The exhibition games in Montreal lately and the talk and the Cro and the mayor and everyone trying to get the team back has me following it again big time. It's different now than 10 years ago I can tell you that much. I can say WITH CERTAINTY from what I see that most if not all of the roids are gone....at least the whacky whacky hormone ones at least.
There's things in the baseball world I missed a lot...and now that there's some hope that my team might come back....I gotta follow it again. I like the Royals, I like the Mets....I like those pitching teams...I love how the Royals run the bags.
I miss this shit, man. I do.
I wanna talk some baseball, I really fucking do, I want to talk more about the science end of the game right now though instead of something funner. I've been reading shit's that getting me up into a jabroni of a tizzy lately, I must say. I want to rap loose about the Supination vs. Pronation debate...which is not very talked about...outside of hardcore mechanic circles.
I want to first define what Supination is and what Pronation is before we even get started because... if you follow this debate online the main search result is: "What is Pronation?" and we can't have a buck debate if most maw flippers don't even know the terms even.
I'm interested in this lately because Science is coming into the equation here and it's not looking pretty. I'm not happy with University people's "findings" and the articles being published in accredited academic journals at this point. All the S vs. P meta-data journal articles were done on CADAVERS (non-living bodies)...the findings are close to useless and absurd. I'm just gonna tell you straight up what the heck all this crap is. Okay?
Let's Define These Terms of Terms
What the heck is Supination? In pitching mechanic terms we gonna deal with arms so....Supination is the act of turning the arm out as you make your arm motion....you corkscrew your arm out pointing away from yourself. It is the act of turning it "Out" and that's basically it. It's not hard to understand what Supination is.
When I was a kid at grade school, kids used to impress each other and make each other flip by turning their hands back or I used to curdle my fingers into my hand sorta...we called it beng "Double-Jointed" but that was just nonsense talk. You CAN stretch like this...it's hard...you don't need "two-joints" but you can. The thing is...why would you want to?
Now, what is Pronation?
Well if you're not OUT then you IN like Doug Flynn, no? Basically, yeah. Every human on earth who has arms...I'd say 99.9999% of humans with functioning arms....can turn their dumb arms In pretty much a billion times easier than they can turn their arms Out.
This lady for instance can pronate to the point of the arm being upside down:
|She's not "double jointed"|
|In like Flynn|
Try it right now...try to Upside Down your Arm by going In/Towards yourself and see how far you get...now try to Upside Down your Arm by going Out/Away from your body....which one was easier? Yeah if you're like any other person then In/Towards was way easier and you got farther.
That's just how our bodies are...it's plain fact. Plain as day. plain as rain. The Arm can go In way better than it can go Out. Get used to it.
What Does this Mean?
Many baseball pitches rely on Supinating the arm..an act which is not compatible with the human body. Coaches want the arm out and the hand back...both are unnatural motions to us...yet pitchers are expected to train the supination muscles in the arm to the point where they can endure throwing 100+ pitches every 4-7 days (plus training and warm up pitches). Many have trained these muscles to do that and it is downright an act of masochism.
Maybe they love the pain, I dunno. I've worked very hard jobs in my life...and I can attest that a body will develop a Love for Pain...and it feels good to deal with it and feel it and grow from it...but we have to factor in that injuries to pitchers and time spent on the disabled list is something that happens to almost every pitcher at some time in their life at this present time. Scouts, owners, coaches and the like get heart attacks when their gem of a young arm gets injured. Can pitchers who are impervious to injury be developed? Nope. Can you develop pitchers less likely to get devastating injuries? Yes.
The Scientists are getting into it and their findings so far have been jabroni-esque, I will say, many of their published findings are in the terrain of... "oh Pronation 'aint shit, baby" sort of angles...but like I said these articles being published have been on cadavers. They cut up dead arms to see how developed the S-Muscles and the P-Muscles were in dead dudes. It is data that I don't consider relevant.
Yes, as the cadaver data suggests, you can train Supination muscles to be wicked powerful and tough but you're still dealing with muscles that are not designed to do the task being assigned to them. If the dead arms had over-developed Soup muscles then good for them....it doesn't change the actual facts for living (non-dead) humans.
If you throw soup pitches for long periods of time you WILL damage your body... an incredible amount.... no matter how much you've trained those muscles. You cannot make dat funk da p-funk!
Let's Look at Two Pitches, Ok?
I'm gonna use the top Google search videos for the two popular pitches in question and then go from there....Okay?
A Supination Standard Curve Ball:
This man is teaching the 12-6 curve and he's telling kids not to "turn the door knob" too much (OUT) although the pitch is designed with the hand opening out on release...and even though he says kids shouldn't snap off and "turn the door knob" (why are door knobs designed for supination? good question)...that's how you sell this sucker...that's how you get the fuck spin off this shit...you turn the door knob on it...you SNAP OUT....you whip out and snap off OUTWARDS with the hand. This is a poorly designed pitch.
