D-Backs GM Kevin Towers Admits That Teams Alter Opposing Pitcher’s Radar Gun Readings In The Stadium

This is beyond brilliant.  A simple yet incredibly effective way to get into your opponent’s head.  From the Arizona Republic:

After Cincinnati Reds left-hander Aroldis Chapman’s velocity dipped earlier this month on the radar gun at Petco Park in San Diego, Reds manager Dusty Baker wondered aloud about the reliability of ballpark pitch speeds, espousing a conspiracy theory many believe to be true.

Baker said some major-league teams crank up the scoreboard readings for their own pitchers and dial it down for the visitors. Whatever it takes to gain even the slightest psychological advantage.

Turns out he had reason to be skeptical. Especially of the gun in San Diego.

“We used to dial it down,” said a smiling Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers, formerly the Padres’ GM.

“I know for a fact that every time Brad Penny pitched for the Dodgers in San Diego it was probably the lowest velocities he ever had. He liked velocity. He’d stare at the board. He was throwing 95-96 (mph), but we’d have it at 91 and he’d get pissed off and throw harder and harder and start elevating.”

As recently as 10-15 years ago, pitch velocity was the exclusive domain of radar gun-toting scouts. Now, every ballpark in the majors displays velocities.

Some parks have their own radar guns beaming the velocities to the scoreboard. Others employ the advanced Pitch-f/x system, which uses three cameras to track the speed, location and movement of every pitch and is installed in all 30 major-league ballparks.

I love finding out little things like this.  Gets me all happy inside.

[Arizona Repupblic]

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Here’s An Excellent Story On Livan Hernandez

I’ll just let the words do the talking here and leave this one be.  From the DC Sports Blog:

But as a Washington sports fan, you’ll be most intrigued by the starring role played by your Opening Day starter, Livan Hernandez.

Pitcher Livan Hernandez became something of a sadistic benefactor when he arrived in Arizona in 2006. Motuzas said Hernandez once paid him $3,000 to drink a gallon of milk in 12 minutes. The two also hammered out a deal that permitted Hernandez to punch Motuzas in the groin for $50 a pop whenever he felt the urge. Motuzas would receive a $300 bonus after every 10th punch….

Things got really interesting one season when Hernandez got his hands on some rubber nunchucks. (”A gift from a fan,” former Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Webb said.) Hernandez, who now pitches for the Washington Nationals, would put them to use now and then by blindfolding Motuzas. “And then he’d come up and whip the s— out of me,” said Motuzas, who was compensated for this, as well. “That was just his thing. Great guy, though.”

Hernandez declined to comment to the Journal. Can’t imagine why. Also, I would totally drink a gallon of soy milk in 12 minutes for $3,000. The nunchucks thing, probably not.

Friday.

[DC Sports Blog]

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