I just read an article on ESPN.com about Arizona Diamondbacks Pitching prospect, Trevor Bauer, who is getting a chance in the Major League Spring Training Camp and turning some heads. Yes, he is a quality pitcher but he is also sort of baseball oddball.
When Bauer is warming up before the games, like any other pitcher, he will play long toss in the outfield except Bauer literally throws the ball from one corner of the outfield to the other. With the field being 333 feet deep in both the right field and left field corners, that’s a distance of 466.69. I didn’t figure that out…Bauer did using skills picked up when he majored in mechanical engineering at UCLA.
He also seems to be influenced by Adam Sandler’s “Happy Gilmore”. As part of his pregame routine he stands on the mound and fires a ball as hard as he can toward the home plate. When he lets go of it he has no control over where it goes. All he wants to do is build up intensity and fire the ball as hard as he can.
Bauer sounds like a fun and entertaining guy to watch. Of course baseball has a long history of characters and odd balls full of superstitions and habits.
Mark “The Bird” Fidrych. When I was a kid, I loved watching him brush away cleat marks in the dirt on the mound while pitching. He would talk to himself, talk to the ball, aim the ball like a dart, walk around the mound after every out, and if the umpire gave him a ball that “had hits in them,” he would throw them back insisting they be removed from the game. Mark Fidrych also was known for shaking everyone’s hands after a game.
Wade Boggs of the Red Sox and Yankees had a daily routine and refused to alter his habits. His daily customs included eating chicken before each game (earning him the nickname “Chicken Man”), always taking batting practice at 5:17 and running sprints at 7:17 and drawing the word “Chai” (Hebrew for “life”) in the dirt before coming up to bat. He’s in the Baseball Hall of Fame so it must have served him well.
Turk Wendell is widely acknowledged as the most superstitious professional athlete of all time. To put it lightly, he had a few quirks a shortlist includes always leaping over the baselines when walking to the mound, chewing black licorice while pitching and brushing his teeth between innings, wearing a necklace decorated with the sharp teeth of wild animals he had hunted and killed and in 2000, he asked that the New York Mets make his contract for $9,999,999.99, in honor of his uniform number of 99.
While Bauer has a few interesting idiosyncrasies, he’s got a long way to go before he can measure up to any of these personalities.
Director: Dennis Dugan
Starring: Adam Sandler, Christopher McDonald, Julie Bowen, Frances Bay, Carl Weathers
Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
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Verse of the DayAll you saints! Sing your hearts out to GOD! Thank him to his face! He gets angry once in a while, but across a lifetime there is only love. The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter. — Psalm 30:4-5 (MSG)