Friday, July 27, 2007

Pitch Count, Shmitch Count

I've played, followed, broadcast, p-a announced, and generally been a baseball junky since I can remember. A while back, don't really know when it started, the number of pitches that a pitcher makes in a game became important. The broadcasts follow it closely. The manager and pitching coach totally tuned in to it so they know when they can expect their pitcher to run out of gas. Even the pitcher's agent began using the number of pitches thrown as ammo against the team. "Hey my guy threw 120 pitches last night! What are you trying to do ruin his career?"

Well, if you've been around more than 40 years like me, you know that there was a time when the number of pitches thrown was either not important, or ignored. The number of guys a pitcher got out, and whether he won the game carried a little more importance than today's "quality start".

With that in mind, I've asked this question of some people that I respect who are close to the game and haven't gotten what I feel is a satisfactory explanation. So, I'll ask anyone who's reading this to respond to help out my feeble little brain.

Why don't they keep track of ALL the throws that a pitcher makes on a game night?

On any given night when a man pitches a baseball game he uses his pitching arm many more times than just the official offerings he makes to batters. Think about it. Before the game he needs to warm up. Let's, conservatively, say that he throws 30 pitches to get loose. Then, he goes to the mound before each inning and will usually throw another, at least 8, warm-up pitches. Then there are the pick-off moves to first base...or whatever other base...let's say he throws 10 of those during a seven-inning outing. That's another 96 uses of his arm during seven innings that aren't being least officially.

But, isn't keeping track of pitches all about how much wear and tear the guy is putting on his arm? If you're keeping track of wear and tear, shouldn't those other throws count too? I can't understand why not. I get it that warm-up pitches might be a little less stressful to the arm than a real "heat-of-the-battle" pitch in a game. But, to me, a pick-off throw should count for two pitches when it comes to arm damage. A pick-off throw is a totally foreign motion to his normal routine. A right-handed pitcher turns to first base and throws across his body. Exactly what you're not supposed to do to eliminate wear and tear during the regular pitching motion.

So, I guess if I were running a TV broadcast, or a pitching coach, I'd have two categories for pitches. A) Batter pitches and B) Non-batter pitches. Because when it comes right down to it, the number of pitches thrown to the batter is only a part of the real total.
For instance, after a 7-inning outing Chris Carpenter (who just had Tommy John surgery because of arm damage) might have this total.

Batter pitches: 102
Non-batter pitches: 96

If that's not important, then why bother keeping track of anything?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ay or Uh

-One local TV anchor has me bugged. This point naming names...starts every story that starts with the preposition "a" pronouncing it "ay". For instance...

"Ay St. Louis man was arrested today". or..."Ay construction crew closed Highway 40"...or "Ay Anheuser-Busch official"....Yes, I've even heard him/her use "ay" when word two starts with a vowel. Baffling.

Always "Ay"...never the more informal and conversational "uh". Is that some ridiculous way of making the story sound more like some sort of official TV presentation in this person's mind? As far as I can tell...this guy/gal is the only local anchor with this particular technique. I assume it's a technique. It just sounds so ridiculous to me. If he/her would stop "presenting" and start communicating on a personal level by reading the news as if he/she were sitting in our living room with us, maybe he/she would have better ratings. Hey buddy/lady, we want people to communicate with us...not at us. Hopefully, if you should happen to read this, you know who you are. If not, TiVo your own newscast sometime and get a clue.

One of my mentors...the great Bob Hardy...always said you should read the news as if you are telling each story to a group of friends...not as though you are making a speech at a political convention.

-The secret is finally out. Scott Rolen is once again dealing with pain in his bum shoulder. You had to figure that because of the way his bat was dragging through the strike zone. One has to wonder if he'll ever be able to return to his pre-injury productivity.

-Why in heaven's name would one find the need to promote dog fighting on one's own property when one has all the money and fame that comes with being the starting quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons? One must be really, really stupid.

-I give the David and Victoria Beckham frenzy about 3 months. But I must say, she's pretty cute.

Friday, July 13, 2007

HOLY CRAP!! Am I excited!

-The promoter has signed DAUGHTRY to perform at the August 7th concert at GCS Ballpark in Sauget.

Son Ian...(the Chris Daughtry look-alike) called me a little while ago thinking I had probably heard the news. He said..."Just checkin' to see if you're having a heart attack." I said..."Don't think so....about what?" Then he said he read about Daughtry being added on Grizzlies staffer Brent Pownall's MySpace page. Wow!!

