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 Post subject: Re: Zach Duke in the fifth (AKA a rite of Spring)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:09 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
No. 9:

Back to your question. I also pointed out that mature players protect against sign stealing any number of ways, including calling for a curve (per the signs up to that point) and instead throwing a fastball up and in. That teaches the base runner and hitter to be damn careful.

I cannot accept the thought that a 12-year old would employ that tactic. Therefore, the sign stealing does not have a "prevent" mechanism for young players.

And the instance of sign stealing involving son was because the catcher was not coverning up the sign properly, so the opponent's coach in the third base box was stealing the signs and relaying them to the batter. Catcher then had to employ an indicator to hide the signs.

Even after he did that, the coach was still calling out what he thought the pitch was. He was literally saying, "curve ball" when son was not throwing a curve. He was throwing 2-seam, 4-seam and change. So, he calls "curve" and I know that this could be ugly. Sure enough, it was a fastball inside corner and the hitter is sprawled out after the pitch.

It turns out that this coach, by the way, told his pitchers in the next game that they had a sign for throwing at batters. That game, the other pitcher hit two kids in the head, and tried to hit son but could not. Son dodged 3 such pitches but it was clear to all what was going on.

After the second kid was hit in the helmet, the base umpire ran in, called time, and said he had seen the sign for hitting the batter. (The sign was "the bird.") The home plate umpire talked to the pitcher and catcher, and they confirmed that the sign-stealer was calling for the pitcher to throw at 13-year old hitters. 'The sign-stealer was booted from the game.

So, that guy was stealing signs. Forgive me if I do not find that part of the sport at that age. But hey, you and the guy calling for young pitchers to throw at the batter are on the same page.


If your comments were limited to 12 year olds, then my memory is off. I seem to recall the discussion going further than that . . . into higher levels such as American Legion and high school. It was not simply what was acceptable for 12 year olds and what is acceptable for professional ballplayers.

And any suggestion, insinuation or otherwise that I am anything close to the mope coach you describe in your post is lunacy and incredibly offensive.

I trust that - given your explanations above - when your son does his "fake regrip" in an effort to convince the hitter that a curve ball is coming that he has such pinpoint control over his fastball that it doesn't go on the inside part of the plate because that hitter - anticipating a curve ball - (and as you point out) might get caught leaning over the plate . . . .

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Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Zach Duke in the fifth (AKA a rite of Spring)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:26 pm 
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Leans over the plate. Gets plunked by a strike. Plate ump calls HB. Wrong. Read the rules.

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 Post subject: Re: Zach Duke in the fifth (AKA a rite of Spring)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:30 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
Az Bucco fan wrote:
I have never been a proponent of stealing signs. All it takes is one mistake and the hitter loses the trust that the coach will relay the right sign.


And it creates the danger of a hitter leaning over the plate for a breaking ball when the pitch is a fastball on the inner half. Or the pitcher just misses location, where the hitter is looking outside corner and the pitch runs inside.

The better way to teach players is to have them learn to read the spin on the ball. Hundreds of fastballs and breaking balls thrown in practice, including whiffle balls with seams painted on them. Hitters learn to read pitches, and learn where a breaking pitch will wind up.

The hitter is prepared for any pitcher. He is not dependent on somebody stealing signs for him.


Also, as you pointed out earlier "good" hitters try to anticipate or "steal" a particular pitch by looking for the "tipping" of pitches . . .

In your words, "Son would watch pitchers to see if they tipped their pitches. Plenty of pitchers re-grip the ball on breaking balls, for example. Good hitters notice this."

So, I certainly agree that at the Little League level, a coach is a grade A asshole if he is stealing a catcher's signs. That same coach would be a grade A asshole if he pointed out that a pitcher was tipping his pitches as well. But, I'd also point out that - at the 10-12 year old level - any coach who is allowing his catcher to call for curve balls or allowing his pitcher to throw curve balls at that age is a grade A moron. There is no reason why any kid at age 10-12 should be trying to throw curve balls.

