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Matt700wlw
11-07-2006, 06:09 PM
CINCINNATI - Cincinnati Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky today announced that Dick Pole has joined the Major League staff as pitching coach.

Pole, 56, previously was the pitching coach on the Major League staffs of the Chicago Cubs (1988-91), San Francisco Giants (1993-97), Anaheim Angels (1999), Cleveland Indians (2000-01) and Montreal Expos (2002). The 2007 season will be his 19th as a big league coach and his 15th as a professional pitching coach.

For the last 4 seasons Pole worked for the Cubs as bench coach under manager Dusty Baker. His complete bio is attached.

The hiring of Pole completes manager Jerry Narron’s staff, which includes hitting coach Brook Jacoby, bench coach Bucky Dent, first base coach Billy Hatcher, third base coach Mark Berry, bullpen coach Tom Hume and bullpen catcher Mike Stefanski.

Joseph
11-07-2006, 06:19 PM
What's his track record of success or failure?

vaticanplum
11-07-2006, 06:22 PM
Best. name. ever.

westofyou
11-07-2006, 06:22 PM
Dick Pole, such a bad name.

The 1993 Giants was a Pole team, a team alot like the Reds, only two horses and a cast of thousands. That was great team, fun season too.

Joseph
11-07-2006, 06:24 PM
I will refer to him as Richard. :)

Mario-Rijo
11-07-2006, 06:25 PM
Hmmm, well there it is what does anybody who would know think of it? I would think a perusing of those teams he coached for in that capacity could tell us a thing or 2.

Matt700wlw
11-07-2006, 06:26 PM
this post does not exist

Red Leader
11-07-2006, 06:27 PM
Huh-huh. You said "pole"

http://www.crazyape.com/creatives/beavis1.jpg

vaticanplum
11-07-2006, 06:32 PM
Can't read it, Matt, could you copy and paste?

Matt700wlw
11-07-2006, 06:35 PM
Can't read it, Matt, could you copy and paste?

pic

Tom Servo
11-07-2006, 06:37 PM
Found this on wikipedia:


Maddux credits Pole as a major influence, and a significant contributor to his success. In a 2005 interview, he said, "I remember when Dick Pole told me one day, "Why don't you stop trying to strike guys out? Just try to get them out, and you'll probably strike out just as many guys, if not more. He was right. I've always tried with two strikes just to make a pitch and get the guy out. You get a lot of strikeouts just on accident."

Superdude
11-07-2006, 06:46 PM
I guarantee he'll have an upward influence. I bet his favorite support phrase is, "keep it up!" If you've been instructed longer than 4 hours, immediately consult your physician. I love this guy already! I don't even care if he's pitched before.

Always Red
11-07-2006, 06:49 PM
Best. name. ever.

wow, no kidding. We need Ricardo Cabesa to check in on this thread...;)

registerthis
11-07-2006, 06:50 PM
Should I be concerned about someone coming to work with our pitchers who spent the past several seasons working for Dusty Baker?

Number_Fourteen
11-07-2006, 07:04 PM
Perhaps Nascar driver Dick Trickle is available as a shuttle driver for our relievers?.:evil:

Ltlabner
11-07-2006, 07:06 PM
Should I be concerned about someone coming to work with our pitchers who spent the past several seasons working for Dusty Baker?

That was excatly the first thought I had.

Gainesville Red
11-07-2006, 07:08 PM
That was excatly the first thought I had.

Same here.

Hap
11-07-2006, 07:11 PM
Best. name. ever.

http://dconti23.2itb.com/71lot/283.JPG

http://us2.pixagogo.com/S5wewFGnYDmUMVqTtLcUmL4ANQsMMMU1kp49QHpUnmq98Szg3D F6TA6p6PDFu54REqvYs!2AS-U0v-k!qjHeBDa4b0YpjlGIqy9fr1Zetmgr4Z0JLmiY!0!7Oft0pSeM 77/1984_topps_rusty_kuntz_psa_9.jpg

http://imagehost.vendio.com/bin/imageserver.x/00000000/five55/110165168.jpg

http://images.auctionworks.com/hi/50/49534/c1286.jpg

http://imagehost.vendio.com/bin/imageserver.x/00000000/five55/110167273.jpg

deltachi8
11-07-2006, 07:14 PM
Best. name. ever.

