Friday, May 9, 2008

The Art of Hitting; The Roundup: O's News...

There's a bit of stuff to go through in the roundup, but before we any further, Pressbox/MASN/WHFS's Amber Theoharis has a great piece on the art of hitting perhaps inspired by the recent struggles of the Baltimore Orioles. Simply put, she does a fine job explaining more or less why it is so hard to hit a major league pitcher.

I played baseball growing and actually have the ability now to play in a fast-pitch men's league and used to play in a wood bat league a few years ago (let's say it's because of my age - 29).

Needless to say, hitting is very hard thing to and it's why I am sitting in front a computer and spending half my time in a car than being one the privileged few to ever play the game on a professional level.

It's one thing to play in a softball league and get brushed back, it's another to be given the same treatment by a flame thrower going 90+ mph with amazing movement on the ball.

"But the geometry alone is another reason hitting successfully is difficult. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that hitting a round ball with a round bat is not easy. The two points of curvature on both objects must meet at the exact same time to propel the ball forward at the right speed, in the right direction.

Finding that contact point is hard enough, but before that, a batter must see the pitch. Then, he has to react. Orioles bench coach Dave Jauss says some scouts have timed how long it takes for a major league fastball to hit the catcher’s mitt from the time it was released by the pitcher. The average time was .91 seconds.

During that flash, a batter has to determine if it’s a fastball, breaking ball or changeup, and whether it’s high, low, outside or inside. Also, he has to estimate at what speed the pitch is crossing the plate and then decide whether it’s a good idea to swing or not. That’s a lot of thinking to do in less than a second."
It's a great description by Amber about the art of hitting - plain and simple. Yes, it's easy to be an armchair player sitting in front a couch with your expensive LCD TV with millions of colors, but it's quite another to face a very good pitcher - a rec league or a professional making eight digits.

As much we raze guys and criticize -- I do it continuously with the blog --- I know, 99.9999% of us could never do what major leaguers do.


Many of us are thinking about what in the world is going on with Daniel Cabrera and his success, well, at this point I'm just happy to see him do well, especially after yesterday's game.

I was convinced that he was going through on-the-job training on the mound the past several years. Considering that few of us have an inside track as to what's going on with Daniel -- I do know this, if he ends up with a .500 or better record, a lot of thanks should go to Rick Kranitz. However, Daniel Cabrera should be proud of himself for sticking it through, maturing and learning the game.

Roch Kubatko hopes this Daniel Cabrera stays, and that the old one doesn't return. WNST wonders who this new Daniel Cabrera actually is and let's us know too that Sidney Ponson is ... good?

Alas, Steve Trachsel has to do well this weekend, or else he could be regulated to the 'pen or DFA'ed.

Meanwhile, I am elated to see Freddie Bynum named as the everyday shortstop and Luis Hernandez has been regulated to utility duty -- where he sadly belonged when the season began.
In light of the losing streak, we all can concur with Peter Schmuck in his latest article -- the Orioles are making progress and moving ahead with their rebuilding plan. The nice start by Baltimore has already shown dividends with MacPhail's wheeling and dealing in the off-season.

Pete Kerzel takes a look at Guillermo Quiroz; Stan Charles addresses the baserunning issues including a few gaffes we all have noticed, & the Washington Post looks at it too; the Examiner's Tony Giro hopes the O's hold on to their positive attitude and good play -- at least unit May; the O's are looking to rebuild through the draft; & Nestor Aparicio wonders about Mark Teixiera as an Oriole.

Finally, the Baltimore Orioles organization lost head groundskeeper Pat Santarone, who died of natural causes in Hamilton, Montana this week.

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