View Full Version : balls, bases, and pitchers .... oh my!
06-19-2004, 12:47 AM
So I was watching a baseball game this evening (Yankees vs. Dodgers) and since they were playing in the Dodgers' stadium I understand that they play by interleague rules. I am interested mostly in the part where pitchers actually hit.
When do pitchers focus on their hitting (if they are on teams such as the Yankees (American League) where there is usually a designated hitter)? Spring training? Just before the game?
When Vazquez got a double tonight, I started thinking about it, so now it's up to you Dopers to fill the 'ol information tank up.
06-19-2004, 01:19 AM
Pitchers take BP (batting practice) same as every other player. They may not take as many swings, but they still take it. Also, with the way players move around these days, there aren't many pitchers who haven't had plate appearances.
For example, Javier Vasquez was a Montreal Expo last year, meaning he batted for himself (the Expos being a National League club.) So he's a career .209 hitter, which is excellent for a pitcher (most pitchers are in the .180s or lower career.)
06-19-2004, 06:40 AM
Funny story (cite: one of the several editions of The Baseball Hall of Shame, by Bruce Nash and Allen Zullo).
Spring training game, 1986ish. An American League team is playing a National League team, under National League rules (IOW: the pitcher bats). We get to the part of the game where the AL pitcher (I forget his name) has to bat, and it's literally the first time in his career that he's had to step into the batter's box. His college and minor-league teams all used the Designated Hitter, as did his AL team, so he had never had a real plate appearance in a game.
So anyway, he walks up to the plate without a bat. The umpire sends him back. Then he walks back up to the plate, without a batting helmet. The umpire sends him back again. By this time his teammates in the dugout are collapsing into fits of laughter. So he steps into the right-handed batter's box... wearing a left-hander's batting helmet. The ump tells him he can't bat like that. So, rather than going back to the dugout a third time, he merely steps over the the left-handed batter's box.
Then, he looks to his left, at the catcher's hands. The catcher asks him what the hell he's doing, and he replies nonchalantly that he's trying to see what sign he's giving the pitcher. Thinking this is the funniest damn thing he's ever seen, the catcher politely tells that batter that he's going to sign for a fastball. Sure enough, a fastball is thrown.
As for what happens next, I don't remember. I think he grounded out to the infield.
06-19-2004, 10:47 AM
Another funny story. At Dodger Stadium in the first year after Randy Johnson came to the D-Backs. The LA pitcher threw 2 fastballs that Randy watched. The third was a changeup and I swear Johnson's bat was moving way before the ball was released. His follow through was finished before the ball even got to the plate. 35,000 people were literally laughing. The Dodger pitcher was second to bat the next inning. He took a Johnson fastball right in the back. Moral of the story: Pitchers can't bat, but don't you dare embarass a guy who can throw 100mph.
Back to the OP, American League pitchers usually start taking batting practice a few days before they have to go play in an NL park.
They don't take as much BP as their NL counterparts because they don't need to and there is no point in having the pitchers risk injury.
Most AL managers hope that their pitchers can:
1) Not get hurt
2) Bunt if they need to
3) Not get hurt
4) Not get hurt
06-19-2004, 12:43 PM
AS for Spring Training the same rule applies...if it's in a National League park then the pitcher bats.
I once saw Dave Stewart of the A's basically walk up to the batter's box with his bat against his shoulder, leave it there while not even getting in a batting stance and wait for three straight down the middle pitches so he could go sit down.
Now if he did that during the season I suspect his manager would be irritated with him. But in Spring Training the rules are looser.
Besides, as Maddux and Glavine proved...chicks dig the long ball, man.
06-19-2004, 04:37 PM
As this is slowly going into IMHO territory...
Anyone agree with Jack McKeon that for the interleague games, they should follow NL rules in AL parks, and AL rules in NL parks? It would give the fans a chance to see the other rules in action. And with the consolidation of the NL and AL offices (and the creation of just an MLB ball instead of AL and NL equipment), it wouldn't be much of an inconvenience for the parks. I do - I think that's a great idea.
06-20-2004, 09:56 AM
Thank you for the answers. I was curious and couldn't find and answer. The stories are great too :)
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