[personal profile] ravensgurl211
The Out Of Context quote of this week is brought to you by the letter T as in Trin:

Trin: i suggest also writing from the heart first
Trin: just vomit all over the cover letter
And this isn't the context, but it is similar to what I'm currently plotting; Did I tell any of you here on LJ that I emailed the Sports Legacy Institute with a general, hey I'm very interested in concussion research and stuff and are there any volunteer openings up and such? And I got an ACTUAL~! email~! from Chris Nowinski himself (saying no! but still~!)? If I didn't say that, I did now. And if I did say it, I think it bares repeating.

Anyway, I was kind of a bitch last night -- I sent a columnist from the Boston Herald a very cranky 5 AM email saying that even as a person who doesn't live in Boston, I know that the Herald is a pretty okay newspaper and that you should do some GODDAMNED FUCKING RESEARCH if you are going to be writing a baseball column. Jeff is NOT Jered Weaver. I mean it's one thing if a blog gets the two confused but this isn't a fucking blog. And then someone commented to the guy and said, hey that wasn't Jeff, that was Jared, so now the columinist still has it misspelt. I mean, come on. Even if I didn't stalk the Weaver brothers like I do, much like how I know there are two i's in Torii Hunter's name, it's just a thing, you know? Ugh.

Also, in regards to baseball, even though I think Amy is the only (other) one who would remember Phil Coke on my f-list -- but, caruso made a Phil Coke playlist that is AMAZING and just ugggh. Makes me shake my fist at Detroit for having him because he's so far away.

So, as usual, I was pissed at Michael Kay... and I did some research about my favorite subject -- why older pitchers* & players seem to think that the current crop of pitchers should be like them and have their shoulders make the damn clicking noise when they move it (like one David Cone).

Posted: April 15, 2005
By Kevin Baxter
For Sporting News

Marlins manager Jack McKeon has a number of talents. He has a memory an elephant would be proud of; he is perhaps the best American storyteller since Mark Twain; and given enough cigars and enough time, he probably could out-smoke a forest fire.

What he isn't good at is waiting. Patience might be a virtue in some circles, but it's clearly something the 74-year-old McKeon no longer has time for, especially when it comes to the performance of his talented young starting pitchers--hard-throwing righthanders Josh Beckett and A.J. Burnett and high-kicking lefthander Dontrelle Willis.

"Everybody wants to say they've got so much potential, but sooner or later you've got to step up and produce," McKeon says. "You keep saying it, but somewhere along the line they've got to do it. Now's the time to show everybody in baseball how good they can be."

But success hinges on the talented trio of starters, all of whom have alternated brilliant performances with disappointing ones.

Beckett, who had predicted he'd be an All-Star two years out of high school, enjoyed a storybook October in 2003, but he still is waiting for that All-Star call six years after being drafted. Burnett led the majors in shutouts (five) in 2002, but he spent most of the next two seasons on the disabled list. Willis went 9-1 in his first two months in the majors after replacing the injured Burnett in May 2003, but he is 16-16 wth a 4.05 ERA since.

"The focus on the potential is well-documented," Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest says. "Their ability speaks for itself. Now they just need to go out and do it consistently."

For the two righthanders, that means staying healthy. Beckett, 24, has a 3.38 ERA in 79 career games (76 starts) but has been on the disabled list seven times, including three times last season. His biggest problem: blisters on the middle finger of his pitching hand, which have sent him to the D.L. four times in the past three years. As a result, he has made more than 13 consecutive starts without an injury just once in his career and never has thrown more than 164 innings in a professional season.

Burnett, 28, whose across-the-body delivery has concerned scouts for years, tinkered with a new windup this spring before going back to his old motion.

He has been on the disabled list six times since 2000, including a 13-plus month stint after he underwent elbow surgery in 2003. After Burnett returned last June, he made 19 starts before missing a turn--his third-longest streak since he came up in 1999.

