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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Little League Baseball-Framing a ptich. Stop it!

             There has been a lot of discussion at the Little League World Series about what a great job the catchers are doing framing the ball. What disturbs me the most is that David Ross has signed up with this foolishness, seeing he was a major league catcher. The more these guys talk the more I’m convinced they need to get behind the plate and see what’s going on. Because every time they open their mouths, I questions whether they ever played the game.
            As an umpire I knew what I was looking for and, trust me, it wasn’t where the catcher’s glove was in relationship to the pitch, it was where the ball crossed the plate in relationship to the batter. That’s it. Nothing more. However, if a pitcher’s game is on and he was painting the corners, the letters and the knees, believe me, he will get the call unless the catcher decides to frame the pitch.
            So, what exactly is framing the pitch? Simple, the catcher believes the pitch was a bit low or just off the plate, they will jerk the glove to a position where it appears the ball had crossed the plate in the strike zone. That is framing and trust me, umpires know exactly what the catcher is trying to do. And it doesn’t work.
            I had many catchers try that trick and not get the call. They would start grumbling and softly start complaining. My reply was simple. “If you wouldn’t have moved your glove, you might have gotten the call.” They would shake their head not believing what I’d just told them. From that point on, guess what they didn’t do? That’s right. If the pitch was close, they held the glove still making sure I got a good look at where the ball was and nine times out of ten, if the pitcher was on, he got that call.
            My point is this guys and gals, the minute you move your glove and try to frame the pitch, it’s going to be a ball. Don’t believe me, give it a try and see what happens.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Little League Baseball and throwing junk

            My greatest fear for a twelve-year old pitcher came to fruition last night. Who watched the Minnesota/Louisiana? The pitcher for Minnesota was doing what I have harped about for decades about young pitchers throwing junk. I believe his name is Law. He threw a curve ball and you could see by the grimace on his face, that his arm/elbow just crapped out. Well done coach Well done. It doesn’t help when the ESPN gurus, included David Ross, who I’m starting to waiver on as an announcer, hail the massive breaking balls and slider these kids are throwing. It’s not their kid out their throwing the dice on the mound. And then when it happens, they are speechless, as they should be. If the kids stick with fastballs and the occasional change-up this wouldn’t be happening. But no, they don’t want that. They want the that piece of plastic or bronze on the mantle that will only start collecting dust after ten years.
            I know what it’s like to feel the pain of the pitcher. When I was fourteen, I was diagnosed with tendonitis. It was so severe, I couldn’t hold a baseball for two weeks. Eventually it healed and I went back to the mound. But did it really heal. Six years later I would be reminded it hadn’t. I decided to try our for the OSU’s, Oklahoma State University, baseball team. I worked out all summer and found a good friend to catch for me. All summer long, no problems. Arm/elbow felt great. On the day of the tryout I hadn’t been warming up for more than five minutes and the pain I remembered at fourteen came back with vengeance. Needless to say, I was hammered on the mound. Hard to put anything on the ball when your elbow is on fire. Coach Ward wanted all the pitcher to come back in two days for another look. It would be two weeks, TWO WEEKS before the inflammation settled down. Nope, wasn’t able to go back.
            Over the years, I was still able to play catch with my kids, pick-up games and softball, but the damage had been done and I paid the price. Had I been throwing junk at thirteen and fourteen? Yes. Did anyone ever tell me not to No. Why? That is the question.
            Today, there is enough medical evidence out there that says, “Don’t’ do it.” And that is sound advice that shouldn’t be ignored. But it will be by most coaches thinking, “it won’t happen to my kid. I know how to teach him properly.” They say that right up to the moment they release a curve ball and you can hear a pop or watch the pitcher’s arm drop to his side while he grimaces in pain. Now what are you going to do? Tommy John surgery at 12?  Rotator cuff operation? Elbow reconstruction? Yeah, all of those seem like wonderful options for a youth pitcher. I think not. It’s insanity and should not be tolerated.
            One last point on this. I knew a kid in Tulsa who was drafted by the Phillies. His name was David Frammel. Top high school recruit for the majors. He’d thrown junk his whole life. Signed with the minors and in his first year, his arm blew out. You guessed it-Tommy John surgery. It didn’t take and he was in constant pain. He told me he was on the strongest narcotics of the day, in the early 90’s and was still in constant pain. He wished he’d never have thrown that junk growing up, but the damage was done. Is this how you want you kid to turn out? If you answered yes, you have no business coaching youth baseball!

Monday, August 19, 2019

What's wrong with baseball? #ESPN has a lot to do with it.

            The article is spot on but forgot one big outfit that is having an extremely negative effect on the game-ESPN. The company is packed with a bunch of dolts would could pour crap out of their boots with written instructions and a helping hand. Yeah, I’m also talking about A-Rod, Texeria and Smoltz. In their playing days we cannot deny how much they added to game, well at Smoltz. A-Rod embarrassed the game with his steroid battle and Texeria became nothing more than a hot dog. I remember when the Rangers traded him to Atlanta and the crap that came out of his mouth concerning the Ranger organization. It was appalling and now these nimrods are calling Little League games? Not what I’d call role models. Yes, I know Smoltz calls for FOX. At first he was good and then something bad happened, he got teamed up with Joe Buck and a bunch of pussy producers who don’t’ want toes to get stomped on. Obviously, none of them caught a spike in the foot playing the game and if they did, I’m sure they whined like a little baby. Too bad, it’s baseball and in its purest form, it’s a hard-nosed game. And then we have Tim Kurkijan, Jessica-please don’t talk-Mendoza, Josh Levin and Dave Raymond-Texas Rangers. They are nothing but a bunch of babbling bobbleheads that believe they are above the game and know more then those of us who have consistently watched and followed the sport. It’s these type of people who boohooed when Buster Posey and Chase Utley’s collisions Both were clean plays but here came the cry babies from the MLB channel and ESPN. “This is horrible. It should be outlawed. The player should be suspended. It was a dirty play.” Blah, blah, blah. But they didn’t shut up and spineless Selig caved over the pressure. But it was okay for him to go to the US Congress and ask for money. What a moron. There is the problem. Baseball doesn’t have a strong Commissioner. They have been infected with political correctness and saber-bullshit-metrics. This is where the problem has started and it’s only going to get worse.

            We need MEN with a backbone and a no frills attitude that will call a spade-a-spade as a commissioner, manager, player and announcer. The last announcer who did it was? Do you remember? Where did Tony Francona go after the Red Sox released him? Anyone? That’s right, FOX as an analyst with Joe-no brain-Buck. It was great. I wish, for the life of me, I could remember what Tony told Joe, but just before they broke for commercial, Joes said,

 “Tony, you can’t say that.”

Tony “I’ll say what I want to, Joe.”


            Sadly, for us TV fans FOX didn’t let him call anymore games yet I’m sure the Indians fans are elated since he has them on the cusp of another play-off run this year.

            Trust me, I’m almost done ranting.

            One of the biggest problems in baseball that NO ONE wants to address is pitching. Yes, strike-outs are up as are homeruns, but so are the injuries to pitchers. For over five years I tracked the IR report. Of, say 350 players before the start of the season, half were pitchers and the same held true after the All Start game. Why? Go watch a Little League, Junior High or High School game and you’ll see it like a sore thumb. The coaches don’t’ have a clue how to teach kids how to pitch. They only want the W on the board. That’s it. How they accomplish it doesn’t matter and its been going on for over twenty years.

            Sorry it I got a little off trach, so I’ll regress.

            If want the game to come back to what it is supposed to be, we’re going to have to start raising boys who will become men and just say, NO!