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Blue Jays 4, Pirates 2, exhibition

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates vs. Toronto Blue Jays, exhibition

Time: 1:05 p.m.

Site: Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, Dunedin, Fla.

TV, radio: None

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates pageRob Biertempfel and photographer Chris Horner are on the scene.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. With this line-up, looks like Bucs are not driving to be undefeated in Spring Training. Probably win 8-2.

    Back in November I thought Adam Lind would be playing 1st Base for the Pirates in this game. Either he or Justin Smoak.

  2. Jim S. says:

    If it is true that they wanted Neil Walker for Lind, then we had no choice but to give up on him. What we don’t know is whether they would be more flexible now.

    I am with you on Smoak, Groat, and have been calling for that for awhile. Again, I don’t know the specifics of what is being requested.

    Looks like Lambo & McGuinness will be given every opportunity to prove they can hit LHP, and Gaby may be the next option.

  3. JohninOshkosh says:

    Garrett Jones just homered for the Marlins against the Redbirds.

    Friggin’ Huntington!

  4. Patrick(ri) says:

    Anybody notice what Duquesne did to the Billikens? The best bb coach in Pittsburgh May not be the guy in the Italian suits!

  5. Nate83 says:

    Say hello to this years Bautista or Moss. This team never knows when it’s the right time to give up on a player.

    Seriously I wish Jones the best. I always liked him and hated to see him struggle last year. I don’t think the Pirates could justify paying him what he would have gotten in a messed up arbitration system that always gives a raise in a business the job performance is so easy to calculate. They rolled the dice that they could spend that money on another option for first base. Unfortunately they came up snake eyes and they ended up with nothing.

  6. JohninOshkosh says:


  7. JRay3 says:

    Watching the game on the MLB at Bat app via the Toronto broadcast, and the Buccos have strung together a El Toro double, Gaby Sanchez ground out to move Alvarez to third, a Tony Sanchez walk and just now a Matt Hague RBI single to get Buccos on the board.

    Looking forward to seeing Jamison Taillion pitch today, have to like the foreseeable future with arms like Cole and Taillon manning the top of the rotation and Morton locked up in a multi-year deal.

    One last quick note, saw Bryan Morris and Chris Stewart agent the other day at the Donuts for Dad event at my little ones school. Shared with me the text Bryan sent him after the spring training opener where Morris threw a scoreless inning, and stated he accomplished his goal of pounding the strike zone with 6 of his 8 pitches for strikes. Was told management is using this year to see if Morris can be a back end guy with Grilli seeing his contract expire at end of season. Also, told me Pirate pitchers have been raving about Chris Stewart’s defensive abilities and pitch framing, said he will serve as a perfect backup catcher.

  8. JRay3 says:

    Far better second inning of work for Cole who uses a 95 MPH fastball to get Johnson looking, induces a soft ground out of Iztures and than uses three quick pitches, curve, fast ball, fast ball to ring up a second K looking.

    Nice opening day of work for Cole who mixed in the curve a bit with his fast ball keeping batters off balance, the double Navarro hit was at his shoe laces and was just a really good piece of hitting.

  9. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t want to be considered a Negative Nellie or anything, but I’m beginning to get the impression the Buccos won’t be undefeated in ST.

  10. JRay3 says:

    The guy in the Italian suits and his squad roughed up Duquesne by 17 this season. Think Pitt is just fine with a guy with a career 283-93 mark and poised for his 10th NCAA appearance in 11 seasons as the head man.

    Nonetheless, great win for the Dukes last night, have to go back decades to find a win of that magnitude for that program.

  11. JRay3 says:

    Taillon with a scoreless inning of work in the third only allowing a soft infield single. Looked very composed up on the hill and working all parts of the strike zone.

  12. cmat0829 says:

    Bautista is in a category by himself, no doubt NH messed that one up, especially since there was no reason not to give him a chance to play himself into a starting role on that club.

    But it’s pretty much a stretch to cite Brandon Moss as someone that ANYONE would fault the Pirates for not giving him enough of a chance. At the time, I’m sure there were hundreds of blog posts begging the Pirates to pull the plug on him.

    These AAAA-types of players have talent, have pedigree and so ‘it’s in there’ if they can just figure out how to get it done consistently at the MLB level. As the Pirates get better, they will have less and less ability to be patient and to give these types of players a shot to ‘figure it out’. That’s a good thing.