Willis, who has the most complicated delivery of the three, has not missed a start; his problems have been control and stamina. Willis, 23, is averaging a walk every three innings, and 17 of his 32 starts last season lasted no more than six innings.

Taken together, the three seem to be suffering from the same thing: a lack of work.

"You learn in the big leagues by being out there consistently," says Mark Wiley, the team's new pitching coach. "You learn the most, probably, when you have your first 200-plus-inning year."

Ask McKeon why his pitchers haven't broken through, and he'll tell you it's because they've been pampered. But that's about to end.

McKeon, a crusty baseball lifer, believes a pitcher gets stronger by pitching, not by taking it easy. He has little patience with players--especially pitchers--who complain about niggling injuries or being overworked.

McKeon likes to talk about how Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan routinely would make more than 200 pitches in a start, last year going so far as to read to reporters a story about Ryan's prodigious appetite for pitching. McKeon then marked several passages with a yellow highlighter and posted the story on a bulletin board in the Marlins' clubhouse. But it took Ryan several years to overcome his own blister problems before becoming an iron man.

McKeon's disdain for paying attention to pitch counts puts him strongly at odds with today's prevailing wisdom, which holds that young arms are a precious commodity to be protected, not abused. Beckett, in fact, was on such a strict pitch count as a minor leaguer that he once was pulled during a no-hitter because he had reached his prescribed limit.

"The first thing they sit you down and tell you is, 'Most guys get fired because they screw around with that pitch count,' " Braves coach Fredi Gonzalez says of the advice he received from management before his first season as a minor league manager.

McKeon has screwed around with it the past two springs, putting his starters on a four-day rotation in the first few weeks of exhibition games. He had them throwing close to 80 pitches and going at least six innings by their fourth time out. Typically, pitchers don't work that long in spring training until just before opening day.

When pitchers complained of dead arms in 2004, McKeon brought in a Hall of Famer, Sandy Koufax, to talk about how his Dodgers pitching staffs worked so hard that they went through several dead-arm periods during spring training.

His emphasis on pitching until you're tired, then pitching some more, seems to have won over at least one convert: the irrepressible Willis.

"It was something we needed to do," says Willis, who had a great spring. "To throw that many pitches that early you have to be ready. I feel strong, and that's the key."

Beckett and Burnett, who have been either coddled or injured for most of their professional careers, seem to be coming around, too. This spring, McKeon was lavish in his praise of Beckett's focus, work habits and newfound maturity. Meanwhile, Burnett made it through the most strenuous spring of his career.

All that will be for naught if they get hurt again, which is why, when Beckett and Burnett talk of goals for the season, they mention health and consistency before wins and ERA.

"Wins and losses--wins in particular--are probably the most overrated stat in baseball," Beckett says. "What I need is the bulk numbers, and I'll take all the other stuff that follows. Just the innings are the main thing."

Adds Burnett: "I want a full healthy year ... because I haven't had a full year yet. It's time to put it all together and win 20 games." With Burnett eligible to become a free agent after this season, the timing couldn't be better to avoid the disabled list long enough to deliver on his promise.
So, let's play the game of Well, That Was 2005 -- how are those pitchers now? Besides Josh Beckett prior to the last two years or so, the trio will never be mistaken for a future hall of famer. In D-train's case (Dontrelle Willis, one of my more favorite players) one douchebag could make the argument that because of his anxiety problems he is too weak to ever be much of a pitcher (Michael Kay made this argument -- you know that guy who never played MLBaseball) said something similar to this when the Yankees played that horrible game against Dontrelle in Arizona this season. I, on the other hand, think that's bullshit. And not just because of the whole "well, I have anxiety problems too!" reason but because Dontrelle's made it through this many years as a left handed pitcher, he'll be fine (and okay yeah it helps that he's a lefty) that my inner Yankees fan (as compared to my inner Mets fan) believes that it'll all work out in the end for him. I mean it worked out well for Junior and Greinke, right?