A Pronation Screw Ball (again the first how-to google result video I got, nothing fancy):
Haha, he uses the word Pronation in it. I couldn't have asked for two better videos and they just happened to be the top google search terms for "how to throw curve" and "how to throw screw."
When the screwball first came out, people hated it, it was such a break from the normal procedure that everyone thought it was so stupid...but it is designed for a HUMAN BODY and not some kind of backward ALIEN body.
It's not new to baseball....Carl Hubbell, Tug McGraw, Mike Marshall, and Fernando Valenzuela amongst others mastered it and had amazing careers. None of them had Tommy John to replace the supination muscles....in fact one of those names in the above sentence introduced Tommy John surgery to Tommy John (my homeboy Marshall). The Man of the Science Mike Marshall introduces the Baseball World to the Science World with that recommendation to Tommy John.
Semantics get in the way a bit too. Japanese pitchers love the screw ball but they refer to it as the "Shootoh" or the "Gommu Gommu No Shootoh Sanzen Sakai Hyakuhachi Poundo Ho." The Japanese LOVE the screwball and understand the science of it. Basically, "Shooto" is the name for "screw ball" in Japan. It's not, in any way/shape/form a different pitch.... it is literally the screw ball... so all the Japanese guys who throw the Shoot-Oh are screw ballers too. Watch Dice-K whip a "Gyro-Ball" which is another fancy fucking name for the screw ball:
From the 9 second mark to the 11 second mark you can see his hand go towards himself instead of away. It is 100% a beautiful pronation pitch that doesn't destroy his arm. Whether you call it a "shoot-oh" a "gyro-barrooh" or a "100 pound dying pheonix three styles succession of my ancestors pitch" it's still the pronation break pitch in physical terms.
That's the shit he threw in Japan but when he came here to the West...he had to become a standard Curve/Change/Fast/Slider pitcher.....and what did you ("you" as in those who paid him to come here) get out of it? Tommy John surgery, that's what. Let him throw two-seamers and shoot-ohs all day and he would have pitched for 10 more years for the Red Sox.
Dice, who I saw pitch as a Met at those Jays/Mets exhibtion games in Montreal live and in the flesh before they sent him to Vegas....he looked good but.. like a fish out of water, I knew something was wrong with my boy ...this Legend was okay from the age of 19-25 in the Nippon League but only lasted two full years in the American League? Why? They wanted to change his shit and they fucked up their investment. His two-seamer and shoot-oh/gyro/screwball (whatever you want to call it) combo would have lasted another decade before breaking down. Well, then again maybe he would have got homesick and went back....he's a human... when thinking in retrospect.... it's not all this "would've this and could've that business" ..though I'm sure his demotion to Las Vegas (the Macau of the West) wasn't all that of a terrible ordeal for him.
I remember, Irabu, he pitched for Montreal and probably had fun....but a as a Yankee he was tormented into suicide. He blew his head off, as my friend Hide the Ultra Bide told me. Homesick is a real disease...so I can't just say in regards to anyone "this would have been or that would have been" ..... Rest in Peace, Mr. Hideki Irabu, I saw you pitch in Montreal at Olympic Stadium live on three occasions... people think because I'm not religious that when people die it does not break my heart,, but, yeah, it does.
Sports and Science: The Universes Collide
I'm a Mister Inbetween when in comes to Sports colliding with Science. I love Science like shit and I love Baseball like crazy. I'm really a Mr. In Between when it comes to Soup versus Pro, g. In this collision of worlds...I'm like this:
Yeah, I mean...I understand the science types...they play with cadavers and dead bodies and pretend like they're smart....yet due to their non-hands-on experience they are maybe but mere jabronies. Oh wait, that song above is a little too old...I'm more modern-ish.... I'm more In Between like this kinda In Between.......
I am actually In Between. Baseball and Science are like literally my two favorite things and just like I can see why the Science World doesn't understand the Basball World... I can see why Baseball people don't like Sciencey-smart guys too. The good ole baseball boys have been doing their country-honed methods for a century and don't want any smarty pants g-units to tell them what they are doing wrong...but sadly they are doing a lot of things terribly wrong. They sit around and chew tobacco and pretend they are smart.... everyone in both worlds are sitting around just pretending they are smart... and never learning from one another.
Everyone pretends they are smart...but....when can both these worlds just Collide in Perfect Harmony? Can the things that are Right from the world of Science and the things that are Right from the World of Baseball just combine at some point and merge..and stop being perpetually In Between?
Pete Rose? Who cares, man. Honestly.
Mike Marshall is the black balled player who deserves to be a Hall of Famer. This guy deserves to have his name in the Hall of Fame....twice (for player and doctor).
Mr. In Between
Add-on Note ( Sept. 06/ 2015): I didn't find a good video of the slider the other day for one of those sections but here's a good explanation of the slider and the supination it requires to be effective:
Like Carlton and Gibson mastered...this pitch has a nasty break that moves horizontally from one end to the other....but it requires a GREAT DEAL of soup to throw it and has a high risk factor when it comes to arm damage.