    If Moss — and even Jones this year — go somewhere where they can get a shot to figure it out and do, then the only thing we should say is ‘good for them’. Garrett Jones had every chance to be the starting 1B this year by PROVING HE COULD DO IT ALL LAST YEAR. He failed.

    I can’t see how the Pirates can keep improving if they keep players like Jones in the lineup, especially if you factor in the $$ you’d have to pay him. So much better to give Lambo his chance than to run Jones out there again in 2014, IMHO.

  13. JRay3 says:

    Bucs tie it up on RBI double by Gaby Sanchez who goes right field line to bring in Alvarez who is having a day himself. Best part of the hit is that it came off a RHP.

  14. cmat0829 says:

    Not to start a controversy or anything, but ON THE FIELD Neil is overrated in my opinion. Now, he’s the Pittsburgh kid and has a ton of intangibles…and he can hopefully prove me wrong by being healthy all year and hitting like he is capable of….. but he’ll have to prove it to me.

    So… I wouldn’t hang up the phone on any trade offers that ask for Neil…..

    NOW THAT SAID, let’s be careful not to overrate Lind…. are we sure he isn’t another Overbay waiting to happen all over the well-intentioned Pirates? I kind of agree with NH so far… no 1B option has me chomping at the bit… not Ike Davis, not Lind, not Moreland, not Smoak. Are they better than Gaby vs. RHP? No doubt. Are we sure Lambo won’t bring his power to bear at PNC Park? I’m not closing the book on that. So, choice is bring a LH 1B that is marginal to decent… and if we do, we close the book on Lambo. In December I was 90% in the camp of bring in a 1B, any 1B… I now am 75% in the “FreeLambo” camp.

  15. Baywatch says:

    Afternoon, Gang!

  16. NMR says:

    Sarcasm goggles, cmat.

  17. Baywatch says:

    Get thee behind me, Satan! :-)

  18. JRay3 says:

    And a quick and efficient nine pitches for Taillon to go 1-2-3 in the 4th inducing a ground out, line out and lazy fly to get in his two innings of work.

    I know he gets compared the Cards Michael Wacha a lot due to the Texas connection, but there size and frames are very similar as well up on the hill.

  19. NMR says:

    Hey Bay!

  20. Jandy says:

    Howdy again, Bay :)

  21. cmat0829 says:

    sorry, spring training, hadn’t gotten the goggles in full game mode yet. :)

    It is an interesting dilemma though… how much rope to give players with pedigree before you pull the plug…

  22. cmat0829 says:

    I like the acquisition of Stewart a lot. Fort was a heckuva guy, but he was a AAA catcher defensively at best. And at that position you need to prioritize defense. The only downside is Sanchez has to go to Indy… I am really starting to like what Tony brings to the team… but I do think it is best for him to play everyday vs. 1 a week on the Bucs.

    If I’m the Pirates, I’d definitely plan for some convenience list time for Stewart to give Tony another 2-3 week exposure to the majors, all part of getting ready for 2015.

  23. Arriba Wilver says:


  24. Baywatch says:

    Andy Oliver: The Guy Who Should’ve Been DFA’d when we got “The Island Of Dr. Morel!”

  25. JRay3 says:

    Barmes makes an incredible diving stop to get Iztures to open bottom half of 5th, at least his defense is in mid-season form.

    Andy Oliver in, what an intriguing LHP prospect he could become if he can cut down his BB/9 rate, has swing and miss stuff, but command continues to be a problem, and with that he walks second batter of inning.

  26. NMR says:

    There is almost no doubt that Sanchez will get a good look this year due to injuries. When was the last time both catchers survived 162 games unscathed?

    I think an interesting situation to watch within the division will be the maturation of Devin Mesoraco and Tony Sanchez. Mesoraco is the far superior talent and prospect, but he was jerked around between starting and sitting for long periods on the Reds bench for the last two seasons. I’ve read several pundits wonder if this has harmed his development.

  27. JRay3 says:

    Hey Bay!

    Did you think the Pirates made a mistake with Chase D’Arnaud? Really don’t think there was much a future for a guy who at best could be a late inning pinch runner.

  28. Baywatch says:

    Fred McGriff! How in the world do you retire with 493 home runs! Surely the guy should have hung around long enough to get 7 more bombs!

  29. JRay3 says:

    Very interesting take. I think one more season of polishing will do Sanchez well, primarily from the defensive end of the game, certainly has shown he should fair well enough with his stick.

    Other thing to consider is the team will find ways to use his bat in inter-league games so Sanchez will get a fair amount of time with the Parent club this season in probably a variety of ways.

  30. NMR says:

    Ha, Nate is a master of the sarcastic arts. He’s roped me in many a times. ;)

    You’re certainly correct, though. There are definitely players that make you wish teams had more than three options.

  31. Jim S. says:

    Meant, RHP.

  32. Thundercrack says:

    Last night I watched a few innings of yesterday’s game.

    Matt Hague cannot play third base.
    It was obvious yesterday. The Yankee announcers even commented on how many routine plays he botched.

  33. JRay3 says:

    Oliver walks the bases loaded, and than gets Rasmus to bounce harmlessly to the mound but Oliver can not field it cleanly which leads to a run scoring to give Jays the lead.

    As we will hear once the games count, walks hurt.

  34. Milo Hamilton says:


  35. Baywatch says:

    Oh, I don’t think they made a mistake, really. Not much of a future here for Chase. But Oliver’s been around a long time and hasn’t shown much … Still, I can see why they’d want to hang onto a pitcher instead of an infielder with no future much.

  36. Bizrow says:

    JRay, did you get the link/invite?

  37. Nate83 says:

    No biggie, it is really tough to know how much rope to give a player. For what it’s worth 4 teams in 4 years didn’t give Bautista enough rope.

    It’s nice when somebody like that just drops in your lap like he did for Toronto. I’m sure they didn’t think they where receiving the player they got. They probably thought they where receiving a bench player or AAA depth. Who knows it’s possible they wanted a different player and the Pirates talked them into Bautista. Two years from now we may be asking how did we get so lucky to get Stolmy in the Hanrahan deal. He definitely wasn’t the center piece of the deal. Sands and Melancon seemed like the more important pieces.

  38. Milo Hamilton says:

    Andy Oliver just walked the policeman patrolling the parking lot at the Dunedin Public Library.

  39. Jim S. says:

    Got you on Walker not being a superstar by any means, cmat. I don’t think you’d get an argument from anyone on that. But, I think he is an upper half of MLB 2b. We don’t have a replacement ready at that position who is anywhere near as good. So, I don’t see how we could entertain trading him w/o a plan for 2b involved. JHay won’t get it done there, and if you slid Jordy over full-time, then Barmes would be playing everyday.

    I don’t get why everyone always talks about “The Pittsburgh Kid” stuff. Hasn’t Walker proven that he is at least a legit starter in this league? To me, he has. If he wasn’t from Pittsburgh, it would not be said as often that he is not worthy of a starting spot IMO.

    That said, he should not play vs. LHP, in my opinion.

    But, until Hanson or someone else is ready, he’s it. They traded away Herrera, who projected to be their future 2b.

  40. JRay3 says:

    And Andy Oliver should just probably “walk” right back over to minor league camp.

  41. The Gunner says:

    Matt Hague is turning into (or has already become) another Steve Pearce.

  42. The Gunner says:

    and probably keep on walking

  43. Jim S. says:

    Garrett Jones is not Moss or Bautista. He may one or two decent seasons left, but I don’t think he’s much better, if at all, than whatever alternative they end up with. It does irk me that they didn’t replace him with someone like Smoak, but I still don’t think he’s a huge loss.

  44. Jim S. says:

    +++, JRay, all the way through – including the part about the great win for the Dukes, which we discussed at length on DK’s blog this morning.

    Jamie is not Coach K, but Pitt can (and almost always has) done worse.

  45. JRay3 says:


    I’ve looked in my spam, everywhere and did not get it.

  46. Nate83 says:

    Just ask yourself if we didn’t pick up Stewart what shape the Pirates would be in if Martin or Sanchez got hurt. The Cards found out last year how important it is to have at least 3 catching options.

    Last year it seemed like there was at least 2 or 3 stretches where Martin seemed close to needing to go on the DL. Martin is pretty athletic for a catcher plus I think he’s a grinder that plays injured but I agree it’s inevitable that at some point he or Stewart more then likely get hurt.

