In the last week I witnessed a pitcher in college, a pitcher in high school, and then, a pitcher in the majors lose focus, and sadly, lose the game. As the Daily Intelligencer said in 1985, “[Baseball] is not rocket science and it’s not brain surgery…”
The game of baseball is about outs [e.g. 21 for a 7 inning game and 27 for a 9 inning game] and if you score one more run than the other team, “YOU WIN!” Nothing more nothing less, UNLESS, you add in emotion! There I said it.
All three games were in the last inning and all teams in the field were ahead. Two of the three teams lead the whole way, while the one team took the lead the previous inning. In theory, all three teams should have won [operative words – should have] yet all three teams lost because of the same reason. The pitcher emotionally decided to do more; he decided it is his job to win the game all by himself. Unfortunately thinking this way causes pitchers to over pitch, to over think, and in most cases, lose.
Take a deep breath, and realize the last inning is no different than the first inning; translation, pitch the same way. ” Recognize their objective, pitch to each respective hitter’s weakness, hit your spots, and pitch to a situation [e.g. throw inside if the other team has runners on second and third]. It’s either convenient or inconvenient amnesia, but because the game was on the line each pitcher seemed to view their job as striking everyone out versus realizing his job was much simpler than that; Help “his team” get three outs. It’s not about fooling the hitter, throwing off-speed versus fastballs, or getting into the, “since this is his 3rd time seeing me he probably is thinking I am going to throw a fastball, so I am going to…,”STOP! Throw the grounder, throw the fly ball, and if it happens, accept the strikeout.
It really is this simple, yet in all three games they were over thinking versus “thinking without thinking. Do your job; Pitch!
Until next Blog,