Unless you’re spitting chaw into it to break it in.

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