The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘Don Drysdale’

In praise of the 1979 World Series

Posted by keithosaunders on February 25, 2019

You can watch countless old baseball games on youtube.  Last year, during the off-season I watched some of the 1974 World Series between the Dodgers and the As.  This year I’ve been watching one of my all time favorites, the Pittsburgh Pirates versus the Baltimore Orioles.

Played in 1979, This was a rematch of the 1971 Series.  Like its counterpart, the ’79 Series went a full seven games –  both were won by the Pirates.  1979 was particularly dramatic, however, as the Pirates fell behind 3-1 in games and had to win three elimination games. To top it off the final two games were played on the road in Baltimore.

Here are some random observations:

In those days ABC and NBC would alternate years broadcasting the Series.  1979 was an ABC year and I was reminded why they were the inferior broadcasting network.  ABC had a bizarre fixation with showing the ball players wives, which quickly grew tiresome.  Their camerawork also seemed sub par – replays rarely yielded a satisfying shot.  And then there was Howard Cosell.

Cosell was as insufferable as I remembered him being.  He was smart, could be glib, and yes, I would take him any over Joe Buck (I would take a trained seal over Joe Buck) but he couldn’t help but make the game about himself.  Cosell did, however, provide one laugh-out-loud moment.  After catcher, Manny Sanguillen, won game two with a pinch hit ABC went down to the field to interview him.   As  the camera fixed on a closeup of the scraggly, bearded veteran, Cosell waxed,  “LOOK at that time-worn face!”

Keith Jackson was the play by play man for the games in Baltimore.  Although he was a consummate professional and had a good set of pipes, he was more of a college football guy.  That weekend he was absent from the Series as he was sent to work the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game.  Jackson’s sub was a young Al Michaels, whose voice was a half an octave higher than it is today.  Michaels was a marked upgrade from Jackson and it was good to hear him during his formative years.  The booth was rounded out by Don Drysdale, or Twin D, as Cosell referred to him.

The uniforms were garish, but delightful.  I always did love the banana-yellow Pirates uniforms.  The Bumblebee Bucs!  Even Baltimore got into the act in game 2, donning flaming orange tops.

It is a delight to watch pitchers pitch with tempo.  Jim Palmer versus Burt Blyleven was a sight for sore eyes.  Most of the pitchers I saw pitched with a tidy rhythm, with the exceptions being Jim Bibby and Dennis Martinez.  Kent Tekulve, one of my favorites at the time, did not disappoint.  He also has a good quote in which he said that he takes one look at the scouting reports, throws them away, and then pitches his game.  Take that, metrics freaks.

In game three there was an hour rain delay after three innings.  Both starting pitchers, John Candeleria, and Scott McGregor, remained in the game.  McGregor, who had allowed 3 runs in the first two innings, settled down and pitched a complete game.  Somehow pitchers in those days could get through the lineup 4 times.  Go figure.

Relief pitchers were allowed to stay in the game for more than one inning and closers were sometimes called upon to get outs in non save situations.  In game 4 The Birds had come from 6-3 down to take a 7-6 lead.  Earl Weaver was pulling all the right strings employing a successful string of pinch hitters.  With two on and one out Weaver allowed relief pitcher, Tim Stoddard, to hit.  Stoddard, being an American League pitcher,  had not had one at bat the entire season.  Of course he singled to center, driving in a run.

[John Sterling voice] That’s baseball!

Image result for 1979 pirates

 

 

 

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100: The magical number

Posted by keithosaunders on April 9, 2016

In baseball there is a number that is so sacred and  profound that no pitcher may exceed it.  Regardless of his size, endurance, and mental makeup a pitcher must exit a game after his hundredth pitch or risk a career ending injury.  Never mind that history is full of pitchers such as Bob Gibson, Warren Spahn, and Steve Carlton who inexplicably managed to have two decade plus careers flaunting the magic number, so it has been said, so it must be done.

