Baker foreshadows, Spiezio sucks, secrets of pitching turn out to be obvious cliches
From Baker’s Blog:
To celebrate a sunny, gorgeous Sunday morning, I’ll answer some of the questions forwarded to me.
Yeah. I got up this morning and rode around Bainbridge Island in the rain. It was cold and miserable. Geoff Baker’s in Arizona, where it’s sunny and gorgeous. That must be nice. Rrrr.
Anyway, I wanted to point out one of his answers:
Q: Why are you trying to scare players away from Seattle by pointing out what could go wrong for the Mariners in 2007?
A: We in the media do not get paid to be cheerleaders. And it is very rare, in any baseball season, that something will go completely right for a team. The way these Mariners have been built, they need plenty to go right. […] A year ago, I took all types of flack from Toronto fans online for predicting the Blue Jays would win 85-88 games. When they won 87, no one wrote in to apologize. It’s part of the job. See it that way.
Uhhhhh, is Geoff Baker aware that he works for the Seattle Times? Is there going to be some unpleasantness later in the season when the team wants him to flog some crazy financial story, or slag a player ahead of a trade?
Because that would be awesome.
Larry Stone looks at the Cardinals as they approach this year.
This Scott Spiezio comment is priceless.
“Just because we won last year doesn’t mean jack squat for this year,” said Spiezio. “I think in 2003, we just didn’t have a game plan as a team. A lot of guys did the shows and autograph signings and things like that. Before you know it, the season was upon you, and a lot of guys weren’t ready. We got off to a slow start, and then I think we started panicking.”
Because if anyone knows what’s it like to show up unprepared and get off to a slow start, folks, it’s Scott Spiezio. Way to provide that veteran leadership there.
There’s also this awesome quote:
“I’ll spend quite a bit of time with my ring,” Wainwright mused dreamily. “I’m preparing myself. Maybe I’ll make a little bed for it.”
Larry Stone rocks. I didn’t make a big deal out of this yesterday, but consider this: Jim Moore’s in the Grapefruit League, hassling former Mariners when he’s not hashing out Mitch Album-style pablum. Larry Stone’s writing informative, insightful pieces about Snelling, the Cardinals, each time explaining the history, why things are or aren’t important, finding humor without pointing to it and yelling “look how funny I am”… Larry Stone rocks. It’s why he’s USS Mariner endorsed.
Mike Hargrove and pitching coach Rafael Chaves have solved pitching. No, really.
All Seattle pitchers arrived at the Peoria Sports Complex Sunday morning to find a new blue T-shirt hanging in their lockers.
The front reads ”Pitch to win.”
The back reads: Relentless: Work fast, work ahead, execute.”
You may be thinking “why doesn’t he just give everyone a picture of a kitten hanging off a branch with ‘Tenacious’ written on it?”
Because this T-shirt is the summary of… well,
Hargrove had Chaves work over the winter clarifying the most important facets of pitching. He got it down to 10, all of which were printed on a laminated card headlined ”The Mariners’ 10 absolutes of pitching.” The cards also were given to the pitchers Sunday.
The top three absolutes wound up on the back of the T-shirt.
Uh huh. Here’s the thing. Assume execute means “throw the called pitch in the intended location.” If pitchers could consistently throw strikes to get ahead in the count and hit their spots, they’d already be great. If they can’t, putting it on a T-shirt doesn’t help them. You can’t walk up to Jeff Weaver and yell “throw faster!” and then collect a manager of the year aware because he turns into Roger Clemens.
Anyway, it’s great to know that over the winter, Hargrove had his pitching coach writing out ten bromides for him. I bet Chaves acted like it was going to be the greatest task ever, and involve him traveling across the world and consulting the greatest minds in biomechanics, pitching gurus and athletic trainers, so unfortunately he wouldn’t be available to do anything else, and Hargrove said “that’s fine, just as long as you come to spring training with the list” and Chaves went home, laughed until he cried, wrote ten pitching cliches on a pizza box, and then re-copied the box the day onto a sheet of paper before he flew out to camp.