Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 4, 2005
BASEBALL: See The Ball, Miss The Ball

I was forced to watch the Yankees-Red Sox game tonight on the YES Network, which meant choking down the usual Hated Yankees propaganda along with the game. But there was one point that Paul O'Neill made that, while familiar enough in some respects, I hadn't really thought of this particular way before. O'Neill - who freely admits that he couldn't hit Randy Johnson at all - was explaining that, because of Johnson's height, long arms and sidearm delivery, his release point is way further behind a lefthanded hitter's back than most lefthanded pitchers. The particular problem this causes is that a lefthanded hitter, just to see the ball at its release, has to turn to look more towards the first base side than usual - thus opening up his hips and effectively bailing out on the pitch from the moment it is released.

Of course, not all lefthanded hitters have been helpless against Johnson - the Yankee broadcasters noted Don Mattingly as a guy who hit for a good average against him, albeit mainly before Johnson had really mastered his command - but Johnson's unusual release point does start them out in a terrible hole even before you start to talk about his velocity.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:25 AM | Baseball 2005 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

dreaded Yankees is right.

(long time reader)

Posted by: JDR at April 4, 2005 4:19 AM

I like Yankees propaganda as much as the next fan, but it should ideally have some relationship to reality. That did not happen when they were singing the praises of Tony Womack, immediately before he grounded into a key inning-ending DP off Mike Myers to kill a rally. (You'd think he was Willie Wilson reincarnated from the way they described his speed. Not exactly.)

Posted by: Dr. Manhattan at April 4, 2005 10:26 AM

That's ok. You could have turned off the TV and listened to Sterling/Waldman call the game on the radio if you were looking for Yankee-free propaganda.


btw - Which MLB team DOESN'T have some type of propaganda/punch-pulling in their TV or radio booths?

Posted by: Alvaro Espinoza at April 4, 2005 11:00 AM

In addition, his long arms and legs means that Randy Johnson's release point is closer to the batter than usual. Only a few inches, to be sure, but when a batter only has fractions of a second, it makes a difference.
(In Toronto, they've talked about his delivery coming more 'from behind' for years. Olerud, even when batting .400 during the glory days of '93, still sat out against Johnson.)

Posted by: daniel clark at April 5, 2005 11:05 AM
Site Meter 250wde_2004WeblogAwards_BestSports.jpg