And now my favorite two; Beckett & Burnett -- Josh Beckett was doing pretty good the last couple of seasons for the Sox - except this year (actually last year, mid-July when I bought myself a Beckett bracelet in Boston - because this is why I can't have nice things) something gone wrong. Tired arm? Maybe, at least that's what it looked like to me, watching from the rival team. I can't seem to find the running commentary I had during the Yankees-Sox Josh Beckett literally had a mental breakdown on the mound why does no one see it but me and Al Leiter? game but yeah. Mental breakdowns for Beckett.

And finally, the Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle ... that is AJ Burnett. I've been in love with that man since he told the world that "it's depressing around here" in regards to how shitty the 2005 Marlins were. And it's not just the bad boy image that I like (because he's more of a rebel then a "bad" boy) it's the fact that when he's "on" and good, oh god his curveball is the thing of legends. Just like when Beckett's on, I don't find him attractive, I find his pitching attractive because it's so damn gorgeous. Is that insane? Probably a little, but not really. I mean, I love other sports because of the beauty in strange things (Elias or Erat skating on the ice during a hockey game like figure skaters, a good wrestling match).

I bring all this up because in case you didn't see; AJ Burnett lost his temper - he didn't hit a wall with his fist, he had something in his hand and used THAT to hit the wall and then scratched up his hands. And most of Yankee fandom is UP IN ARMS BECAUSE THIS IS A GODDAMNED ARMS RACE because omfg an emotional person lost his temper. You know what my feeling is on this? I'm sure you can tell by my tone, but, how is this had worst/different then Paul O'Neill's temper tantrums? I love him and yes I always use him as an example (usually when talking about my Dominicans, but still) but I honestly do not understand how for people if Paul O'Neill, in public, in the dugout, could go around punching water coolers, break his bat in anger on the steps/chair but that is perfectly fine because he is a "gamer" -- but AJ Burnett, who, yes, lied about it how he got scratched up (wouldn't you???) got pissed off and angry off the mound, away from the cameras and people and shit -- how that is somehow worse to Yankees fandom.

Listen, my father has very few rules but his biggest thing has always been 'you can spit on me, you can call me names, you can demean my job, I don't care UNTIL you lie to me' - and I have some of that in me, but even with that context, I still don't see the big deal because there are lies and then there are lies for the teams sake (had Burnett not ended up fessing up, it just would've been swept under the rug since he was the only one that was around when it happened).

Anyway, that's where I stopped a couple days ago. Which is cool because yesterday AJ Burnett and Josh Beckett both pitched and were awesome. Beckett came back from his "injury" (both mental and shoulder/arm related I'm sure) and AJ just finally had a good game (because I didn't watch any baseball just to give him the extra cosmic boost yesterday -- the things I do for you AJ).

Instructor: Those people outside are crazy, wearing big ol' leather boots in this kind of heat!
Student: Maybe they're from Texas?
Instructor: Nah, they looked pretty American to me.

--Beauty School, 35th & 8th

Final baseball thing;

MLB.com has an article about how the Mets are failures. .. .... ...... in regards to never having a no-hitter, perfect game or anything else that would be awesome for a pitcher.

The topic in the Mets' clubhouse that day was no-hitters, a topic Mets pitchers discuss from time to time without firsthand knowledge of the phenomenon. It was in the summer of 2005 when Steve Trachsel recalled the six-man no-hitter the Astros had dropped on the Yankees two years earlier. "Is that allowed?" Trachsel asked. Then he answered his own rhetorical question. "Probably not; at least not for us. I don't think we are allowed."


The Mets, born seven years earlier, were guilty of a greater transgression, turning their backs on the patron saint of the no-no; they traded Nolan Ryan. "It's the Curse of Nolie," David Cone said in 1991 after he had flirted with a Mets no-hitter. "You can't trade that man and not expect some ramifications."

March 2012

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