Platooning

Platooning goes by many other names in the upper levels of ball, and it’s effectiveness is just and dynamic … as the recruitment, train’g and rostering aspects of its (platooning) design and application.

How does, will, and can this concern us as pitchers?

First, refer to the following web site on the subject:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Platoon

Then, consider yourself taking the mound … usually not knowing the other club’s batting order and/or their skill level… and consider what challenges THIS poses for you.

This kind of experience … along with the skill of putting something like this together (Platoon) is a lost art form… for many club managers… and even more removed for a lot of coaching staffs. So, when it is employed (platooning) it’s usually not seen for what it is. But I can tell you from practical experience… when a pitching staff is faced with this challenge… and you see it coming… your entire strategy takes a totally differnt approach.

At the lower youth and most high school levels I wouldn’t consider this aspect of the game to be too demanding … if it exists at all. BUT, more and more demanding levels of competitive ball are considering and using this game plan.

By the way… let’s say your at a showcase, an invitational tryout or other great event … and someone asks you … “What do think Platooning is?
Look’m straight in the eye and tell -em ! Watch the surprised look on their face… along with another question… " Ahhh…what did you say your name was again !! ? They just want to make sure that they got your name spelled right ! … Along with " wow, where did this kid come from!”

This game of ours has many aspects to it … and a language all its own. It’s just not about how well you play… although that’s a given … it’s also about the little details that are on the outer fringes.

And here’s one for the folks old enough to remember … What’s a band-box?

Coach B.

Hi, Coach B.
I call such a ballpark a telephone booth, and if you’ve ever tried to pitch in one you’ll know just what I mean. There are a few such around the major leagues—case in point, the Coliseum in Los Angeles, where the Dodgers used to play before they moved to Chavez Ravine which is another such stadium. When they played in the Coliseum there was a time when any Dodger player who hit a home run there was henceforth and forever a “Dodger Hero”—no problem when you consider that in that ballpark the left-field wall was just a couple of steps behind shortstop.
About platooning—we’ve seen that time and again, when starting around the sixth or seventh inning a manager will remove a lefthanded pitcher just because he wants to bring in a righthander to pitch to a righthanded batter. Okay. So the opposing manager will pull that righthanded batter and send up a lefthanded pinch-hitter, and now Manager A has a choice—go with the one he’s sent in to pitch to the batter or yank him and call someone else in from the bullpen. But what good would it do if the next batter happens to be a switch-hitter? He’ll just hit from the other side of the plate. For example, Jorge Posada—he’s a switch-hitter, and it doesn’t matter who comes in to pitch to him, especially because he hits well from either side of the plate. Manager A might as well have saved his bullpen for a time when they would be really needed and stuck with his starting pitcher. :roll:

But what good would it do if the next batter happens to be a switch-hitter? He’ll just hit from the other side of the plate …
Jorge Posada—he’s a switch-hitter, and it doesn’t matter who comes in to pitch to him, especially because he hits well from either side of the plate

That’s what makes the game and the dynamics of the bullpen and a savvy coaching staff worth their salt. There aren’t enough Jorge Posada’s around and …" a manager might as well have saved his bullpen for a time when they would be really needed …" is just the " makes ya think skipper" that guys like me inject into a game that’ll send the sales of Pepto Pismol soring.

As a pitching coach it’s my business to know the rosters of every club I face. And I know these guys and how they think, and sometimes even before they know themselves. So, when I see an advantage - I use it.

I’m a student of the late and great Casey Stangle. His creative genius created situations using … amoung others, platooning, and with sucess I might add. In fact, his ability to keep the other bench off balance just enough, gave us some of the most memorable games in recent history.

With respect to Fenway Park… it’s just an hour and half drive from my home, and it’s old school baseball, deep in tradition, my second home away from home, I pitchd there when I was a kid playing Legion ball for the state title (we lost), it’s in the heart of Boston - another treasure of our Union, it’s served the folks here a diet of good times when during WWII when things weren’t going so well at first, it’s hosted Presidents and the common man/lady alike … the bleachers are a great mixing place for all kinds, and you won’t find any park… and I mean any park … that’s more intimate with the hometown club and its fans.

Without being rude or crase, … “…because it would ruin the whole atmosphere" or some such excuse …”. then go elsewhere. Here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts we like our family park, it’s not a mega complex, it’s what it is – ours just the way we like it.

Coach B.