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Tag: david laurila

Cutter’s Way

Over at Fangraphs, David Laurila has a piece about Mariano Rivera:

”You need to use your brain to pitch effectively in the big leagues,” explained the future Hall of Famer. “You can’t go out there and do exactly what you want to do without a brain. As you get older, you mature and put your knowledge to work, It’s like when you go to school for the first time. In first grade, you’re not going to know what you know in the sixth or seventh grade. Pitching is just the same. If you don’t learn, you won’t have the success that you could have. I‘ve learned a lot over the years.”

Larry Rothschild, the Yankees’ pitching coach, agrees.

“Mariano is incredibly smart,” said Rothschild. “He’s also obviously incredibly gifted and has a great knack for trusting his ability. That’s why he attacks the strike zone like he does. He has a pitch that, if he throws it right, is going to get any hitter out, at any time. He knows that, and just as importantly, he knows how to pitch. There is the term, ‘he gets it,’ and Mariano gets it. Totally.”

[Painting by The Lost Collector]

Stubborn Calm

 

There’s a nice interview with Ken Singleton over at Fangraphs today (David Laurila asks the questions):

DL: Was on-base percentage underrated in your era?

KS: Most definitely. I think that nowadays — with the attention paid to OBP and OPS — people would have seen me in a different light. That said, I was fortunate enough to play for Earl Weaver, who, maybe before his time, knew what on-base percentage meant.

My first year in Baltimore, there really weren’t a lot of guys stealing bases. He called me into his office in spring training. I thought that maybe I was in trouble, but what he wanted to tell me was that I was going to lead off. I told him that I wasn’t capable of stealing many bases, and he said, “That’s not the idea. The whole idea is that you walk a lot, and Bobby Grich walks a lot, so you’ll bat first and he’ll bat second.” I set the Orioles record for walks that season [118] and it still stands. Bobby Grich walked 107 times that season.

My first at bat in the American League came in Tiger Stadium on a cold day. I drew a walk. I went to third on a base hit and scored on a three-run home run [by Lee May]. I scored our first run of the season. When I got back to the dugout, Earl Weaver looked at me and said, “That’s what I was talking about. Get on base.”

[Featured image via Corbis]

Doctoring Up the Chili

There is an appealing interview with Chili Davis over at Fangraphs:

DL: How prevalent was doctoring the ball in your era?

CD: It was big, very big. I played with Mike Krukow and he tried it — he didn’t cheat all year, but he tried it a couple of times. I remember him almost killing Manny Trillo with a fastball that he lost control of, because the ball just ran like crazy. Manny and Mike were good friends; they played together with the Cubs and Giants. From that day, he said, “I’m never going to do that again.” But, you know, you’ve got the Gaylord Perrys and guys that did stuff — wetting the ball up. That’s why they have that rule. You can’t go to your mouth on the mound. Guys with spitballs, and with sandpaper… there were catchers that would scuff for their pitchers and throw it out there.

DL: Did hitters accept that?

CD: It wasn’t accepted, but we knew it was there. It was sort of like 0-2 fastballs up and in, or if you tried to bunt on a guy, he’d knock you on your ass. Or, if you dig in the batter’s box, and you’re a young guy, all of a sudden you’re on your ass. It was part of the game. There were brawls and stuff, but it wasn’t because I got thrown up and in 0-2, or a guy hit me with a curveball. No, you got hit and you went to first. Nolan Ryan drilled me as a rookie, so I went to first. My way to get back at him? He didn’t have a good pickoff move, and I could run, so I stole second and third. Of course, I knew I was going to get drilled again next time up. You play the cat and mouse game. It’s who can intimidate whom.

As far as the scuffed ball, I don’t know what ever happened to it. I don’t see it anymore. But you don’t need one now. They’ve got cutters now. Sinker away, cutter in. That’s the equalizer. It’s like the split-finger back in my era; it became the pitch of the ‘80s or ‘90s. Now the cutter is the pitch of the millennium.

Good job by David Laurila.

 

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver