Cabbie’s Prescription For Mets’ Fans
My suggestion to all Mets’ fans is to take off tomorrow and
sleep the day away. If you’re musically inclined, a little blues harp
under the light of the moon would probably being soothing to the soul.
And if you really find yourself unable to function, I would suggest a
swift and sudden tirade. Throw a chair, break a glass, pick up your
dog’s droppings with a Tommy Glavine
card. The long and short of it is to take the day and let yourself
express the agony of the worst September collapse in New York baseball
If you follow my advice I promise you’ll feel less worse on Tuesday.
And hopefully by Wednesday you’ll feel well enough to watch what should
be one heckuva postseason.
A Couple Of Playoff Notes For Non-Mets’ Fans
If you’re a Philly-fanatic, you’ve got to be ecstatic that the Padres and Rockies are playing a one game playoff tomorrow (Jake Peavy vs Josh Fogg).
Not only will the winner only have one day of rest before they travel
to Philly, but if the Padres win, the Phillies will only have to face
Jake Peavy ONCE! That’s a huge advantage for Philadelphia.
Padres’ fans might need to coalesce with Mets’ fans by the end of the
week. Besides blowing a nice wild card lead over the Rockies over the
past two weeks, they have to travel to Colorado tomorrow with the most
injury ravaged team that’s still alive for the playoffs. Their have
been plenty of signs in the past couple of weeks that karma might not
be on their side.
First, Mike Cameron gets a viral infection and misses a bunch
of games. When he finally returns last Sunday, he tears a ligament in
his thumb. His availability for the playoffs is now in doubt. Next,
they lose their best hitter, Milton Bradley, to a torn ACL when Bud Black, the Pads manager, throws a ballistic Bradley to the ground while trying to prevent
Bradley from ripping the first base umpire’s head off.
If those two major injuries weren’t enough to make Pads’ fans doubt their
team’s destiny, the Rockies win 13 of their final 14 games, including a
three game sweep of the Padres in San Diego.
Mr Padre’s Son Beats Padres—Ouch!
But, the omen of all omens that would really make me shutter if I were a Pads’ fan happened in the
bottom of the ninth on Saturday. With Corey Hart on second and the Pads one out away from clinching a playoff berth, all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman faced off against Tony Gwynn Jr.,
the son of the greatest Padre ever. Hoffman tossed eight straight
changeups at Gwynn Jr. before Gwynn hooked one into the rightfield
corner for a game tying triple. As karma would have it, the Pads would
go on to lose the game a couple of innings later.
AL Playoff Notes
Angels’ fans have to be delighted with how Kelvim Escobar pitched on Saturday. He looks good to go for Game 2 of the ALDS.
Since the Red Sox won home field advantage, they will get an extra
day off during their series with the Halos. That means they can use
just three starters if they want should the series go five games. Both Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka would be available to pitch twice on normal rest.
The Yankees on the other hand will now have to use four starters should their series go four games. That leaves Joe Torre with a big decision. Does he start veteran Mike Mussina if there’s a Game 4 or young phenom Philip Hughes? Who ever doesn’t get the Game 4 start would be up early in the bullpen for Game 3 in case Roger Clemens‘ bum hammy is still giving him problems next Sunday.
The postseason starts Wednesday, so get your rally caps ready fans,
the first round match-ups look to be the most competitive they’ve been
in quite a while.
Wed. October 3rd
Angels @ Red Sox (John Lackey vs Josh Beckett)
Cubs @ Diamondbacks (Carlos Zambrano vs Brandon Webb)
Padres or Rockies @ Phillies (Greg Maddux or Jeff Francis vs Cole Hamels)
Thurs. October 4th
Yankees @ Indians (Chien Ming Wang vs C.C. Sabathia)
My good karma gestures of the week go to the Washington Nationals. Matt Chico, you can ride in my cab for free anytime. Jason Bergmann, I will wear a "Jason Bergmann is the best pitcher in baseball t-shirt" for an entire week if you beat the Phils tomorrow. And a big Cabbie shout-out to John Maine, you were fan-FREAKIN-tastic today! Same goes for you Lastings Milledge. O’k, now back to work.
Coach Cabbie’s Pre-Game Speech To The Mets (Game 162)
I offer you nothing but tough love. I’m glad to finally see some fire in the old gut. Mets’ fans have been waiting. A matter of fact, I think Mets’ fans have shown a tremendous amount of faith and support this entire month, even through the late September slide. As players and coaches, we now need to show the same effort and heart as we’ve gotten from the fans all year long.
So, make sure you run out every ball tomorrow Reyes… Don’t leave the bat on your shoulder this time Beltran… Delgado, pay attention to that shift like you did today and keep going the other way… Watch the uppercutting Wright, we just need a bunch of base hits… Moises, lay off the inside pitch… Tommy G, do your thang… Bullpen, forget the past and throw STRIKES… And Willie, everybody but Maine should be available, including Ron Darling up in the booth if you need him. It’s now up to every single player and coach to man-up and get the job done!
Stay focused, get a good night’s rest, and let’s show some patience with Dontrelle tomorrow. No more tightness, we’ve already blown it, and thanks to Matt Chico and the Nationals we still have a shot.
So, play with all you got and stay loose as a goose. Loose as a goose, one pitch at a time… those are my Cabbie words of wisdom for ya.
So, it comes down to this— Three home games against the club with the second worse record in the NL. Three home games against a team the Mets are 10-5 against this year. Three home games against the highly dubitable troika- Byung-Hyun Kim, Chris Seddon, and Dontrelle Willis, and their combined 5.59 ERA. The Mets, they throw their three best- Oliver Perez, John Maine, and Tom "300 Wins" Glavine.
A Message From George Steinbrenner
For any Mets’ fans who are disgusted or are losing sleep over the
fact that the Phillies are now tied for first with the Mets, think of
it this way— If the Mets don’t win the division, not only don’t they
deserve to be in the playoffs, Willie Randolph and Omar Minaya need to
A Message From Cabbie
Here, Here! I hope you are listening Mets’ players, because you’ve
all played like a bunch of scared headless chickens these past two
weeks. Do you want to be the first team ever to blow a 7 game lead with
17 to play? I hope you feel the pressure, cause it might be the only
thing to wake your arses up. Enough coddling, enough wishing, enough "waiting to lose"
(as Paul lo Duca said yesterday). Enough is enough! Play like your life
depends on it, and just win the darn thing already. Mets’ fans deserve
OUCH! Watching the Mets is becoming more painful than a nightly root canal. A week ago Willie Randolphand Mets’ fans were thinking about who we should rest down the stretch
and here we are five days later crossing our nail bitten fingers, and
praying to the baseball gods that we’ll even make the playoffs. So what
the heck has gone so wrong?
A. Willie Randolph’s brain has gone numb
B. The Mets are playing the field like the Keystone Cops
C. The Mets bullpen STINKS!
D. All of the above
Auditioning For The Part Of The Scarecrow In The Wizard Of Oz
Message to Willie, STOP using Jorge Sosa, Scott Schoeneweis, Aaron Sele and
There’s a reason all four of them were still free agents a month before
the season began. Next time the Mets need a reliever before the 7th
inning, I call on all Mets’ fans to yell the name Philip Humber
at the top of their lungs. ****, we only drafted this guy in the 1st
round a couple of years ago. You’d think Willie would want to find out
if he could help the weakest part of this team. Look how it panned out
for Joe Torre when he gave Joba Chamberlain and Edwar Ramirez a shot.
6 errors in one game! 12 errors in 4 games! Willie, make this team
play Pepper every day for the next two weeks. If that doesn’t tighten
things up, hire a Lasik surgeon as your team doctor and petition the
commissoner for an extra fielder.
Firemen or Arsonists?
The four aformentioned arsonists have pitched a combined 262.1 innings this year to the tune of a 5.11 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP. If you subtract the 80 IP
Sosa threw as a starter, these four account for 48% of the Mets’
bullpen innings this season. Willie needs to watch more basketball. In
the NBA, there’s an old strategy teams employ during the stretch run,
it’s called "shortening the rotation".
Time to face the hard facts Willie- You have two pretty good relievers, Aaron
Heilman and Pedro Feliciano, and a lights out closer, Billy Wagner. You
need at least two more reliable guys for the playoffs. You have 12
games to find out who they are.
The time has come to make bold moves. With Pedro "Maestro" Martinez
back in the fold, the Mets have five starters. That means one of them
is going to end up in the bullpen SHOULD we make the playoffs. Tom Glavine and Martinez are the top two starters, and Oliver Perez is way too wild to count on to enter a game with men on base. So, there are only two choices- Orlando Hernandez and John Maine. While El Duque has pitched in relief before, his body is just too finicky at his age to
be counted on to pitch every two or three days. That leaves the young and fresh arm of John Maine.
While Maine has been god-awful the past two months, most of his
troubles have come the third time through a lineup. And for good
reason, he lacks a solid third pitch. But, the two good pitches he does
have are more than enough for him to be successful for an inning or
two. His fastball/slider combination is a deadly duo that could work
perfectly in a seventh or eight inning role.
Unfortunately, Omar Minaya made some bad decisions after the
All-Star break. Not adding an arm before the trade deadline could prove
to be the Mets’ downfall. Not adding Humber or Kevin Mulvey
(the Mets’ minor league pitcher of the year) before September has
limited the Mets’ options even further come playoff time, since neither
would be eligible for the playoff roster.
Cabbie Recipe For Success
The good news is that all is not lost, and the Mets are still
leading the Phillies in this race to the ribbon. Remember Mets’ fans,
the Cardinals were stumbling to the finish line in similar fashion last
year. But, it is time for Willie and his crew to wake up. So, here’s my
Cabbie recipe for repairing this train wreck of a bullpen:
1. Get John Maine prepared for a late inning role NOW!
2. Use Philip Humber and Mike Pelfrey as much as needed over the next two weeks.
3. Soak El Duque’s foot in Epson-salt.
My father recorded Phil Rizzuto as a singer in the 1950′s, when he produced two of baseball’s classic songs for his Golden Records Label.
Click below to listen to rare version of two classic baseball songs:
Sung by Phil Rizzuto, Roy Campanella, Tommy Heinrich and Ralph Branca
Care of Golden Records-1953 (Arthur Shimkin)
Carrying on the legacy of one’s father can be an inspired and sometimes
daunting task. In baseball, bloodlines have always proven helpful in
procurring an opportunity to play professionally. While the sons of
ex-major leaguers may grab a scouts attention more easily than most,
they also have the burden of living up to a very high standard of
success. In the end, every ballplayer will be judged on the fruits of
his own labor. A last name might get you to A-ball, but no major league
team is going to give you a job just because your last name is Rose,
Clemens, or Griffey.
Here is a list of the children of present and ex-major leaguers
playing minor league ball today. I’ve also included the sons of major
league general managers (GM) and a couple of other interesting kin that
you should know about.
By clicking on a son’s name you can see where
he is playing and follow along statistically as the 2007 season
progresses. By clicking on a father’s name you can see his career
The children’s ages are in ( ) next to their
names. The minor league level they are playing at currently is in ( )
next to the major league team they are affiliated with. There is a key
at the bottom of this page that explains the minor league levels’
abbreviations if you are unfamiliar with them. If you are aware of a
player I have missed, you can e-mail me here at Inside Pitch at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add him to the list.
*This is the original research of sports writer and researcher Carl Shimkin (the author of this blog)
Son Org/Level Father
A Cup Of Coffee
Been Around The Block
Too Early To Tell
Just Drafted (2007)
1B Beau Mills (20) Indians (1st Rd.) Brad Mills
C Austin Romine (18) Yankees (2nd Rd.) Kevin Romine
SS Andrew Romine (21) Angels (5th Rd.)
SS Garth Iorg Jr. (21) Tigers (6th Rd.) Garth Iorg
P Parker Frazier (18) Rockies (8th Rd.) George Frazier
P James Russell (21) Cubs (14th Rd.) Jeff Russell
3B Joey Paciorek (18) Brewers (15th Rd.) Jim Paciorek
P Brent Lysander (22) Athletics (16th Rd.) Rick Lysander
2B Justin Bass (18) Angels (21st Rd.) Kevin Bass
OF Charles Bass (22) Nationals (42nd Rd.)
C Matt Wallach (21) Dodgers (22nd Rd.) Tim Wallach
2B Colin Kaline (18) Tigers (25th Rd.) Al Kaline
Two’s A Charm
P Brett Bannister (23) Mariners (R-AZL)
C Dusty Wathan (33) Phillies (AAA)
OF Scott Van Slyke (21) Dodgers (A)
3B Josh Lansford (23) Cubs (A)
Dad’s Got Connections
(Sons of Former and Present GM)
South Of The Border
On The Air
(Grandson of Hall of Fame Baseball Announcer)
(Nephew of Hall of Fame Boxer)
Happy As A Clown
(Grandson of Bob Bell aka Bozo The Clown)
Minor Leagues’ Abbreviation Key
AAA Triple A-ball
AA Double A-ball
A-ADV Single A-ball (advanced)
A Single A-ball
A-SS Single A-ball (short season)
R Rookie League
GCL Gulf Coast League
AZL Arizona League
ML Spent time in the Major Leagues this season
*Mexican League is not affiliated with any specific Major League team
**A Sandwich Pick in the draft is a compensatory pick between the 1st & 2nd rounds.
Carl the Cabbie
Is their anything more durable than history? Current home run king Henry Aaron has publicly said he won’t be in attendance when Barry Bonds eventually passes him to take his place a top the all-time home run list. And though he has yet to declare it, Comissioner Bud Seligmost likely will be elsewhere also. In fact, many baseball fans will
choose to turn away when the greatest record in baseball finally falls.
Yet, no matter how many asterisks one might want to add next to Bonds’
name; no matter how many remotes decide to jump channels; no matter how
many references to HGH or steroids line the daily sports’ sections,
when Barry Bonds does finally hit # 756, baseball HISTORY will be made!
In 1921 when Babe Ruth hit # 139 to pass Roger Connor as the
all-time home run king, the historical impact was muted considerably
because of the infancy of the home run record. Because Ruth went on to
hit so many more long balls than Connor, the historical significance of
Connor’s home runs became even more insignificant. But like fine wine,
baseball records become so much finer with the mere passage of time. 53
years after Ruth established himself as The Sultan Of Swat, Hank Aaron
hit the most famous home run in baseball history. When Aaron hit # 715
off of Al Downing, he not only broke Ruth’s record, but he gave the 714
home runs Ruth hit greater historical context. Ruth had set the bar.
But, until Aaron had raised it, there was no one to really compare Ruth
with. Simply, Aaron’s 715th home run meant so much to the history of
baseball because he had Ruth’s 714 home runs to build on.
Once Bonds’ reaches the new magical number, there will probably be a
frenzy of articles penned all across the country supporting the notion
that Hammering Hank should still be the rightful champion of the long
ball. But, ‘shoulds’ have never made anything so, and that is why # 756 will go down as the most famous home-run in the annals of baseball.
Ironically, just as all the racial tension surrounding Aaron’s chase of the Babe added an extra facet to the story of # 715,
all the hoopla in the media about the possible illegitimacy of Bonds’
home-run chase, because of performance enhancing drugs, will make # 756
an even more fascinating historical event. Fans, journalists,
congressman, and even the Commissioner can opine ad nauseam on the
legitimacy of Bonds’ home run chase. But, while the opinions of many
might color history, it can never undo it. Barring injury or federal
indictment, the summer of 2007 will go down as the summer Barry Bonds
passed Hank Aaron as the all-time home run king.
Present Home Run Total Home Runs Needed
In 1974, for very different reasons, Los Angeles Dodgers’ teammates Tommy John and Mike Marshall
catalyzed two of the most profound discoveries for pitchers in modern
baseball history. The more famous of the discoveries was due to the
efforts of renowned surgeon Dr. Frank Jobe, who would perform
the first UCL (Ulnar Collateral Ligament) transplant surgery on a MLB
pitcher. Jobe would take a tendon from another part of John’s body and
reconstruct John’s shredded elbow ligament with it. The implanted
tendon would fortify John’s elbow and act as a ligament. The result was
bionic! Instead of having his career cut short at the age of 31, John
would go on to pitch another 15 years, win 20 games in three different
seasons, and another 164 games overall. The famous surgery was coined
after it’s initial patient and became known as "Tommy John" surgery. In the last 33 years the procedure has saved the careers of hundreds upon hundreds of major league pitchers.
When John underwent the first procedure, the odds of him pitching again
were 100-1. Now around 85% of pitchers who undergo the surgery return
to pre-surgery performance levels within about two years. The surgery
has become so popular that many young pitchers are having it performed
even when their elbow ligament damage is minimal. In many young
pitcher’s eyes the surgery is inevitable and they would rather get it
out of the way sooner rather than later. According to Dr. James Andrews (the foremost "Tommy John" surgeon)
the most common age group now to have the procedure is between 10-18
years of age. This startling fact begs the question, is elbow ligament
transplant surgery, as well as the plethora of other devastating arm
injuries preventable? Or are these injuries just a reality for young
arms that, more than ever, push the radar gun close to 100 mph?
The Marshall Plan
The same year John became the successful guinea pig for modern day
surgery, Mike Marshall accomplished a feat that would challenge the
traditional idea that arm injuries were an inevitable result of being a
professional pitcher. In 1974 Marshall won the NL Cy Young Award by
pitching in a phenomenal 106 games. More phenomenal were the other
records Marshall set by pitching 208 1/3 relief innings that year, and
at one point throwing in 13 consecutive games. Overall, Marshall went
15-12 with 21 saves and a 2.42 ERA. He was injury-free for the rest of
Most everyone in baseball including John thought Marshall was just a
physical freak of nature. But, there was a method to Marshall’s
ability, a very scientific method that drew heavily on Sir Issac Newton’s "Laws of Motion". Marshall has dedicated himself to learning and teaching now for almost 40 years.
In 1967 after experiencing shoulder soreness while pitching for the
Detroit Tigers, Marshall began to apply his love for science and
research to himself. He wondered what was causing his soreness and went
about experimenting with the mechanics of how he threw to rid himself
of the discomfort. The discoveries Marshall would make were
groundbreaking in the science of bio-mechanics applied to the throwing
of a baseball. In 1978 Marshall, while still pitching for the Minnesota
Twins, obtained his Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology. Over the next 29
years Marshall would continue to develop his ideas on the best
mechanics to throw a baseball.
For those unfamiliar with Marshall’s work, here are some highlights
of the mechanics behind Marshall’s method. The scientific explanation
for Marshall’s ideas are pretty complex, so I’ve done my best to
simplify them here. I’ve also linked to a video of a Marshall student throwing a baseball
with these techniques. Unfortunately, the video is from Yahoo, so
there’s a thirty second commercial before the video begins. But, it’s
worth checking out:
1- Sir Isaac Newton’s "First and Second Laws of Motion"
teach that in any movement the direction of the force is the same as
the direction of the acceleration. The most efficient and powerful
movement is that which moves in a straight line. Because of this
Marshall believes that pitchers should apply all of their movement in a
straight-line force towards home plate. Any windup that requires you to
turn your body away from the plate he believes is inefficient and
causes extra stress to the arm. Marshall teaches a pendulum windup much
like a softball pitcher uses or some of the pitchers from the early
part of the nineteenth century.
2- Hidden Velocity- Marshall
teaches pitchers to release the ball from their hand later than
traditional approaches. He claims this will add extra velocity to a
3- Pronation of the Forearm-
This means that a pitcher should turn his palm away from his pitching
arm with the thumb pointing downwards upon follow though. This movement
relieves stress in the elbow and shoulder and prevents the forearm bone from slamming into the upper arm bones.
4- Rear Foot Forward- Pointing
the rear foot forward off of the pitching rubber alleviates stress to
the knee and hip joint while also preventing groin pulls.
5- Throw in a Back To Forward Motion- Marshall claims that throwing across one’s body causes extra stress to the arm that will cause many types of injuries.
6- No Leg Kick- As Marshall puts it, "Stand still and then lift your foot about four feet in front of you. How’s your balance?".