At the high school level or American Legion level, I've got no problem with "stealing" upcoming pitches based upon a pitcher "tipping" the pitch. Its part of the game. I also have no problem with relaying a particular pitch if a team has stolen the catcher's signs. Back to my original point . . . I have a hard time separating the two. In both instances, you are anticipating a particular pitch based upon an unspoken indication "stolen" from the other team. And why . . . if it is not OK at the high school or American Legion level to steal signs because the other team might react and a hitter anticipating a curve might get hit with a fastball . . . is it OK for your son to "regrip" in an effort to confuse a batter to think a curve ball is coming and then bust him with a high fastball? I'm frankly having a hard time distinguishing those situations.

Don't get me wrong. I firmly believe that what your son is doing is good solid baseball. It is all part of the game. It is the mental part of the game and the strategic part of the game that I loved as a catcher. Outside of cutting down an attempting basestealer, nothing gave me more enjoyment than to watch a hitter's front leg to turn jelly because he got caught looking for something that wasn't coming . . . and, yes, that included situations where he anticipated a curve ball and was busted inside with a good fastball. Perhaps my favorite game ever as a catcher was with Cal Eldred on the mound in an American Legion game . . . my left hand hurt like hell afterwards . . . but he just made hitters look sick. We kept them guessing the whole game . . . .

I've also got no problem with the notion of a "good" hittiers stealing pitches from a pitcher tipping those pitches. But that hitter better realize that if he is wrong . . and he leans out for an anticipated curve ball and he gets some inside heat . . . he might just get plunked. Again . . . you lace 'em up . . . you take the risk . . . all part of the game. You don't want that risk? Don't anticipate a pitch by looking for "pitch tipping."

And, for what it is worth, I've coached high school baseball, American Legion baseball and my daughter's softball teams when she was 9, 10, 11 and 12. For three of those four years, I was awarded the Sportmanship Award by my fellow coaches.

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Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Zach Duke in the fifth (AKA a rite of Spring)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:35 pm 
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Bertie wrote:
Leans over the plate. Gets plunked by a strike. Plate ump calls HB. Wrong. Read the rules.


That would be a strike . . . :) Can't "earn" first base by stepping into a pitch in the strike zone. That would really change the game, wouldn't it? Also, I believe that you can't "earn" first base with a "Hit by Pitch" if you swing at the pitch, right? If a batter is really fooled by a curve ball, swings but the ball hits him, I believe that is a strike and not a "Hit by Pitch." Is that right Bertie?

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Zach Duke in the fifth (AKA a rite of Spring)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:58 pm 
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You swing at a pitch and get hit it is a strike.


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 Post subject: Re: Zach Duke in the fifth (AKA a rite of Spring)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:05 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
If your comments were limited to 12 year olds, then my memory is off. I seem to recall the discussion going further than that . . . into higher levels such as American Legion and high school.

There was quite a discussion about when it was appropriate to be "stealing signs." You thought that it was okay even before high school. I did not and do not think it appropriate before the players are in at least high school, and even then, perhaps not until varsity.

No. 9 wrote:
And any suggestion, insinuation or otherwise that I am anything close to the mope coach you describe in your post is lunacy and incredibly offensive.

Hey, just pointing out that this coach apparently thought that stealing signs for young players was okay, and you seem to share that sentiment. I did not say you two were identical in any other respect.

You feel uncomfortable being associated with a guy like that. I don't blame you, but it is exactly that type of guy who is trying to steal signs, intimidate umpires, etc. I do not find such tactics appropriate or beneficial to the sport.

If the company makes you uncomfortable, maybe you should change your location.

No. 9 wrote:
I trust that - given your explanations above - when your son does his "fake regrip" in an effort to convince the hitter that a curve ball is coming that he has such pinpoint control over his fastball that it doesn't go on the inside part of the plate because that hitter - anticipating a curve ball - (and as you point out) might get caught leaning over the plate . . . .

You analogize a guy getting hit while believing he has stolen the sign, with a pitcher accidentally hitting a guy who is mistaken when trying to guess the pitch and is then leaning over the plate due to his erroneous guess.

Not a good comparison. One guy pushes an old lady into the path of an oncoming bus; the other pushes an old lady out of the way of an oncoming bus. These are the same actions, but not remotely the same in intent.

And yes, son's control is very good. Thanks for asking.


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 Post subject: Re: Zach Duke in the fifth (AKA a rite of Spring)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:23 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
Also, as you pointed out earlier "good" hitters try to anticipate or "steal" a particular pitch by looking for the "tipping" of pitches . . .

