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Tag: bob klapisch

Losing Patience

Klap on Ivan Nova:

Ever since the second half of 2012, Nova says, “I’m just not repeating my delivery,” and now, according to PitchFx, he’s throwing 20 percent fewer strikes than in 2011.

Members of the organization say Nova has unconsciously dropped his arm slot to near three-quarters level. Other believe Nova’s front (left) shoulder is sabotaging his delivery, flying open too quickly, not unlike the flaw that ruined A.J. Burnett’s career in the Bronx.
Pick your theory, but the effect is the same. Chris Stewart said, “[Nova] was missing everywhere. I don’t think he had a feel for any of his pitches.”

Nova took no offense to such a harsh assessment. He’s the first to admit Stewart was right, and that sooner or later, the long, slow descent has to end.

[Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports]

Word to God

We’ve heard it before, but c’mon, Klap, tell us again.

[Drawing by Tim Souers]

Little Big Man

Nice piece on David Robertson by Bob Klapisch today:

How he destroys hitters is a secret that baseball technology is only beginning to understand, but Robertson was at his blow-away best against Kansas City. After getting Aviles to fly to center, Alcides Escobar and Chris Getz whiffed.

How? Because neither Royals hitter had a chance against Robertson’s 82-mph curveball.

Why? Because both hitters had been battered by the ferocity of Robertson’s fastball, which, although clocked at 93 to 94 mph, has the signature of a 97-mph heater.

That’s made possible by Robertson’s enormous push-off from the mound – a full 7 feet from the rubber, the most behind Tim Lincecum. Last month, Sports Illustrated profiled a Dutch company, Trackman, which extrapolates virtual speed from actual velocity and distance from the plate. Robertson can add as much as 4 mph to his fastball because he’s closer to the hitter than other pitchers. The average major league stride is 5 feet, 10 inches.

…That’s the beauty of his gift: Robertson doesn’t have to repeat any internal monologue to get his legs into gear. Instead, in times of stress, he thinks about the machinery of strikes-throwing, watching as hitters struggle to catch up to his heat, deciding when it’s time to unleash the killer curveball.

[Photo Credit: Post 34 Baseball]

Head Games

Over at PB, Jay Jaffe takes a look at concussions in sports, specifically in baseball. The piece picks up on a column that Bob Klapisch wrote last week on Jorge Posada. Sobering material, indeed.

[Photo Credit: PS70]

Winter Meetings Day One (Open Thread)

As the winter meetings begin, the Yanks have their sites set squarely on Cliff Lee. According to George King in the Post:

“My priority list is pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching — I’ve been focusing on pitching,” GM Brian Cashman said yesterday.

…”When you’re a free agent, we kind of have to dance to their dance card,” Cashman said. “I’ve kind of been reacting to them.

“I flew into Arkansas especially to meet with Cliff Lee and his wife and his agent. I did that very early in the process. I was the first one out of the gates there.

“So, everybody knows I got ahead of everybody else. But it’s their dance card. They’re setting the pace of this thing. I can only wait and respect the process they put themselves in. It took them a long time, they fought through a lot of different cities to get to this point. I’m hoping this will be the last city he ends up in, in New York.”

It will cost the Yanks plenty in dollars and years to secure Lee.

UPDATE: Hall of Fame disgrace continues as Marvin Miller comes up one vote shy. No shock there.

UPDATE: Really nice breakdown of the Adrian Gonzalez deal by Jay Jaffe.

UPDATE: Klap tweets that Andy Pettitte will likely retire.

Bad Hop = Bad Break for Klap

We all know about pitchers who can write: Pat Jordan, Jim Brosnan, Jim Bouton. But there are also a handful of writers who can pitch too. Historian Glenn Stout used to pitch in an over 30 league. Kevin Kerrane pitched semi-pro ball too. And veteran New York sports writer Bob Klapisch has been pitching since he was in college (he used to pitch against Ron Darling when he was at Columbia and Darling was at Yale). For the past couple of years I’ve been meaning to go watch Klap pitch in a game, thinking it would make for an interesting story.

Unfortunately, Klap’s playing career came to an abrupt end last week when he was struck in the right eye by a ground ball. In a recent e-mail, Klap explained what happened:

I was pitching Thursday night in Parsippany NJ for the Morris Mariners, one of the two semi-pro teams I play for. (Hackensack Troasts is the other). Batter hit a hard comebacker which took a wicked bounce over my glove. It was one of those old-fashioned configurations, with a bowling alley-like strip of dirt connected the pitching mound to home plate. So the ball was traveling on dirt, not grass, and must’ve hit a rock. It flew up towards my face, like a stone skipping on a lake. Caught me flush in the right eye.

Had to have emergency surgery that night. It was just my right eye that was damaged. I can do everything (read, write, play with the kids) with the left. The right suffered a partially detached retina, and damaged cornea, which will require a transplant. I also have multiple fractures which will require plastic surgery. The whole process starts on Monday when I go under for repair of the retina. After 3-6 months, the doctors say I’ll have my vision back. Worst case, 20/200, best case 20/50. It sure beats the alternative, which is what I’m experiencing now – a black curtain over the right side of my face. Very strange.

My baseball career is over, so my goal is to play catch in the backyard with my kids. I am determined to make that happen.

Man, talk about a bad break. What a humbling way for the universe to tell you it’s time to stop playing ball. Klap does seem to be taking it exceedingly well, however. And he’s one tough cookie.

Still, it must be a scary spot for him to be in. So here’s sending best wishes to Klap. Let’s hope that his surgeries are a success. Hang in there, Klap, you’re the man.

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