Not so famous words from my son after a game upon giving up a home run with a runner on base, causing an early fourth inning exit.
I thought it was a good time to make a point; since, he seemed to be fishing for why he gave up the home run.
This was his first game back in early June after missing most of his freshman baseball season due to a back injury. His velocity was off a bit, and he didn’t have the same stamina as early in the season. He’d pitched very well in the first three weeks of April, but ended up sitting after suffering a compressed nerve in his pitching shoulder from carrying his baseball bag on that shoulder. He rested and rehabbed and wasn’t allowed to even pick up a baseball until the last week of May.
“The catcher said I left the ball up, but it was right at his glove.”
I was behind home plate and clearly saw the pitch. It was down and in on the right-handed batter, right where the catcher had set up. He didn’t move his glove.
I agreed with him, but I asked him what he threw.
“A four seam.”
I asked him if he thought it was a good pitch.
He took a little while to answer and finally said, “but it was on his glove.”
I asked again if he thought it was a good pitch.
“I don’t know. What was wrong with it?”
I told him that sometimes even good pitches get hit, but not many good pitches end up over the the left-center field wall. I didn’t think it was a good pitch. It was a straight fastball down and in to the fourth place hitter, who had from an earlier at bat clearly shown he was a dead pull hitter. He’d been induced in his first at bat to hit a ground ball to the pitcher on a fast ball down and away after pulling an inside pitch foul over the left field wall.
I said that the pitch had three things wrong with it; it had no movement, it had little velocity, and it’s location was bad for this particular hitter. I told him it didn’t do him much good if he could put the ball where he wanted, but he chose to throw it to a bad location. I wondered aloud why he threw the pitch there with a 1 ball, 2 strike count.
He said the catcher called for it at that spot, and I replied that it was his pitch, not the catchers. The catcher didn’t give up the home run; his name didn’t appear on the box score; and he didn’t get the loss. If he really did want to throw the pitch to that location, why not use his two seam fast ball, better throw a breaking ball away or in the dirt.
He thought about what I said. He’d been used to blowing the ball by people, hitting spots, and pretty much following his catcher’s pitch selections, rarely shaking off a pitch. In later games he started to think more about pitching. He became a little more assertive in his pitch selection. Still, it was a tough summer. His good velocity didn’t come back till near summer’s end, but he started to become more of pitcher and less of a thrower.
In the end, that was my point, pitching is about thinking. Sometimes, this can be difficult for an impulsive fifteen year old.
Sorry for the long diatribe, I wanted to pass on a learning moment from a long summer of baseball.