Thursday, January 22, 2009

Baseball Bits of Rhythm as 2009 Season Approaches

In ESPN the mag's December 15, 2008 edition some fun facts were revealed.

  1. The two-year, $8 million deal the Giants gave lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt will look even smarter after a season in spacious AT&T Park. Last season with the Reds, Affeldt had a 4.64 ERA at tiny Great America Ball Park; on the road: 1.77...
  2. Baseball...Right now, Sportvision measures the release, velocity, spin and movement of every pitch. For next year, engineers hope to track batted balls, as well as player movements in the field and on the basepaths, to create a full, info-packed digital record of each event during a game.
  3. They say necessity is the mother of invention...Problem: Bats break during Major League Baseball games. Solution: inventor Ward Dill's Radial Bat, which, made up of interlocking wedges of wood, is said to be shatterproof. Problem: It's not legal for use in MLB games.
  4. Blood Simple. Marlins outfielder, Cody Ross, spent most of 2007 plagued by a gimpy hamstring that just wouldn't heal. Seeking a permanent fix he limped to the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Colorado and received a platelet-rich plasma injection. During the procedure, a patient's blood is drawn, and both his platelets and the protein thrombin-which stimulates healing-are isolated. The nurturing cells are then injected back into the wound "inflamed tissue won't heal if an athlete keeps playing on it," says David Karli, a Steadman Hawkins specialist. "This is a healing boost." Ross took just one shot, did some rehab and stayed healthy all of 2008, tallying career highs in games, home runs and runs batted in (RBI).
  5. He isn't the only one having benefitted from a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) tune-up. Los Angeles Dodgers' closer, Takashi Saito, staved off Tommy John surgery in July by quick-fixing his partially torn UCL. Karli says that's just the beginning for these types of procedures: "We're looking at manipulating stem cells in conjunction with PRP. It's an evolution." And a man-made one at that.
  6. Smokey Robinson has written many songs. His lyrics fit the scene of the "crime," so to speak. As for baseball, these lyrics are a daily reminder of what might be going on in the dugout, bullpen or somewhere between the lines of play. And then sometimes carries over to the press and the way those spin doctors ask questions.
  7. I said, what I thought was sure to last, to last was just a minute instead. Too bad I got misled. Ah, but you don't have to hang your head. No 'cause I Don't Blame You At All 'cause you played it cool. You don't owe me a thing 'cause I played the fool. No, no, no, no, no.
  8. When making up a bullpen, don't overspecialize. Part of the 2008 New York Mets' failure was lack of relievers who could get out both lefties and righties. Pedro Feliciano and Scott Schoeneweis are useful southpaws only one batter at a time. Too many lefties will leave you left out in October. (* This note is intended for your 2009 San Francisco Giants)

(thanks to Charles Curtis and Tim Kurkjian of ESPN the magazine)

Kevin Marquez