MLB Was Right About The Spin Doctors
Offense is up. Did FedEx buy a high school star? Delta big in Atl, but not that Delta.
I can be a little slow on the uptake some days and, you know, push on an open door. I have to be reminded to be a little smarter.
On Friday, I told Braves manager Brian Snitker that a source at Major League Baseball sent me data that showed offense is up since MLB started checking pitchers for hidden sticky substance they put on baseballs for better grip and spin (June 3). I checked a couple of the numbers and offense is up.
Snit was sitting in the dugout and said, “What do the hitters think?”
Oh. Good question.
I was so intent on getting his response, I hadn’t asked the hitters if spin rates were under control. So I did.
Third baseman Austin Riley nodded when I told him offense was up and that maybe MLB had really, honestly, solved a problem. He knew there were hijinks around the fastballs, that pitchers were putting a substance on the ball to improve their grip, and the movement of their pitches.
“You could tell when somebody was using it,” Riley said. “It was on their fastball and it had a little extra umpff to it. Guys were throwing 90, 91, 92 and I couldn’t get on top of it. I mean, I kept asking myself, ‘Why can’t get on 92-93’?’
“Now, 92 is 92, not that extra rise, and I can square it up.”
I asked Freddie Freeman if he had seen a noticeable difference in pitches.
“I’m just going up to hit,” Freeman said with that big smile of his. “I didn’t know about ‘spydy tack’ or any of the substances they are talking about. It’s just ‘whatever’ to me.”
So I asked Jorge Soler, the right-fielder. He said through interpreter Franco Garcia, “No difference whatsoever” since the post-June 3 of strip searches.
There you have it, though I’m not exactly sure what we have.
I mentioned to a former big league manager and current coach that offensive numbers are up since MLB started policing the sticky stuff pitchers use for grip and to make pitchers spin better/more.
“It’s not the sticky,” he said about the increased offense. “The pitching is watered down. That’s why offense is up.”
Then he got animated. His voice grew angrier.
“They have no command,” he said of the big league hurlers. “They can’t throw strikes up and away, down and away, up and in, down and in. They can only throw strikes down the middle.”
And then he got louder.
“All 30 teams are trying to win games with the bullpen, but there are not enough good relievers to go around. These kids fail, then they send them down, they rush up somebody else, then they fail, and get rid of them. Some of these guys don’t belong in the big leagues.”
He shook his head side to side.
Command is an issue with young pitchers. I think it’s why the Braves’ prospect Kyle Wright, among many others, can’t get traction in the Majors. He can’t command both sides of the plate.
Major League Baseball teams are trying to make more money by reducing the size of the minor leagues, which is the last thing the game needs. The coach I talked to said players don’t even know how to run the bases properly any more. The game is strikeout and home run. Who needs to learn how to run bases when it’s a trot or slow walk?
The University of Memphis and coach Penny Hardaway just received commitments from two of the top high school basketball stars in the country. The game being what it is these days, both of these players were supposed to graduate from high school in 2022, but are suddenly eligible for this college basketball season. You can write a check for high school credits and get a diploma pretty easily now. I saw it in the aftermath of the Pandemic last June when some Gwinnett County students were allowed, by the county, to take short on-line courses, pay $150 and get credits for classes they failed so they could graduate.
Emoni Bates, a 6-foot-9 guard/forward, and Jalen Duren, a 6-foot-10 center, are going to Memphis and some reports claim FedEx, the mail/package delivery giant, has promised them both seven figure deals to keep them from the NBA’s G-League. This is the era of Name Image Likeness where college athletes can make money on the side.
How else did Memphis come up with the money to keep Bates and Duren away from the G-League, which is offering contracts of $500,000 to $1 million, or more.
There are no rules.
Should Home Depot, Delta, and Coca-Cola, who are Atlanta’s home-grown Fortune 500 monsters, get in on this game for Georgia and Georgia Tech?
I feel sorry for our restaurant and hotel workers this coming Labor Day weekend. Football is coming. It can mean great tips, but it can also mean a blanketing of the virus. Alabama plays Miami, which brings fans from two of the states hit hardest by the delta variant.
Ole Miss plays Louisville on Monday night and the state of Mississippi is overrun with Covid patients.
Our state is going to host the variant, you better believe it. I’m not going to the games, which is the first time I have missed a kickoff game since they started in 2008.
Well, here it is, another toy for Nick Saban to get his hands on and the rest of college football to chase him. It’s a drone showing off the Cowboys’ facilities. It never ends.