Strasburg

Joe White of the Associated Press did a nice job of briefly summarizing the
Strasburg thing with the Washington Nationals.

As a pitching coach, I honestly believe the Nationals did a gutsy thing with this young man, and for all the right reasons. Reasons that does Strasburg and his club justice, now and in the future.

As a pitching coach, my concerns has always been for the health and wellbeing of my charges. Sure, wins and losses are important, but not as important as keeping a pitching staff up, ready and healthy for the demands of a busy season and a post season. In fact, any Skipper (Head Coach) will tell you just how important those qualities are when formulating a game plan.

Professional pitchers experience a host of variables that can go under the radar of many fan’s and the sport’s writers. Those experiences can include an aggravating tenure through the Minor Leagues that involves an endless stream of road trips with food and accommodations that’ll test a man’s tolerance and endurance, a daily demand on the body that the mind has to overcome, and a mindset that has to get used to being a commodity – sellable at any time. Then there’s no place to really call home, little if any stability with everything and anything the rest of humanity calls normal. Hence, it’s no wonder the numbers are against any man who wants to call this life a profession.

And if all that wasn’t enough to discourage a man from earning a living playing professional baseball, think about the sacrifices made even before joining the professional ranks. Think of the childhood that isn’t - the training time that subordinates everyday family and social events, the hit-n-miss of amateur coaching, and the countless disappointments finding the right time and place to be noticed. Money wise, all of this doesn’t come cheap either.

When a man makes it to the ranks of the Minor Leagues, the time and personnel that are devoted to his grooming and development are impressive. It takes deep pockets and the best collection of professionals to bring a man along to ultimately compete in the Majors. Like any long term investment, a fair rate of return is never out of focus. A focus that spans years, not days or months. Therefore, regardless of the event, monitoring a man as he ages takes into account a production value tempered by the human condition and the environment that this human is exposed to. Both of which – human and environmental, have controllable and non-controllable elements all along the life span of the player and his club(s).

The Washington Nationals, to their credit, made decisions concerning this young man that took into account all of the considerations that I mentioned heretofore.

Finally, the title Major Leaguer is a highly respected title in the world of sports – amateur or pro. The Washington Nationals organization is an example of why that title is so respected. They are a Major Leaguers.

Pitching Coach John A. Baker
Springfield, Massachusetts

Would you recommend standardized innings limits throughout MLB to protect pitchers? If so, what would be the criteria for establishing the number?

Ask Dan Marino if it was the right decision. Marino made one Super Bowl (and lost) in his rookie year… (I believe). The point is, you only get so may chances. And least year may have been it.

Exactly Hammer exactly

This is probably not a very fair analogy but…I learned the hard way. If you wait for the perfect shot, sometimes you’ll never get the opportunity again. My son was turkey hunting with me for the first time. We had a nice gobbler interested. There was a small intermittent creek between us. My son whispered to me, “Shoot?”. I said, “No, wait til he crosses.” That bird was never seen again. And I have never been permitted to forget that one.

Burn your fuse out when you’ve got the chance because it just might be a long long time.