In your words, "Son would watch pitchers to see if they tipped their pitches. Plenty of pitchers re-grip the ball on breaking balls, for example. Good hitters notice this."

If the batter determines the pitch by the manner in which it is delivered, or due to reading the spin on the ball, no problem. The batter is making this determination and will have to answer for his "read" of the pitches. The batter is going to be darn careful about trying to read pitches, since it is his ass in the batter's box.

Compare that to stealing signs. Sign stealers are on the bench, on base, or in the coaches' box. No risk to them. If they get it wrong ... oh well. Too bad for the hitter.

Also, it is perfectly fair to look at the pitcher. Indeed, that is where the batter should be looking as the signs are made and the pitcher goes into the stretch or wind-up. If the pitch can be determined by looking at the pitcher, and the batter believes he can read the pitch before it is thrown, then there is no way tha batter is cheating.

Further, reading the pitcher can be cured by having the pitcher learn to stop tipping pitches. There is no way to stop a base runner or coach from stealing signs or trying to steal signs. So, the "cure" for the instance where the pitcher is tipping rests with the pitcher and not a third party.

Those are the diffferences. I believe that these differences are pretty significant.

No. 9 wrote:
So, I certainly agree that at the Little League level, a coach is a grade A asshole if he is stealing a catcher's signs. That same coach would be a grade A asshole if he pointed out that a pitcher was tipping his pitches as well. But, I'd also point out that - at the 10-12 year old level - any coach who is allowing his catcher to call for curve balls or allowing his pitcher to throw curve balls at that age is a grade A moron. There is no reason why any kid at age 10-12 should be trying to throw curve balls.

I agree, but that is not within my purview to control. Tons of kids ages 10-12 throw curve balls. Not son, but I do not have a say as to what other coaches are allowing their kids to throw.

No. 9 wrote:
Also, as you pointed out earlier "good" hitters try to anticipate or "steal" a particular pitch by looking for the "tipping" of pitches . . .

In your words, "At the high school level or American Legion level, I've got no problem with "stealing" upcoming pitches based upon a pitcher "tipping" the pitch. Its part of the game. I also have no problem with relaying a particular pitch if a team has stolen the catcher's signs.

In prior discussion, you thought that it was okay even before high school, such as Pony level, where kids are 13-14. I disagreed. The discussion did sort of bog down as to exactly what age was appropriate for this behavior.

I still feel that before varsity baseball, not okay. American Legion ball involves both varsity and JV. We have some disagreement.

No. 9 wrote:
Back to my original point . . . I have a hard time separating the two. In both instances, you are anticipating a particular pitch based upon an unspoken indication "stolen" from the other team. And why . . . if it is not OK at the high school or American Legion level to steal signs because the other team might react and a hitter anticipating a curve might get hit with a fastball . . . is it OK for your son to "regrip" in an effort to confuse a batter to think a curve ball is coming and then bust him with a high fastball? I'm frankly having a hard time distinguishing those situations.

Discussion above answers this, I presume.

No. 9 wrote:
Don't get me wrong. I firmly believe that what your son is doing is good solid baseball. It is all part of the game.

See detailed discussion, above, as to the difference between stealing signs and teaching hitters to try and stop cheating. Son is doing the Lord's work. :D

No. 9 wrote:
I've also got no problem with the notion of a "good" hittiers stealing pitches from a pitcher tipping those pitches. But that hitter better realize that if he is wrong . . and he leans out for an anticipated curve ball and he gets some inside heat . . . he might just get plunked. Again . . . you lace 'em up . . . you take the risk . . . all part of the game. You don't want that risk? Don't anticipate a pitch by looking for "pitch tipping."

Exactly. See the difference?

No. 9 wrote:
And, for what it is worth, I've coached high school baseball, American Legion baseball and my daughter's softball teams when she was 9, 10, 11 and 12. For three of those four years, I was awarded the Sportmanship Award by my fellow coaches.

Did you steal signs as a coach? Try to steal signs? Encourage your kids to steal signs?

If no to all, then your present position is a bit confusing to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Zach Duke in the fifth (AKA a rite of Spring)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:59 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
Compare that to stealing signs. Sign stealers are on the bench, on base, or in the coaches' box. No risk to them. If they get it wrong ... oh well. Too bad for the hitter.