I respectfully disagree...the head of the Anti-doping agency(?) is Dick Pound

marcshoe
11-07-2006, 07:17 PM
When I read this, I groaned. Not because I dislike him, but because I remember the way guys I knew reacted to his name when I was 13 or 14, and I figured the reaction on this board would be about the same. Seems I was right. This is worse than Jung Bong. :p:

Team Clark
11-07-2006, 07:23 PM
Good choice. Very adaptable and well respected. High hopes for him.

DoogMinAmo
11-07-2006, 07:25 PM
Good choice. Very adaptable and well respected. High hopes for him.

So far no one has said anything bad, and TC finds some good in the choice. I feel relieved.

RedsManRick
11-07-2006, 07:28 PM
*cough* future podcast interview *cough* :)

MrCinatit
11-07-2006, 07:38 PM
Good choice. Very adaptable and well respected. High hopes for him.

This actually gives me a lot of confidence (as well as Tom Servo's wikipedia article). Thanks for that.
*please insert Rusty Kuntz/Pete LaCock pun here*

flyer85
11-07-2006, 07:39 PM
Best. name. ever.nah, that would Dick Trickle.

SteelSD
11-07-2006, 08:09 PM
Should I be concerned about someone coming to work with our pitchers who spent the past several seasons working for Dusty Baker?

He was also at Baker's side in San Fran. Reported to yell a lot.

Since 1995:

Team: Runs Allowed

1995 SFG- 873 Runs Allowed <projected per 162 games>
1995 SFG- 862 Runs Allowed
1997 SFG- 793 Runs Allowed
1999 ANA- 826 Runs Allowed
2000 CLE- 816 Runs Allowed
2001 CLE- 821 Runs Allowed
2002 MTL- 718 Runs Allowed

Average: 816 Runs Allowed per Season (5.04 RPG). His 1988-1991 Cubs staffs finished 10th, 6th, 11th, and 11th in the NL when it was a 12-team league.

Welcome, Dick. You'll fit right in.

M2
11-07-2006, 08:11 PM
Randy Johnson is probably my favorite name ever, though it's hard to separate him qualitatively from Randy Bush. I've always wanted to know how those two fared when they faced each other.

Always Red
11-07-2006, 08:20 PM
Randy Johnson is probably my favorite name ever, though it's hard to separate him qualitatively from Randy Bush. I've always wanted to know how those two fared when they faced each other.

:bowrofl: :bowrofl: :bowrofl:

corkedbat
11-07-2006, 08:28 PM
Randy Johnson is probably my favorite name ever, though it's hard to separate him qualitatively from Randy Bush. I've always wanted to know how those two fared when they faced each other.


It would probably be a push :pimp:

Krusty
11-07-2006, 09:08 PM
If he transforms Homer Bailey to the next Greg Maddux, the Reds nation will be rejoicing.

Team Clark
11-07-2006, 09:10 PM
*cough* future podcast interview *cough* :)

Good idea. You should listen to the Raul Gonzalez interview I have posted. Good stuff.

Team Clark
11-07-2006, 09:12 PM
I just wonder if Ray Miller was contacted. Ray is probably one of the 5 best Pitching Coaches of ALL time. I know he's available.

Handofdeath
11-07-2006, 09:14 PM
He was also at Baker's side in San Fran. Reported to yell a lot.

Since 1995:

Team: Runs Allowed

1995 SFG- 873 Runs Allowed <projected per 162 games>
1995 SFG- 862 Runs Allowed
1997 SFG- 793 Runs Allowed
1999 ANA- 826 Runs Allowed
2000 CLE- 816 Runs Allowed
2001 CLE- 821 Runs Allowed
2002 MTL- 718 Runs Allowed

Average: 816 Runs Allowed per Season (5.04 RPG). His 1988-1991 Cubs staffs finished 10th, 6th, 11th, and 11th in the NL when it was a 12-team league.

