This was amazing, this interview makes me long to meet Buehrle (even more than just as a White Sox fan) and take the man out for a beer. I wonder if i could start a movement to nickname him “The Dude”.
Comment by My echo and bunnymen — June 3, 2011 @ 3:36 pm
P.S. Great questions!
Comment by My echo and bunnymen — June 3, 2011 @ 3:37 pm
He succeeds at the MLB level because he throws a good changeup and every single pitch he throws comes out of the exact same arm slot and location. That is much harder than it sounds. A good chunk of pitchers have tells in their delivery or slot that reveals a split-second early to the hitter what they are throwing. Interesting that he does not throw too many bullpen sessions, some guys lose pitch location if they do not have regular bullpen sessions.
Comment by Phantom Stranger — June 3, 2011 @ 8:39 pm
I rarely comment, but I just want to add my voice to those remarking on how great these are, they’re just an enormous breath of fresh air. And it seems clear by the length of their responses that the players really appreciate that they’re actually getting asked intelligent questions about their craft, instead of the standard boilerplate.
Great interview David, really enjoy the player’s perspective from time to time. Its great to see the diversity in approaches between guys like Buehrle (feel) and Byrd (more analytical). One possible player request, it would be interesting to hear from someone like Saltalamachia and how he was able to overcome his throwing issues earlier in his career.
You pick guys off by having your pick-off move closely resemble you motion to the plate … often, skirting the line (okay erasing the line) between pickoff and balk.
Lefties are not “quick to first” … what they/we do is raise our lead leg, and rather than step toward first, we lower our foot and begin to “slide it toward home”, and then as late as possible nudge the foot toward first … then walk off the mound before anyone can really see where you stepped.
I remember in college I got called for a balk. Now, I know I balk every time. There were times I would step 80-degrees. 1st base coaches would go nuts. Umpire is standing behind me, between mound and 2B. So, he calls a balk, and I sheepishly ask “What did I do?” (knowing exactly what I did) “Too deceptive”. “With my arm? Did I hang my leg? Did I flinch?” “Too deceptive”. “Isn’t that the point? If I’m not deceptive, won;t they just take off on first move.” “Too deceptive”.
I never could tell if he “knew” and was just giving me the “broken record” treatment so we wouldn’t have to discuss it … or if he just reacted to the 1st base coach and couldn’t give me a specific reason.
Anyway, a pickoff from a RHP is all about freezing the runner and “quick feet”. But, from a lefty, it’s almost all deception. I’d like to meet the LHP that picks off runners by being as “quick as possible” to 1B … he’s be the new chairman of our organization to rule the world.
Comment by CircleChange11 — June 6, 2011 @ 10:54 am
One of the best guys in baseball, thanks for this.