So . . . I take it that you would not advocate having a coach tell his team that Pitcher John Doe is tipping his pitches. Or having a teammate telling other players that Pitcher John Doe is tipping his pitches. Because if a coach is wrong that Pitcher John Doe obviously regrips the ball right before throwing a curve ball . . . hey, he's not in the batter's box. Right?

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Zach Duke in the fifth (AKA a rite of Spring)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:02 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
Further, reading the pitcher can be cured by having the pitcher learn to stop tipping pitches. There is no way to stop a base runner or coach from stealing signs or trying to steal signs. So, the "cure" for the instance where the pitcher is tipping rests with the pitcher and not a third party.


This doesn't compute with me at all. It is not difficult for a catcher to stop any coach from steal pitch calls. Same with a runner on first and third. In fact, if a catcher does it right (and it is not hard), it is impossible for a coach or a runner on first or third to steal a pitch call. As for the runner on second, it is Baseball 101 to run through a series of pitch calls for the very reason not to let the runner on second know what pitch has been called.

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Zach Duke in the fifth (AKA a rite of Spring)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:08 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
So . . . I take it that you would not advocate having a coach tell his team that Pitcher John Doe is tipping his pitches. Or having a teammate telling other players that Pitcher John Doe is tipping his pitches. Because if a coach is wrong that Pitcher John Doe obviously regrips the ball right before throwing a curve ball . . . hey, he's not in the batter's box. Right?

I worked with kids - 8-14 years of age. I would not tell them that so-and-so is tipping, nor would I steal signs and relay them to the hitters. A lot of coaches would call pitches, and I would know the pitches based on the rather simple signals, but the games were not for my benefit. I was not in the game, for crying out loud.

I taught the kids how to read fastball/breaking ball based on spin. I also taught them to look at the pitcher to see if he was tipping. I did this to make them better players. Worked with pitching coach and son on not tipping pitches.

Could I have stolen signs, relayed calls, etc.? Sure. But why? To help win a youth baseball game? Involving kids who were learning the sport?

How about this? I teach them how to maximize their own talent, and make them better players at the end of the year than they were at the beginning. I sit on the bench or stand in the coaches' box and let the kids play. I drink a big cup of STFU before every game. The last thing a kid needs from me during the game is hitting advice, a heads up on which pitch is coming, etc.

IMO, adults who do that are pathetic - trying to barge into the game and make themselves part of the contest. Hey, dad, let the kids play and shut up.


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 Post subject: Re: Zach Duke in the fifth (AKA a rite of Spring)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:12 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
This doesn't compute with me at all. It is not difficult for a catcher to stop any coach from steal pitch calls. Same with a runner on first and third. In fact, if a catcher does it right (and it is not hard), it is impossible for a coach or a runner on first or third to steal a pitch call. As for the runner on second, it is Baseball 101 to run through a series of pitch calls for the very reason not to let the runner on second know what pitch has been called.

It is literally impossible to prevent a runner at second from seeing the signals.

It is very easy to cure a pitcher from tipping.

I get that you think "all is fair" by age 13 or 14, I guess. I am allowed to believe that your view as to what is right and permitted is different than mine, and that I do not agree with you.

And P.S. - what is "baseball 101" for you is irrelevant to this discussion. You are begging the question by saying that. It is the equivalent of saying that stealing signs is okay because it is okay.


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 Post subject: Re: Zach Duke in the fifth (AKA a rite of Spring)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:29 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
Bucfan wrote:
Further, reading the pitcher can be cured by having the pitcher learn to stop tipping pitches. There is no way to stop a base runner or coach from stealing signs or trying to steal signs. So, the "cure" for the instance where the pitcher is tipping rests with the pitcher and not a third party.


This doesn't compute with me at all. It is not difficult for a catcher to stop any coach from steal pitch calls. Same with a runner on first and third. In fact, if a catcher does it right (and it is not hard), it is impossible for a coach or a runner on first or third to steal a pitch call. As for the runner on second, it is Baseball 101 to run through a series of pitch calls for the very reason not to let the runner on second know what pitch has been called.

I can assure you that in Summit, NJ Senior Youth leagues (ages 13-14) in 1995, few kids who played catcher knew what you call "Baseball 101." That sort of things sounds more like something one would learn in, say "Catchers 201."

Remember, not all youth league baseball coaches are created equally.

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