Stamina – the ability to endure, to keep going, to get a second maybe even a third wind.
Nolan Ryan once threw 235 pitches in a game for the then-California Angels. It was not all that long ago, 1974. That was early in his career, and he went on to pitch for 27 seasons. When he hung ‘em up at age 47, his average per game that year was 127 pitches, with a highest pitch count of 164.
His quote unquote secret? He did not overthrow, and he stayed in good shape.
Cy Young, after whom an iconic award is named which is given to the pitcher considered most accomplished that season in each league, won a staggering 511 games in a career that spanned over twenty years. Did the manager worry if he was up to 20 or more pitches in any given inning? Is anyone every going to win 300 games again? If so he better pitch into this 50s the way things are going…
My pitch: How about letting them play ball?
They’re still kids in many respects.
Let them pitch complete games. The heck with this bull pen, set up guy, analyze the numbers, metrics, pampering of the athletes. They come to play! And fans come to watch and enjoy and marvel…
Do you know that in 2016, Dave Roberts the popular Dodger manager, took out Rich Hill after he pitched 7 PERFECT innings, supposedly to rest Hill’s arm and his hand, which MIGHT blister? It is June 2019 just 3 years later. Hill is out for at least 4 weeks with a sore arm. You think Roberts could have let him continue trying to get the rare perfecto? I mean… are you kidding me? He took him out?
You know and I know: There are very few complete games anymore. But: Arms are strong. That’s why they call them ARMS!
True, baseball has evolved. So has my stomach; it’s a lot bigger than it used to be. Ok, I have to work on that. I have to reverse the trend… Baseball was pretty damn good the way it was, with 3 man rotations, and a trusty reliever, not an orchestrated script conducted by a guy who is not even on the field, who does not play, and who does not have to buy a ticket to be there. Fans count. The game can be tinkered with, and rightfully so. But, 100 pitches is about as far as most pitchers are allowed to go nowadays? Say what?!
With the advances in training, progress in medical treatments, a wealth of data and resources available to baseball teams and players alike, can’t we have some pitchers who stay in over the course of a game, if it is going well? Do we have to accept 5 man rotations? What’s next, a rest period after four innings? Multiple relief pitcher games?
One of the great feats in modern day post-season ball, Madison Bumgarner, the 2014 World Series. He pitched a ton. He was the MVP of the Series. He still looks pretty damn strong to me.
So, this is my pitch: Let ‘em play, which means, let ‘em pitch, which means keep him in the game unless he is falling apart. That’s what he’s paid for, and you are not a baby sitter, coach.
If you disagree with me, I just ask that you be nice about it. In turn, I promise not to plunk you.
YOU are aware that five man rotations have been around since the 1970’s?
As hitting has improved, park dimensions have shrunk, the ball has become more lively, the strike zone smaller and lower that encourages an uppercut swing, pitchers today face THE MOST explosive offensive era in history.
Why there isn’t an obsession with ERA+ instead of CG’sis truly mystifying. If you think for a moment that Roberts wouldn’t want to save his bullpen then you must have very little respect for his baseball acumen.
As for Roberts taking marching orders from people who never played the game….who says they didn’t? Earl Weaver and Joe McCarthy never played MLB, but no one doubts that they knew their shit, right?
Analysts provide info and a recommendation. The manager then manages his team, just as they always have. There is more info. That’s all.
Let the managers manage. Let it be a TEAM effort, because that IS what it takes these days.
All good points. I just long for letting em play ball, and if sometimes doesn’t seem like they let em do so.
Great article Ron. I’m in full agreement. What’s wrong with today’s training/conditioning staffs that prevents them from keeping their athletes stronger , more fit and with enough stamina to pitch 9 innings like pitchers used to pitch.
They need to let us manage!
WELL SAID Ron !!!!!!!!!
While you are at it, please bring Vinnie back …. PLEASE !!! I can’t handle the announcers…. no emotion, excitement, frustration, elation……. I grew up listening to zee Best…..spoiled me forever ( and boy am I GRATEFUL !!! )
Vin is vintage.
Five man rotations became in vogue in the sixties when the Mets had young pitchers like Ryan, Koosman, Seaver, and they wanted to get them all starts. Then other teams followed suit when the Mets had success, in a follow the leader fashion.
There will never be another 30 game winner or a pitcher throwing 300 innings in a season because of the way the game is played. The 100 pitches is an arbitrary figure that was arrived at by physical therapists and doctors for pitchers recovering from surgery or arm injuries. Pitchers can’t go past 100 pitches because they have not been trained to do so, and spring training regimens now don’t even train pitchers to leave spring training being able to throw more than five or six innings. Bob Feller threw a no-hitter on Opening Day. Never happen today.
If you teach a quarter horse to only run an eighth of a mile, he will only be able to run an eighth of a mile. Not all pitch counts are equal, and they are not equal for all pitchers. Each pitcher is different and each game is different.. Some pitchers, on some days, are done when they have thrown 60 pitches, and some could throw 150 pitches, if they are conditioned to do that. Having the 100 pitches limit gives the manager an easy out for when to relieve a starting pitcher, rather than relying on judgment and instincts.
From the time they are drafted, pitchers are monitored (coddled) regarding how many pitches they throw in a start, an inning, an appearance. Pitchers have a hard time getting through the order a third time because they have never been taught in the minors how to navigate a lineup for a third or fourth time or how to pitch out of trouble when tired. The reason for all of the arm injuries and TJ surgeries is another topic for another day.