By teaching pitchers to move their foot forward without a kick,
Marshall believes that one has a stronger center of gravity to exert
7- Hand Under The Ball- Pitchers who throw with their hand on top of the ball are prone to rotator cuff and Ulnar Collateral Ligament problems.
These are just a few of the ideas Marshall teaches to improve a
pitcher’s health with his mechanics. To understand more fully, one
really might want to take an anatomy class.
Marshall claims that if pitchers learned his methods, 95% percent of
arm injuries would be preventable including Rotator Cuff problems and
the infamous "Tommy John" injury and. Marshall’s book, Coaching Baseball Pitchers (can be read free on the internet) should probably be on the nightstand of every pitching coach in baseball. So, why isn’t it?
Don’t Wanna Hear It!
Lack of exposure is one reason. Recently though, Jeff Passan
opened Pandora’s box and re-introduced Marshall to the baseball
community in his expose "Outside Pitch" on
Yahoo.com. As Passan’s article articulates, the answer to why organized
baseball has turned a blind eye to Marshall probably lies somewhere
between ignorance and opportunity. In the mid-nineties Marshall sent a
letter to every GM offering his services. Not one replied. Major league
GMs are afraid to send Marshall top-tier talent because the mechanics
he teaches are a direct challenge to the traditional mechanics that
baseball coaches have been teaching for the past 130 years. As Braves
GM John Schuerholz explains,
"It’s so far afield from the traditional,
normal method… Not many people I’ve talked to would be comfortable
embracing a concept that’s so diametrically opposed to the teachings of
If baseball was to adopt Marshall’s ideology they’d basically be
indicting themselves for teaching inferior mechanics. In a recent
conversation I had with Marshall, he shared with me his frustration
from the fact that most pitching coaches have a very limited knowledge
of biomechanics and science which creates a gap in communication, if
not a total brain freeze.
"The minute I start talking to any
pitching coach about the science their faces go blank," Marshall says,
"But, when I give a lecture at any major university, I get a standing
Marshall makes no bones about what he thinks of baseball’s power
brokers. He thinks that the traditional mechanics that they teach
pitchers actually cause most of the arm injuries.
"I got tired of appeasing the stupid… How
long does a blond have to act like a ***** before she gets a date?
These people (in organized baseball) are idiots. They don’t know a ****
thing. The thing is, they’re powerful. They get the kids and can
destroy them. And they do."
If one looks around the majors today, it would be hard to argue with
Marshall’s contention that the traditional pitching mechanics that are
taught contribute to and may cause most arm injuries. Currently, in the
major leagues their are roughly 360 pitchers. If one were to look at
the injury list, one would find that 73 pitchers or a little over 20%
of major league pitchers are currently on the Disable List (DL) or
day-to-day with elbow or shoulder injuries. This number does not
include back, leg, rib, or other arm injuries. It also doesn’t include
the many minor leaguers that are suffering from arm injuries.
So are these injuries really inevitable? Or as Marshall insists, can
95% of them be prevented by learning his throwing mechanics? And if
pitchers did adopt Marshall’s mechanics could they still pitch as
effectively? You’d think that at least one GM might want to give
Marshall a shot to prove his ideas at the major league level. What
would a GM like the Cubs’ Jim Hendry really have to lose by sending some of his MASH patients like Mark Prior or Kerry Wood over to Marshall’s school in Zephyrhills, Florida for a few months?
For the answers to these question and more
insight into Dr. Mike Marshall’s theories on pitching, tune into
BASEBALL TALK w/Carl the Cabbie & Dugout Joe this Sunday, May 20th
at 1:00 PM. If you have a question you’d like to ask Dr. Marshall you
can call in between 1:00-2:00 at 646-478-4570. Just click HERE
to go listen to this week’s show or any of our past shows. Also, if any
MLBloggers would like to be a guest on our show to talk about and
promote their blog, just e-mail us at email@example.com.
