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.