Archive for March, 2010

Comparison to Cliff Lee’s Mechanics

Posted in Uncategorized on March 27, 2010 by tccsp

Below are some stills of Cliff Lee’s mechanics from Chris O’Leary’s site, side by side with stills of me. At the very bottom you can watch both of us in slow motion. I’ve put a little commentary on the early slides. I am pleasantly surprised by my mechanics, but see lots of things Lee does that help him throw 10-15 mph faster than I do.

I look okay here at the leg lift.
Here’s where I see four clear things that Lee does that I should.

1) His back stays vertical–he’s keeping his weight back (I’m a little hunched over)

2) Loading up on his back leg–see his knee flex? I’m not loading up much.

3) Flexing his foot–this is something that helps keep ones hips closed. I’m better now than when I started, but I clearly don’t do it like Lee does.

4) Keeping his front arm strong–my front side is looking lazy.

Still some of the same issues.

A weekend of (Mary) Patience

Posted in Uncategorized on March 22, 2010 by tccsp

This weekend was a weekend of patiently waiting for two life-changing events.

First, we had a baby. But there was a LOT of waiting.

My wife started having contractions at 2am Saturday morning, and we were in the hospital by 10am.

Then we waited.

Saturday was a long day of laboring–and Sunday night we continued. The contractions made sleep difficult for Lucy (despite narcotics) and me (despite a laboring wife).

After waiting most of Sunday, at 5:26pm my heroic wife finally pushed out our new beautiful daughter: Mary Patience Olson (6 lbs., 14 oz.; 19 inches long).
The second life-changing event I’ve been waiting for is “The Call.”

As you all probably know by now, Joe Nathan decided yesterday to have Tommy John surgery. Before the announcement, Twins coach Ron Gardenhire was quoted as saying they might be looking “outside the organization” for a replacement.

It just seems to be a perfect fit:

Nathan is 35, I’m 32.

Nathan throws his curveball 84 mph, I have thrown a ball 84 mph.

Target Field is opening, I live three miles from Target Field.

The Twins like signing local baseball players to huge contracts, I’m a local baseball player willing to sign a huge contract.

So I’ve got my phone with me at all times, waiting for “The Call”. I don’t know if it will be Bill Smith or Ron Gardenhire–or maybe they’ll even have Hometown Joe call me up. Either way, I’m ready–but I’ve got lots of Patience.

47 more days; and finally on a mound…

Posted in Uncategorized on March 12, 2010 by tccsp

With a busy work schedule, 21 month old twins, and a new baby due any minute, you might think that it would be impossible to find time to pitch and workout.  Last week I would have agreed with you.

Perhaps it’s stubbornness, or my tendency toward tunnel vision–but when I read of the Saint’s tryout, I realized it would be silly to not just work on this for another six or seven weeks.

So I’ve changed my workout schedule, and I’ve actually had a pretty successful week. On Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I woke up at 4:40am, drove over to Hope Academy and threw baseballs in the basement for about 45 minutes. Then after work on Monday I jogged and worked out, and had a good jog and workout today. Weekends have always been good times to work out–so I plan on throwing Saturday morning and working out as well.

The school where I work has an indoor/outdoor mound, and I finally set it up Thursday. I’m moving my sessions back to sixty feet, and will pitch exclusively off a mound for the next 46 days. I won’t lie to you–I’m still rusty and wild–but I’m enjoying myself, and still think I can improve enough in the next six weeks to make a respectable appearance at the Saints tryout. Depending on how this tryout goes, I’ll reevaluate whether to keep working toward the June tryouts.

By the way, you can keep up with how my command control improves from 60 feet and on a mound on my Command/Control Page.

One thing I’m planning on doing some morning next week is to film myself from the same angle as Cliff Lee in this footage of his mechanics. I’ll then see how different my mechanics are than his, and try and analyze where he’s able to generate so much more velocity than I do.

All of this, of course, will take a back seat to having a baby. Our due date is March 22nd, but my wife is at an appointment right now–and we both think it could happen this weekend. I’ll certainly let you know when that happens.

healthy shoulder, injured confidence, and Saints tryout

Posted in Uncategorized on March 7, 2010 by tccsp

This past Monday, I descended to my pitching lair, stretched, and threw… and threw harder… and threw harder. My shoulder felt fine. Even a couple days after throwing, my shoulder felt like every other part of me: 32 years old, a little soft, but no pain.

I certainly should have been excited… but I wasn’t. Honestly, I was a little disappointed. In fact, I had begun to see this mild shoulder injury as a perfectly respectable way to get out of my foolish pitching predicament.

So the last few days, I’ve been ruminating over my situation. Do I just submit to reality and throw in the towel? Or should I just keep working out for the next few months, and go to the tryouts just to say that I did?

On the one hand, the following things are true:

1) I’m a working man, husband, father of two, my wife is 38 weeks pregnant–my priorities are with my work and family, so this is simply a hobby.
2) Some of my other involvements–church, reading, friendships–are more important to me than this baseball thing, and so I don’t end up dedicating as much time to it as I could, which means that
3) I’m really not in very good shape–and haven’t been working out much the last few weeks, which means that
4) I haven’t practiced enough over the last six months, and haven’t made adequate progress, making me realize that
5) I’m 32, and haven’t played competitive baseball in eleven years, and am now quite certainly “ineffectively wild”

On the other hand,

1) I’ve got a healthy shoulder and have built back a base of arm strength over the last six months
2) There will be no “rookie at 33”, so I might as well keep working
3) It would be an interesting experience to attend these tryouts, and they’re free.
4) When in shape, I can still hit the low 80s, so if I really push myself and work on mechanics I may see some progress over the next three months–so I at least won’t look foolish.
5) It has been nice to get back in shape and throw again.

Coincidentally, the St. Paul Saints recently set the date for their open tryout on Thursday, April 29. This is the first tryout that I have always intended to go to, and it is exactly six and a half weeks away. And yes, I am going to go.

Also within the next six and a half weeks I will be becoming the father of my third child, traveling to Birmingham with my family to visit my in-laws, and constantly battling my body’s desire to remain stationary. But throwing and working out will need to start in earnest if I’m going to be prepared for this April 29th tryout. We’ll see how it goes.

If anyone has any suggestions for helping me stay on track, I’m all ears.