Originally, the concert was supposed to be Third Eye Blind, Counting Crows and Collective Soul. Then Third Eye Blind was dropped from the show for some reason. Grizzlies GM Tony Funderburg (pic) and the promoter have been looking for a third act to add to the show to perk up ticket sales. And today... Wham-o! Now tickets will be hard to get. They'll pack the place. Daughtry has been on the road most of the late spring and summer. Quite a few of their shows recently have been in conjunction with Nickelback and Staind. But, wherever Chris and his new group have been...has been pretty much sold out.

I think Ian is even going to drive up from Kentucky for this one. We'll have to get him and Chris in front of a camera somehow. If that happens, I'll make sure plenty of pics get posted here.

Noggin Notes

-Things that currently have my interest---

-This whole Albert Pujols/Tony LaRussa thing from the All-Star game has a died-in-the-wool conspiracy theorist...intrigued. It was so obvious that Tony should have sent his guy Albert to the plate with a chance to hit a walk-off, game-winning home run on Tuesday night, that one has to think that something that's not being said had to be involved. I wonder if LaRussa doesn't have some hidden agenda to start paving his way out of St. Louis after the season. There are so many rumors swirling about Walt Jocketty and LaRussa not "re-upping" or taking other jobs after this season, that you wonder if Tony is managing with that in the back of his head. Not playing Albert, a man from his own team, on one of baseball's biggest stages seems to be unthinkable....unless you are trying to annoy fans into calling for your head. I don't know...just me conspiracy theorizing.

-I read in the paper this morning...(that's that thing that some of us over-50 folks still use to get our news)...that teen sex and teenage pregnancy rates are way down. Compared to numbers from 1991, it's a dramatic downturn in the numbers. Maybe teaching kids about condoms, acknowledging that they are capable of making smart decisions, and understanding that they will try to have sex one way or another is the way to go after all. Keeping anyone in the dark these days...especially about sex... seems to be stupid and futile. Maybe we're starting to get it on this front.

-I wrote in my last post about how the Gateway Grizzlies have the best record in professional baseball. Believe it or not, that probably will have a downside to it before long. Because Phil Warren's team is kicking so much tail, they will likely be in the spotlight of scouts and lose some players to affiliated teams before long. The Grizzlies play in the independent Frontier League which has funneled a number of players back into the minor-league systems of big league clubs. In fact, the Grizzlies currently have two former pitchers toiling in the affiliated minor leagues...Scott Patterson is with a Yankees AA team...and Christian Castorri is with an A-level team in the Pirates organization. We who enjoy these kids with the Grizzlies have to remember that their real dream is to make it to the majors... and some have. i.e. Jason Simontachi, Josh Kinney(pic)..and many more.

-There was a Major League Soccer game on ESPN2 last night. Because there was very little else on the satellite, I tried to watch the game for a little while. Sorry soccer fans, I fell asleep. I sure hope David Beckham brings something to the sport that I'm not seeing. I used to broadcast play-by-play of soccer when I was in college. But, I have to work way too hard at being a fan of pro soccer.

-Do not take this in any way to be non-supportive of our troops...but, what is our country's leadership accomplishing in Iraq? These are real people, who want to live just like everyone else, that are dying in bunches over there. Someone needs to explain to me how what we're doing is changing the world for the better. I'd be on board with the war, if it seemed like there was a clearly-identified enemy, and sound strategy to defeat it. It might be I'm missing something, but it just seems like our people are over there to make sure the battleground isn't in our own back yard. That just puts them in harms way without a winning strategy. Can you say Viet Nam?

-The Blues will be good this coming year. Barring key injuries, I expect them to return to being a playoff team. But the really exciting Blues teams will take the ice in this century's second decade...if the current ownership maintains the course.

Monday, July 09, 2007

I Had No Idea

...that so many people would identify with our plight after I wrote about the passing of our dear old girl Fergie. Of course, dog-lover Mike Anderson of mentioned my sadness and linked to this blog which sent many non-regular visitors here. Mike recently had a similar experience with his beloved Lucy.

As a result of the more public nature of that particular blog entry, I received several e-mails and phonecalls from people I had never met but who, nevertheless, attempted to console Barb and me. To those who did, and to those who might have identified and sympathized, I can never thank you enough. There are many more good-hearted people in this world than you might suspect based on the news of the day.