Carl The Cabbie
Alrighty folks… if you haven’t heard yet, there’s a new show in town! Carl The Cabbie and Dugout Joe have started the most provocative baseball podcast in the blogosphere. The show is aptly named BASEBALL TALK and can be heard at http://blogtalkradio.com/baseballtalk. We air live every week and all past shows can be listened to in our archives. This week is our third show and can be heard LIVE on Saturday, 5/12 at 1:00 PM. We welcome any baseball fans or bloggers to call in between 1:00-2:00 PM at 646-478-4570. You can also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or interesting tid-bits.
Since both Dugout Joe (DUGOUT DIARIES) and myself (INSIDE PITCH) are very active MLBloggers we will be interviewing other MLBloggers throughout the season. If any MLBbloggers would like to be on our show to promote their blogs, you can e-mail us at the above address. This week we will entertain MLBlogger Zack Hample aka The Baseball Collector. Zack recently published his second book, Watching Baseball Smarter, and on May 7th snagged his 3000th baseball at Yankee Stadium.
The following week, Saturday May 19th, is also shaping up to be a very interesting show as we will be interviewing former major league reliever and the 1974 NL Cy Young Award winner, Dr. Mike Marshall. Or who I like to call, Dr. Feelgood!
Since retiring from baseball Dr. Marshall has attained a Ph.D. in Biomechanics and has worked extensively to prevent pitchers from injury by teaching his revolutionary pitching mechanics. Over the past 25 years Marshall has researched, experimented with and presented a body of work that he claims would prevent almost all the arm injuries that most pitchers suffer from. Coming from a guy who holds the records for most relief appearances in a season (106), most relief innings in a season (208), and most consecutive games pitched in (13), all young pitchers might want to tune in for this special interview with Dr. Mike Marshall.
On a writing note, I apologize for my absence from the blogosphere of late and will be contributing
regularly again as soon as I finish this entry. So, look forward to the return INSIDE PITCH. We will have a Mets’ update shortly. And be sure to check out this week’s episode of BASEBALL TALK w/Carl the Cabbie and Dugout Joe, the best baseball podcast in the blogosphere, this Saturday, May 12th at 1:00 PM. Just click here http://blogtalkradio/baseballtalk and enjoy!
Carl the Cabbie
A few weeks ago while in the midst of another long cold night of hacking it, I was slumped behind my steering wheel and stuck in yet another traffic jam from **** along the West Side Highway. The only thing that kept me going was baseball, baseball, and more baseball. With opening day a little less than a month away, I was in baseball delirium. Who would make the 25-man rosters? Who were the top rookies? How many fantasy leagues should I enter in this year? My wheels were spinning, I had to get out of this traffic jam, the April itch needed some scratching.
As if the baseball gods were listening, the next day I got a message from my brother inviting me to go down to Fort Myers for the weekend to visit our cousin and take in some Twins’ spring training. Hallelujah! I packed my sports illustrated duffel bag, grabbed my lap-top, and like the birdies, flew south with my Cabbie crew (brother Tony and 8-year old nephew Isaiah) for some sun, fun, and a whole lotta hardball.
I could probably lull you guys into a pleasant slumber with details about the luxury hotel that my brother sprang for, which included a heated pool, a water slide, a lazy river pool, a jacuzzi, an excellent buffet breakfast, and a hole-in-one golf patch in the middle of a lake. And while I am very grateful for this royal treatment, make no mistake, the best part of this vacation was not the swirling soft baked cinnamon french toast (though it was rather scrumptious!), no the jewel of this adventure was Twins’ spring training camp!
The first morning, I jumped on my lap-top, tossed a pen to my nephew and relayed the names and
numbers of all the Twins players so he would know who to ask for autographs. My brother barked about being charged $5 for the bottled Figi water, "I can’t believe they’re charging for the water, for the amount I’m paying… I can’t believe it!", while he packed the video camera. By 9:30 we were on the road. We rolled into the Lee County Sporting Complex at about 10:00 and I got my first glimpse of Bill Hammond Stadium. I was giddy with excitement. Just a few nights earlier I was honking my way down third avenue on my way toward the Bowery, and now here I was passing through Blyleven Lane, Mauch Manor and Puckett Pkwy. If one saw my nephew and I in the car at that moment, they would have a hard time making out who was the 8-year old.
My cousin Andy and his son, little Barry, met us inside the complex.