  47. +++++++++++++++++++++

  48. NMR says:

    I know your intent regarding Toronto and Bautista, but he specifically was a guy that blossomed after a swing change.

    Gotta give Toronto credit for being the team to do it.

  49. theplanisworking says:

    Hello, Hoff. ;)

  50. Nate83 says:

    It’s not Chase they made a mistake on in my opinion. It’s Dejesus that should be on the 40 man instead of Oliver. With a crowded Indy starting pitching staff and little middle infield depth it seems odd that they let a promising player go.

  51. Jim S. says:

    Great post, JRay. I believe at least some of Morris’ struggles last year were simply that he could not catch a break. I’m not saying he pitched great, but I think he will have a much better year in ’14. I don’t want to see him dealt.

    Stewart was rated as something like the #2 best pitch framer in all of MLB last year. He turned something like 18% of strikes into balls. I read an interesting article on Hardball Times this week that made the case that pitch framing is far and away the most important defensive stat for a catcher. It is more important than blocking the plate (passed balls, wild pitches) and throwing out base runners because it is part of nearly every pitch. They have no way yet to accurately quantify calling of games, but I’m sure that is also important. The Pirates seem to view pitch framing very highly. The Yankees apparently do not.

  52. theplanisworking says:

    If he doesn’t keep walking, offer him a ride.

  53. Jim S. says:

    Where’s my head? He turned something like 18% of balls into strikes is what I should have said.

  54. JohninOshkosh says:

    There hasn’t been a good “true Pirates fan” fire break out on the blog yet this year. I guess making the playoffs doused those fires.

  55. NMR says:

    Tim Williams at Pirates Prospects has been posting a lot of decent quality video from Spring Training. Very good addition to his site.

    Boy, Josh Bell is a H A C K E R.

  56. Jim S. says:

    +++, both cmat and NMR.

    I believe the Pirates value defense as at least 80% of a catcher’s job. I also believe Tony getting his reps at Indy will be good. Plus, as NMR says, he’ll be up for at least part of the year and playing.

  57. Jim S. says:

    Thank goodness the Yankees seem to not value catchers the same way the Pirates do. I happen to like how we evaluate catchers vs. how they do.

  58. Nate83 says:

    To many years under his belt already to change in my opinion. I don’t know if he is a good all around athlete but if he is somebody a long time ago should have said put a bat in this mans hands like we did with Stetson Allie. It’s still a long shot but I don’t think there is any chance he makes it as a pitcher.

  59. Patrick(ri) says:

    Reply to Jim & jay — please note the “may,” though I stand by the obvious implication. Jamie is clearly a good coach, but I wonder what the spread would have been if they switched players? They are nice suits.

  60. Jim S. says:

    Great point, Nate. There must have been something really wrong with DeJesus that didn’t show up in just stats. He seems like a good guy to have on your bench. I guess the glove doesn’t play.

  61. Nate83 says:

    I assume hacker means something different to different people. Since I’m curious on how Bell is doing and you seem to usually have a pretty good eye when it comes to hitters and their approach what does it mean to you?

  62. Jim S. says:

    If he gets on his knees to pray each night, I assume he starts out by thanking the man upstairs that he is lefty.

  63. Jim S. says:

    +++, TC. Butcher.

  64. JohninOshkosh says:

    Is Hacker>Hack, Hitting Coach NMR ?

  65. Nate83 says:

    If nothing else a former SS prospect should be able to handle second. I’ll be curious to see how he does over then next couple years. By no means do I think he’s a solid MLB starter but having a strong bench is important as well and it’s not as easy to fill a team with 14 quality everyday players as some may think it is.

  66. Nate83 says:

    I’ve heard it used for a free swinger and also for somebody with immense power. I also assume it could be used for somebody who just isn’t that good.

  67. Jim S. says:

    It’s fair to criticize him, Patrick. They have had some very frustrating finishes to seasons. The program has not really moved forward over the last 3-4 years as I thought when they nearly got to the Final 4.

    I just look back to what it used to be for this program, and probably give Jamie a lot of credit for the improvements.

  68. Jim S. says:

    Nate is a master of the sarcastic arts, NMR?

    Pot meet kettle. Haha!

  69. Milo Hamilton says:

    Whatever the case, I bet Andy Oliver could walk him.