Baseball has become a joyless, corporate, soulless, dickless, hell hole of a sport, managed by pussies and run by pencil pushing geeks who wouldn’t know Don Drysdale from Don Knotts.

Last night the Dodger rookie pitcher, Ross Stripling, was removed from a game in the 8th inning in which he was ahead 2-0 and throwing a no hitter.  Had he been allowed to flaunt science and stay in the game he could possibly have been the first pitcher to throw a no hitter since 1892.  Saber metrics won the day, as it does 95% of the time, and out came Chris Hatcher, bringing with him his customary can of lighter fluid.  Bink, blank, blunk, three pitches later the game was tied courtesy of a cantaloupe served to Giants catcher, Trevor Brown.

The Dodgers are a simpering, gutless team that deserves to lose. It’s no coincidence that they haven’t won since Tommy Lasorda years.   Lasorda was a manager who knew how to ride a hot pitcher. In 1988 he pitched Orel Hershiser with abandon, allowing him to pitch complete games and often using him on short rest — hell, he even used him out of the bullpen against the Mets in the playoffs.

In 1981 when Fernando Valenzuela was a rookie, Lasorda pitched him into the ground, letting him work late into games, well over 100 pitches. Some people think that Fernando’s career was shortened by this overuse, but you know what? WHO CARES?! The Dodgers won a World Series. RIDE HIM.

You take your rookie pitcher out of a game in which he is throwing a no hitter? That’s losing baseball. Ask the Nationals and gimp Strasberg.

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Throw out the pitch count and adopt the Keitho system

Posted by keithosaunders on August 17, 2011

Do you remember, back in the dark ages, before there was such a thing as a pitch count?  Until I was 25 I had never heard of such a thing.  Pitchers remained in the game until they were no longer effective.  What a concept. 

You didn’t see Don Drysdale or Bob Gibson exiting the game when they reached the 100 pitch count.  Who would have dared? 

I suppose I’m a little too young to remember those guys in their prime.  How about Tom Seaver or Steve Carlton?  You can even go a decade later than that into the mid ’80s.  Jack Morris and Nolan Ryan didn’t come out of the game unless they were out of gas, which they rarely were.

I want to know who was the genius that decreed that 100 pitches was the number of pitches that could be thrown by any one pitcher, regardless of stature, arm strength, or moxie?  Was it LaRussa?  Come on, it must have been LaRussa, that delicate genius. 

Why 100 pitches and not 110?  For that matter, why must it be an even number?  What if the real number all along has been 97, and it turns out that managers have been ruining pitchers for all these years.  Think of how many more quality starts you could have gotten out of Mike Pelfry had he been throwing three less pitches a game.  Check it…Pelfry has never had a quality start.

If owners and managers were smart they would listen to me, for I have the solution.  Here’s what you do:  

When a young phenom comes up from the minors, don’t baby him — throw him into the fire and let him pitch until his arm falls off.  Look, they babied Joba Chamberlin and Phil Hughes and how did that work out for the Yankees?  Don’t baby these guys — turn them into men.

The worst case scenario is that the young pitcher blows his arm out and has to pitch middle relief for the rest of his career.  This is not a bad thing!   Think of the money you have saved — you just avoided having to shell out an 80 million dollar contract. 

And what does 80 mill buy these days?  If you’re lucky you get a few good years and then the rotator cuff goes.  Or worse.  The pitcher gets his money and becomes Dontrelle Willis.  Either way…

As I say, don’t worry about blowing out arms.  There are tons more in the minors — just call up the next guy.   Move ’em in, move em’ out.  Rawhide!

Now let’s consider the potential upside of the Ketiho strategy. (tm)  You throw your young stud out there for 140 + pitches a game, and he does not self destruct, but learns to pitch out of jams.  He builds up his arm strength, and develops into an iron man good for the next 15 years.  You’ve got yourself a stud who is not afraid to face adversity.  You still have to pay him the big bucks, but now it is money well spent.

It’s a win-win situation.  You either save the money, or reap the benefits.  

You’re welcome, MLB.       

Dontrelle Willis

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