The Lonely Life of a BP Pitcher


#1

So, you’ve wanted to play varsity and college ball, perhaps even pro ball - but, the playing opportunity’s are short and in-between.

What you need is a good workout and a chance to “be there”, kind of.

Have you ever considered being a Batting Practice Pitcher? Granted, no one really gives a hoot for these guys - a lonely existence is an understatement! But hey… it’s a chance to be in there, be seen and mix with the guys … ya know.

PB pitching isn’t like all the pitching analysis that we do here on this web site. It’s kind of a short abbreviated … short step and snap throw kind of thing. There are plenty of YouTube pages that’ll show you how. Heck, if I could do it… in my late 40’s, anybody could do. You must be physically fit, especially in the upper body - shoulders and arms. You’ve got to have a keen eye for accuracy… no creative stuff. ( More and that later.) You must be able to repeatedly deliver pitch after pitch, for every batter on the roster. You’ll have a protective screen in front of you to protecting you for balls hit right back at you… but you can’t be gun shy about that.

There are some drawbacks however. Some guys will blame you for not giving them quality at bats during BP. Fact is, those that do, most of the time, couldn’t hit sand if they fell off a camel. So you’ve got to have a thick skin. Another problem can be timing of your services. Some guys have trouble with night games … so don’t be surprised if you have to toss during the evening when you’d much rather be with that someone special.

Think you’d like to approach this game from the angle of being a BP pitcher? Approach a coach on the field and introduce yourself while this coach is not engaged with duties as a coach. Introduce yourself and asking him/her if he/she would like to try a BP pitcher during his/her teams next practice? Go around to as many teams that you think you can handle. Just be mindful to take it easy for your first go around. This can be pretty taxing stuff.

About the fancy stuff
BP is not about striking guys out, or showing them up. It’s about quality incoming pitches, at less than game speed sometimes, so they have experience at bat. You and the batter will hear… " Ok, pitch-em inside low, or, pitch-em high and outside." stuff like that. On the other hand, some clubs may want an aggressive showing for a few pitches. This can get taxing on your body if your facing 20 + guys, one after the other.

In any event, soon you’ll get the picture and so will the coaches that you tossed BP for. ( what a novel idea!) In fact, when a coach will ask you to “hold up there,” and he starts a lineup of about three or four batters for you to face, removes the protective screen and tells you… " go ahead… game on," that’s baseball speak for let’s see what you can do. This is when you bring your best stuff to the table and… " serve it!"


#2

One thing I do when pitching BP is to have someone clock me or put a gun on me I’ll adjust my arm speed to some extent or adjust my distance slightly to put the timing within the range of what the hitters will be facing. Do everything to preserve or develop the hitters’ timing at the plate. I do this with front toss, too. I believe it helps my teams transition faster from pre-game to game.

BP is exactly how I got back into pitching in HS after taking a few years off playing other positions. Eventually I was pitching scrimmages to save the arms on the staff, then I was relieving in actual games again. Once I became a reliever, my BP days were over…until I began throwing for my kids and the teams I was coaching. Then, since I was like the only parent whose arm could still function or could actually throw a strike, I was back in the BP game, so to speak.

Weird story, a coach wanted me to assist him one year and I was fairly busy at work and could not head coach, so I said, no problemo. I was pitching scrimmages and in general giving the guys as close to game equivalent as possible. I was throwing regulation distance and trying to get outs, since that was my instruction. The coach began to extend the innings, adding outs, moving runners to cover various situations. Mind you that i was pitching for both sides with pretty much no rest time. I pitched 3 innings like this and told him I was done. I had thrown over 100 game speed pitches on my 40 something arm in the span of less than 1 hr. He looked shocked that my arm was getting fatigued. He took my place. Let’s just say his innings were 3 out maximums and he barely finished 1 inning because the team was sort of hitting him around. Be sure your BP pitcher gets treated with respect and gets the same down time one of your regular pitchers would get. All BP pitchers do not have rubber arms.


#3

Sounds like me. Pitched through high school in a large southern city but failed to make it as a walk-on at a major D1. So I hit the books. Fast forward, years later I started pitching again - BP - to my son and his friends and all the Little League teams I coached. Struck me as funny that dads with arms 10 years younger than mine couldn’t throw at all. Today I still throw BP to my high school age son, behind a screen, of course. I’ll keep doing it until my arm falls off. Or until he tells me I ain’t got it anymore. :grin:


#4

south_paw
I admire your posts and the approach that you take to this sport. I can’t say enough for your contribution of helping your son and the advice that you pass on to those visiting this site. Good stuff.


#5

Coach_Baker,

Thank you for your kind words. And for your terrific posts. You have a true sense of what baseball is all about. Cheers!