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View Full Version : What about control?



janduscframe
07-19-2010, 07:10 PM
I see all these posts in regards to velocity of yesterday and today. What about control? Does anyone else in the over 50 group(RMB joins us this month, if memory serves me correct? Mazeroski) ever remember an announcer make a reference to a pitcher missing his spot in the strike zone back in the 60-80 or so era? I certainly could be wrong, but as a younger fellow, I remember it being a game of throwing strikes or balls with no reference to missing high in the strike zone or getting too much of the plate. A few things come to mind in regards to this. I recall the Brewers had this pitcher named Marcellino Lopez. I remember listening to some of these games and it was ball one , ball two, etc...I also recall this game of the week when the late Joe Sparma of the Pilots couldn't come even within six inches of the plate against Detroit? There was actually a reference to this game in Ball Four if I remember correctly. If control is better these days, why?( these days: as in after the spitball was disallowed) Was it all the expansion? I certainly remember Ryan and McDowell but what about the average Joe? Or perhaps I missed something as a young fellow?

leewileyfan
07-19-2010, 11:31 PM
I see all these posts in regards to velocity of yesterday and today. What about control? Does anyone else in the over 50 group(RMB joins us this month, if memory serves me correct? Mazeroski) ever remember an announcer make a reference to a pitcher missing his spot in the strike zone back in the 60-80 or so era? I certainly could be wrong, but as a younger fellow, I remember it being a game of throwing strikes or balls with no reference to missing high in the strike zone or getting too much of the plate.

Not certain I'm reading your question correctly; but in th3 1930s through 1950s the best sports broacasters eventually got around to focusing on pitchers' "patterns" as indicators of how much control of their "stuff" they had on a particular outing. Generally, when a pitcher started to "miss high" or be "struggling up in the strike zone" it was a sure sign of fatigue setting in.

In modern game calling, the focus seems to be more on the "umpire's strike zone on a given day" or general observations on a pitcher's "mechanics."

As I saw it, the focus reflected the marked change in pitching strategies and psychology across the generations. The entire concept of "infield chatter" was verbal chanting to the pitcher to "Make him a hitter" Control ruled. Get command "around" the strike zone; and you get the umpire to all iy your way. Then the pressure is on the hitter to swing at pitches he'd rather let go by, for the simple reason that a control pitcher on his game was likely to get the calls his way.

All were functions of pitching mastery: mix of speeds and movements; mastery of the strike zone and control over pitches; getting ahead in the count; and pitching to contact so your fielders could do their jobs. The K was nice; but it, too had its place. A well-paced starter with control might want to bear down to record a K in critical situations.

It's the difference between pitching and "chucking."

Every generation had guys who did it all from the start. There were also those, usually brought up quite young, who had to master their craft on-the-job, like Bob Feller, who had control problems early on [though not quite like a Nolan Ryan. early Koufax or a Rex Barney or Tommy Byrne].