  70. Baywatch says:


  71. Jim S. says:

    Andy Oliver could walk Starling Marte, Alfonso Soriano and Clint Barmes, back-to-back-to-back.

    Under 20 pitches.

  72. JohninOshkosh says:

    Milo, you are the Master.

  73. Jim S. says:

    Andy Oliver: The argument for 39 man rosters?

  74. Nate83 says:

    It really is amazing. Seeing that control is his problem you think he would have rather just grooved fastballs right down the middle and take his chances. Giving up 2 runs that way would have been better then walking all these batters as far as how he is viewed by the organization.

  75. theplanisworking says:

    He needs better incentives to not walk so many batters.

    Maybe a vacation to Siberia?
    Or Chicago? ;)

  76. Nate83 says:

    At this rate he will be in Altoona.

  77. NMR says:

    Hacker, to me, is a guy who is all over the place swinging out of his shoes.

    There are dudes on my beer league softball team with shorter swings than Bell.

    Bell has some serious natural hitting ability to be able to harness that swing into good contact skills. As long as a guy hits, I don’t see the need to rework a swing. But one doesn’t have to wonder for very long where the issue lies if Bell has problems with upper-level pitching.

  78. pattonbb says:

    People that bring that up aren’t true Pirate fans, in my opinion.

  79. Jim S. says:

    I hear you. Technique leaves a bit to be desired. And, a switch hitter, to boot.

    But, I guess you can’t teach 6’3″, 245.

  80. theplanisworking says:

    Maybe Oliver could walk her also……..

  81. Nate83 says:

    Agree NMR. I always heard about his batting practice power. The Pirates don’t get off with no blame in the situation. It’s possible Toronto saw something and wanted him but it just as likely they hit the lottery with a guy that kicked around for awhile and then figured it out with their help.

  82. JohninOshkosh says:


  83. toochca says:

    Got to find some way to pay attourney fees! I’m sure 4 kids are costing her a few dollars as well!!

  84. Arriba Wilver says:

    4 teams. We going back to Rule 5 again? Please?

  85. Nate83 says:

    Thanks for the info. I trust both of your critical eyes on things like this. I obviously had a horrible swing because hitting a baseball is the one thing I got much worse at in sports as I got older. I was out of Baseball at the age of 13 and concentrating on sports I was better at like basketball, football and track.

    Never had a coach that concerned himself with how I swung or even spotted a pitch out of the pitchers hand. I almost crapped my pants the first time I saw a curve ball. Still love the sport but I’ll stick to playing softball.

  86. Nate83 says:

    So leaving a player open to rule 5 isn’t giving up on him? Not considering him one of your top 40 players isn’t exactly a glowing endorsement.

  87. Jim S. says:

    FWIW, I think the description of her was an accurate one.

    She looks good in photos, even in her DUI state.

  88. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, that too. Only in America.

  89. Nate83 says:

    Not as happy as Beiber, but much easier to look at.

  90. Jim S. says:

    NMR is more the swing guru. I stick to evaluating the swings of 12 year olds.

  91. Jim S. says:

    I read an interesting study from Hardball Times yesterday about LH vs. RH hitters in MLB. It was from a few years ago, but I think the findings probably still hold true. I always love this kind of stuff, so I thought I would pass it along to get anyone else’s opinion. I will start out by saying the findings were nothing like I would have guessed.

    Basically, the writer started out with the fact that, on average, if you leave pitchers out as hitters, lefties tend to hit for a slightly higher batting average and slugging average than righties. I think the batting average was something like .271 to .260 advantage for lefties at that time.

    As I said, I never would guessed the conclusion as to why this would be. Anyone want to make a guess. There are a couple of guesses I made that were pretty obvious, and they both turned out to not be the key determinant.

  92. NMR says:

    Bunch of apologists!

  93. NMR says:

    Hahaha, awesome post.

  94. Nate83 says:

    .011 isn’t exactly slightly. That’s a good gap that would make a big difference. My first conclusion would be that everyday lefties have more at bats against right handed pitchers which would be the more comfortable situation for them. Where as right handed hitters do not have as many at bats against left handed pitchers which is the more comfortable situation for them.

    What would be interesting to see is how those number would change if half of all hitters at bats where against each handed pitcher. Saberbucs would probably be happy to figure that one out for you at his website.

