Home In the news Sports with Patrick Townes, Springwater and area

Sports with Patrick Townes, Springwater and area

Diverse group of kids playing soccer.

It did not take long for the powerhouse Dodgers to defeat the injury-riddled Padres. If the Padres had their full roster it would have been a better series than it was. Looking back to an article from the start of the season, I predicted it would be a television producer’s dream matchup between the Yankees and the Dodgers. But also noted to keep a keen eye on the Rays. The Rays are a deep team putting together good at bats, combined with great pitching. We will see if the Dodgers can pull it off this year after getting to the finals in previous years.
You hear the broadcasters mention how players are giving their all and doing anything to win these important playoff games. I am questioning whether players are actually doing “anything” to win. One common theme for pitchers in 2020 is to pitch inside. I do not have the numbers behind it, but there have been a ton of batters that have dipped away from pitches that were going to hit them. For some of them, I still do not know how the ball did not hit them. Some of these situations have even been with the bases loaded and would have earned a run. I am in no way telling minor league players to not move out of the way from a pitch, but when there is an important run on third base in the major league playoffs, the odd time, it may be worth it not to move.
The Wyevale Tribe had an import player from Australia one year. He was a pitcher and a shortstop, and a really solid player who was in the Country’s development program. He said that if a player moved away from getting hit by a pitch they would sit the rest of the game. It was not tolerated. They were taught to stay their ground and not let pitchers intimidate them with inside pitches. This method also helps you consistently keep your eye on the ball without mistakenly bailing away from a pitch. A good rule to follow, but no doubt a painful one.
Although the baseball games in the playoffs have still been long, at least they have been entertaining. Young players are taking over the game and different pitching strategies are being used. It will be interesting to see how pitching rotations are used when a “normal” season occurs again. If it ever does! Not more than one team this year really has more than three reliable pitchers that have been used. Bullpens are very important — no matter what type of pitcher comes out of the bullpen during the game. Remember a closer does not always have to be used at the end of the game. There may be in fact important situations earlier in the game where their services are required.
To be totally honest, I am surprised how good the home plate umpires are at calling balls and strikes. Much of the conversation throughout a game relates to how catchers frame pitches. They are only able to “fool” the umpire a handful of times, but it does work occasionally. One can only think how this skill set will be lost if they go with virtual umpires. Catchers should think twice for voting for virtual umpires. Their roles would be significantly reduced defensively and one could argue that a good hitter who typically does not play that position might be simply thrown in there to catch the ball, and not frame it. Catchers would be devalued.
The Maple Leafs have filled some spots in their lineup that were needed — defensemen with skill and toughness. Of course after the draft was over, the blue and white fans are up in arms that they did not draft a defenseman. Drafted players could be three years away from playing and are not meant to fill immediate needs in a lineup. Draft the best available players, and fill holes through trades and free agency.
I read somewhere that a strikeout carries a “K” symbol because it is the last letter in the term struck – I did not know that!
But Mike did some research and notes:
The History of the Strikeout
The symbol “K” in baseball was developed by baseball pioneer Henry Chadwick who was the New York Herald’s first baseball editor in the 1860’s.
The scoring symbol “K” was first used in the scoring of an actual game in 1868.
One reason the letter “K” was used because “K” was the prominent letter of the word strike.
Another reason the letter “K” is used is that it is made with 3 strokes of the pencil, symbolizing the 3 strikes for the strikeout.
Chadwick also used a “backward K” when a batter strikes out looking or called out on the third strike because it isn’t as common as striking out swinging.
Back in the early stages of baseball stat-keeping was done entirely with letters and no numbers. When the strikeout became an official statistic, “K” in the word “strikeout” was the first letter not already being used. As single was S, triple was T, run was R, inning was I and then strikeout was K by default.