-At the All-Star break the Cardinals are an enigma. One could envision the World Champions folding up completely in the second half. But, it doesn't take much imagination to believe they could also still win their division with a return to regular health of some key players like Carpenter, Eckstein and Edmonds. Should they get any positive contribution from Mark Mulder, things could get even better. One thing I still expect is a much different look to this club next year. All the rumors about Walt Jockety and Tony LaRussa heading elsewhere may only be the tip of the iceberg.

-Every where I go people ask me how I feel about the coming hockey season after the Paul Kariya signing. I won't go so far as to say the Blues will be in the Stanley Cup finals like Manny Legace did on the radio the other day. But, I do think they'll make the playoffs and be competitive in them. That's more than we've been able to say with a straight face in some time.

-The Gateway Grizzlies are continuing to amaze me, and everyone else. They have just completed a sweep (and not just a sweep...but a thumping) of the Windy City Thunderbolts who, up until the Grizzlies came to visit them in Chicago-land, had the best record in professional any level. Now...without doing the proper research...I assume that title falls to rookie manager Phil Warren's outstanding Sauget-based bunch. At the Frontier League All-Star break, the Grizzlies have a record of 36-10. A .783 winning percentage...Wow! Seven Grizzlies players will be in the all-star game in Florence, KY Wednesday night. Then the, now humbled, Windy City team will visit GCS Ballpark Friday night to start the second half of the season. I'll bet they're looking forward to that.

-I haven't heard anybody say anything to me about attending, or enjoying, Fair St. Louis. Maybe I'm not hanging with the right crowd to get that kind of feedback...but it seems to be a much smaller blip on the entertainment screen these days. I think our area could do so much better. I'd like to see a music festival like the old Mississippi River Festival be re-established to bring in big-name acts like it did back in the day. I'd work to make that happen...but would need someone with money to have the same vision. I even know of a great place where a venue could be established to handle it. If someone is interested in talking about it from a financial standpoint, please give me a call.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Tribute to a Dear Friend

-There are many things in this world that I should be concerned about this day, but there is only one that I can think about....the passing of our dear old Springer Spaniel Fergie. Barb and I took "Fergs" to our longtime vet Dr. Mike Harres for the last time just after 9 o'clock this morning.

The only consolation we have is in the belief that she's better off now than she was yesterday. We knew the time was approaching where we would have to do something...she was losing control of herself and had been deaf for some time. Recently she had begun to lose her eyesight as well. But yesterday...oh yesterday...was hard for an animal lover to take.

We were watching the last episode of Band of Brothers in our home theater when Barb noticed something was not right. I looked down to see our dear family member in the midst of a seizure. We thought the end had come then. But, to our amazement, she recovered and seemed OK for the rest of the day. Try as we might, we couldn't connect with Dr. Harres on the Independence holiday. Then, during the night Fergie had another seizure. So, we pretty much knew that this morning's visit to the animal hospital was not going to be pleasant.

After discussing the situation with "the Doc", we all agreed that her condition was not going to improve. So we made the toughtest of decisions, and were with her as she drew her last breath.

If you've had a wonderful pet like Fergie, you understand how we feel now. We will remember the romping puppy we brought home in 1993. We will look to the places in the house she used to make herself comfortable, to find her not there. We'll remember the joy she took in helping us open presents on birthdays and on Christmas. The joyful face she displayed upon receiving a belly rub, back scratch, or Milk Bone will only be available in our memories. The smiling, happy greetings upon our returning home will be no more. Barb is preparing a special place in her garden for the ashes. I have an empty place in my heart.

Our pets bring so much joy to our lives...and yet so much pain when they leave. But leave they must.

Rest well Fergie. You are loved.

Monday, July 02, 2007


-Well...he got a little more than the original offer....and I'll be able to make my favorite player-name announcement again for another couple of years. Blues goal scored by number 7....Keith Tkaaaaaaaaa-chuuuuuuuuk. Woo Hoo!

-I also very much like the pick-up of Paul Kariya. He's one of those "player's players" that I think we will get to like very much in St. Louis. With the young guys coming on...and the veterans that we have...along with Andy Murray from the start of the should be fun being a hockey fan again.

-Philadelphia spent a pot of money on a bunch of guys...and so did the Rangers...but I still like the build-from-within approach the Blues are taking. It's going to take a little longer to become a Stanley Cup contender...but once we get should be something we can enjoy for several years.