  95. NMR says:

    @Jim – Heh, yeah, I have teams knocking down my door. ;)

    Bell’s back elbow does worry me, though. Very rare to see big leaguers create that sever of an angle, so much so that the hands end up BELOW elbow at the top of the load. This position means the elbow has to start early so that it clears before the hands can attack the ball. Makes adjusting to offspeed more difficult.

    It also means the bat angle rotates to begin the swing instead of taking a direct path to the ball. That’s why you see the loop in his swing.

  96. pattonbb says:

    That’s even better than the “true fan” thing.

  97. NMR says:

    My first though as well, Nate.

    Jim, I’m sure lefties benefit more with runners on base given the hole created by holding the runner on first, but I doubt that makes up the difference.

    Tell us!

  98. Jim S. says:

    Sorry, I got pulled into an important meeting right as I sent that. But, I’m out now.

    So, I assumed two things:

    A) I figured lefties have that extra step or two closer to 1b, which would get them to 1b faster and allow them to beat out hits. Isn’t that why dads often have their righty sons bat lefty?

    B) Secondly, I assumed the platoon advantage that Nate did. There are more righty pitchers, so more guys from the left handed hitting side would get an advantage than would righties.

    More, in a minute.

  99. Nate83 says:

    Darn you Jim!!!! I don’t have a minute it is Friday and the weekend is calling my name.

  100. Jim S. says:

    Ok, so it turns out lefties do not have an advantage in beating out hits even though they are closer to 1b to begin with because where they generally hit infield grounders (toward 1b or 2b) result in shorter throws. So, the advantage of being closer to 1b while batting is negated by shorter throws for the 1st and 2nd basemen. I had never thought of that, but there are a lot more infield hits toward SS and 3b because that’s where righties hit the ball most often.

    So, I also thought about the platoon advantage that Nate brought up. Lefties get the advantage of hitting against an opposite-handed pitcher far more often than righty hitters because there are probably 75% or so righty pitchers. There is probably some truth to that. I have to try to remember why it was not as important. I’ll come back to that.

    But, it turns out the biggest reason for lefties, overall, hitting for higher average and higher slugging % is simply that lefties don’t play defense-first positions (SS, 2b, 3b, C). Some guys bat lefty at those positions, but those guys are all righty fielders. So, a very high % of SS, 2b, 3b, C are righty hitters. And, since they are defense-first positions, guys like Clint Barmes can have value there, whereas guys like him have no value as a 1b or OF. In those positions, offense is valued more. So, you can have a lefty or righty hitter at those 4 positions. But, in order to balance lineups somewhat, teams are always searching for lefty hitters, and all things being equal, they would probably give more chances to lefty hitters in an effort to not have 8 righty hitters in their lineup.

    So, it just comes down mainly to positions on the field.

  101. Jim S. says:

    I’m sure that has to have some effect as well, but probably not as large as the one the researcher who wrote the article actually landed on.

  102. Nate83 says:

    Interesting stuff Jim. Thanks for sharing. It makes sense. Did they have numbers showing percentage of players at certain positions to supporting that?

  103. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, they did.

  104. Arriba Wilver says:

    .011? Are we talking about Megan or pitchers? I’m confused.

  105. Jim S. says:

    NMR – the new Charlie Lau.

  106. Arriba Wilver says:

    Pardon me—Meagan.

  107. Jim S. says:

    Post of the Day, Arriba!!

  108. Jim S. says:

    Easy to be distracted.

  109. Jim S. says:

    Maybe you’ll check this later, Nate. If so, here is the explanation on why the lefty hitters vs righty pitchers was not as big of a factor in helping lefty hitters. It is because lefty pitchers dominate lefty hitters more than righty pitchers dominate righty hitters. Righty hitters are more used to hitting vs. righty pitchers than lefty hitters are at hitting vs. lefty pitchers, which negates that. Kind of confusing. You might have to think about it for awhile.

  110. Bizrow says:

    Thats why if you are a LHP, you can pitch to 40 or so ;-)

  111. Ghost says:

    Let me throw one more possibility out there.
    (An optomistrist turned me on to this one.) Most people (even those who bat lefty) are right-hand dominant. Which means most people are right-eye dominant. You see the ball better when your dominant eye is your lead eye. Since virtually every right-handed batter (not named Ryan Ludwick) is right-handed, thus right-eye dominant, righties put themselves at at least one distinct disadvantage in trying to pick up the ball with their weak eye in front. Whereas a good number of lefties are actually right-eye dominant and are using this eye as lead to pick up the ball.