Andy, a local sportswriter, played tour guide and introduced us to some
of the Twins’ players and personnel. So, here at INSIDE PITCH we send a
big Cabbie "Thank You" to cousin Andy!
Now without further ado I welcome you to the Vlog portion of this Twins’ spring training exclusive!
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We decided to get in a little practice just in case the Twins’ split
squads were a little shorthanded. I taught my nephew Isaiah how to
throw the mysterious Gyroball and he tested it out on little Barry.
were called on to pinch hit.
Next, we sidled over to the batting cage to make sure Jason Bartlett
and Mike Redmond were keeping their head down and eye on the ball.
Hanging out in the stands of Bill Hammond Stadium watching the Twins
take batting practice sure beats sitting in traffic on the West Side
Highway any day!
During spring training players are always testing out new bats.
Here’s an interesting interview with X-bats owner Jack Kasarjian.
X-bats are the second most used bat in the major leagues next to
Louisville Slugger. Almost 300 players used X-bats last year including
Day one at camp ended with us buying some memorabilia in the Twins’
store. We headed back to the pool and hit the water slide. Since my
nephew Isaiah and I had some time to kill, we decide to teach little
Barry some new vocabulary and came up with a very creative game where
we decided to rename everyone who passed by us. Ode to be eight years
We started out with a little breakfast by the pool before heading
back to training camp to watch Cousin Andy take part in a charity
softball game between the local sportswriters. The game was organized
by the Twins as a "thank you" to the writers. Bert Blyleven, maybe the
greatest curveball pitcher of all time, pitched and managed one team.
The great Tony Oliva managed my cousin’s team. The game was loads of
fun and getting to chat and fact check the "roster options" rule
(which I recently wrote about) with GM Terry Ryan was a nice caveat
Well, Cousin Andy ended up 1 for 3 but unfortunately his team went
down to defeat 9-5. To blow off some steam we decided to head to the
"Speed Gun" booth and throw some fastballs as hard as we could. Plus,
we heard rumors that anyone who threw got a free Twins’ baseball. In
between a "Star Spangled Banner" singing contest and chow time, we
chatted with a few more players before enjoying a special lunch thrown
by the Twins for all the writers. They had one of those business
cards-in-a-hat contests with the winner getting an autographed Tori
Hunter Super Doll. Guess who won?
After lunch we went back to the hotel to lounge about in the lazy
river pool. Thank god we didn’t take a dip in the lake next to the
hotel, cause it might have turned into an ugly scene from Jurassic
The next morning we flew out of Ft. Lauderdale and back to the grind
of New York. But, boy did I feel refreshed. This little adventure was
exactly what this Cabbie needed. Thanks to Cousin Andy, Kevin W. Smith
(Twins’ Executive Director of Public Affairs), Mike Herman (Twins’
Manager of Baseball Communications) and all the great people who
organized Twins’ spring training camp. It’s good to know that their are
still organizations out their that understand the importance of and the
value of the fan. Twins’ spring training was a FAN-tastic experience
and gets this Cabbie’s endorsement as a great vacation experience. With
opening day in the books and the season now under way there’s only one
thing left to say, "PLAY BALL!".
Carl The Cabbie’s "Herb Carneal" Contest
This last set of videos is a fun loving tribute to "The Voice of the
Twins", Herb Carneal, who passed away on April 1st at the age of 83.
Carneal was the Twins’ the play-by-play was for Twins’ radio broadcasts
since 1962. He received the Ford C. Frick award from the Baseball Hall
of Fame in 1996 and was a member of the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting
Hall of Fame. Another great Minnesota radio personality Garrison
Keillor once wrote this in honor of Carneal:
"Just give me two pillows and a bottle of beer.
And the Twins’ game on radio next to my ear.
Some hark to the sound of the loon or the teal.
But, I love the voice of Herb Carneal".
in honor of Carneal, here is a group of Twins’ players and personnel
pretending that Barry Bonds is on the cusp of Henry Aaron’s home run
record. We asked each of them to give there best radio call for Barry
Bonds’ potential tiebreaking 756th home run. I ask that you vote in the
comment section for who you think gave the best call.