    I had both of my kids (one a natural lefty, the other a rightie) immediately switch to a slightly open stance as soon as the optomistrist told me this. And they both noticed this made it easier to pick up the ball, which is a huge part of hitting, of course.

  112. Arriba Wilver says:

    My point is it’s very misleading, Nate.

    And it is. Why did they bring him back after that? You can’t have it both ways.

  113. Jim S. says:

    You got it! Or, if you have Andy Oliver’s control, you still get chance after chance after chance.

  114. Jim S. says:

    I believe I have heard that somewhere before, and I can honestly say I have no idea whether eye dominance is a factor or not. I would not rule out that it plays a part, but it would be awfully hard to quantify.

  115. theplanisworking says:

    So that explains why I could never hit.
    I am blind in one eye, can’t see out of the other.

    Growing up, we had very few lefty batters or pitchers………….. but they were always successful. Maybe it was because there were so few?

  116. Jim S. says:

    I’ve always wondered about open stances. It seems intuitive to me that it would make it easier to pick up the ball. I remember in the late 70’s/early 80’s Brian Downing started doing that. Plenty of guys have done it over time, some with better success than others.

    I’m not a hitting expert, Biz. But, aren’t there people who feel that causes problems just as much?

  117. Jim S. says:

    Maybe, it took really good ones to break through? The bad ones got weeded out.

    Also, there are positions on the field that are off limits to lefty fielders, as the study shows.

    I find this stuff interesting. Then, sometimes it makes my brain hurt and I have to lie down.

  118. Ghost says:

    Yeah, I don’t know how that could be quantified. Most elite baseball players have superior vision anyway. But most humans remain dominant in one eye or the other and I know this is pronounced in both my son and my own case. Less so with my daughter.

  119. Ghost says:

    The majority of MLB’ers now use some form of an open stance, and this drives high school and college coaches crazy, because these coaches have to compete with what their players can see with their own eyes when they watch television. At the prep and collegiate levels, micromange more closely the mechanics of their ballplayers. And there’s a lot of “group-think” that remains at these levels in baseball. (And elsewhere, which is what gives teams like the Pirates and A’s that are willing to experiment a competitive edge.)

    The traditional notion is that the fewer moving parts, the better. With an open stance, a batter definitely has to then come closed again, which presents the possibility that the head –thus the eyes– will be moving as they’re trying to track the ball. But with practice, this can be greatly minimized. Obviously, it isn’t ruining the the results for the great majority of elite MLB hitters.

  120. theplanisworking says:

    Yeah, only good ones made it Jim.
    We had one kid who signed a contract with the SF Giants. Went to Class A, and blew out his arm.

    He was a stud in High School.
    But in our neighborhood, he was only one of 2 lefties.

  121. Ghost says:

    The success of the lefty batters makes sense enough — they’re always facing righty pichers. But then, of course, the lefty pitchers facing only righty batters would constantly be at a disadvantage. Lefties in general are usualyl good in sports . The usual explanation (which makes sense enough to me) is that lefties forced to grow up and live in a world for righties develop superior motor skills.

  122. theplanisworking says:

    Is your avatar lefty or righty?

  123. Ghost says:


    Hey, how about that spelling?!

  124. Ghost says:

    Color me busted.

  125. Arriba Wilver says:

    But do their eyeballs bounce when they square up to hit the ball?

    That’s what I want to know.

  126. Ghost says:

    The batter is supposed to keep his head back and still. But I’m sure there are those who get the “Koogle-ley eyes” thing going.

  127. theplanisworking says:

    Of course, some batters nap at the plate, so hitting would be really tough for them……..

    unless Andy Oliver walks them……..

  128. Jim S. says:

    I guess that’s the part I wondered about – the fact that you have to come closed again. I have found that what works for one kid doesn’t work for all kids.

  129. Jim S. says:

    I mean Ghost. Sorry about that.

  130. Jim S. says:

    My avatar was lefty – just like me – Al Oliver. :-)

  131. Ghost says:

    Hi Frank.

  132. Jim S. says:


  133. theplanisworking says:

    You drinking again, Ghosty?

  134. Ghost says:

    Busted again!

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