Welcome, Dick. You'll fit right in.

Greg Maddux 1987
6-14 5.61 ERA

Greg Maddux 1988
18-8 3.18 ERA

1993 Giants 3rd in Runs allowed
1994 Giants 5th in Runs allowed

Face it. The Reds made good solid hires at both coaching positions.

Falls City Beer
11-07-2006, 09:15 PM
Greg Maddux 1987
6-14 5.61 ERA

Greg Maddux 1988
18-8 3.18 ERA

1993 Giants 3rd in Runs allowed
1994 Giants 5th in Runs allowed

Face it. The Reds made good solid hires at both coaching positions.

Huh?

MartyFan
11-07-2006, 09:23 PM
I just wonder if Ray Miller was contacted. Ray is probably one of the 5 best Pitching Coaches of ALL time. I know he's available.

I wondered the same thing but was not for sure he was available...since he got the boot from the O's what has he been doing?

Heath
11-07-2006, 09:29 PM
Randy Johnson is probably my favorite name ever, though it's hard to separate him qualitatively from Randy Bush. I've always wanted to know how those two fared when they faced each other.

It depends only how Randy the pitcher...ummm...*cough* penetrated the strike zone.


:bang:

traderumor
11-07-2006, 09:36 PM
In 1954, it was possible for Baltimore Orioles outfielder Dick Kokos to face Detroit Tigers righty Dick Weik.

SteelSD
11-07-2006, 09:39 PM
Greg Maddux 1987
6-14 5.61 ERA

Greg Maddux 1988
18-8 3.18 ERA

1993 Giants 3rd in Runs allowed
1994 Giants 5th in Runs allowed

Face it. The Reds made good solid hires at both coaching positions.

1. Greg Maddux was a 21 year old rookie in 1988.
2. You can thank Roger Craig.

The Reds just hired a hitting coach without much of a history and a pitching coach with a very spotty history to join a GM without much of a history and a manager with a very spotty history. Pardon me if I don't much like filling those positions with "first chance" and "last chance"- especially if any of them have been within earshot of Dusty Baker.

WVRedsFan
11-07-2006, 10:18 PM
We had a guy run for governor once named Peter D. Beter (and Beter was pronounced "beater). I was 14 and laughed through the election. I haven't grown up much because I'm been laughing at all this stuff. An adolescent again at 50 plus. Feels good.

westofyou
11-07-2006, 10:24 PM
Pole was Sabathia's first pitching coach, when he was 20.

Team Clark
11-07-2006, 10:46 PM
I wondered the same thing but was not for sure he was available...since he got the boot from the O's what has he been doing?

He still has some interaction with the O's. He was replaced when he took ill which paved the way for the Mazzone hiring. If memory serves he had an anyeurysm. My understanding is that he is 100% healthy and ready to go. That guy gets results.

Handofdeath
11-07-2006, 11:06 PM
1. Greg Maddux was a 21 year old rookie in 1988.
2. You can thank Roger Craig.

The Reds just hired a hitting coach without much of a history and a pitching coach with a very spotty history to join a GM without much of a history and a manager with a very spotty history. Pardon me if I don't much like filling those positions with "first chance" and "last chance"- especially if any of them have been within earshot of Dusty Baker.

I can see your point about Baker but if you'll look it up some of the staffs he's worked with have been pretty bad. He can only work with what he's given. Some of the #2 and #3 starters he had wouldn't make the AAA pitching staff on most teams. We are talking Dave Williams bad. He's worked with a lot of quality pitchers and has not screwed up a single one and got some good seasons out of some pretty ordinary pitchers. Maddux himself has said how important he was to his success. High praise in my book. You can be the best pitching coach in the game but if you're working with a bunch of jabronies and the manager is crappy and gets fired what can you do? The Reds got the protege of the best hitting coach in the majors and as a pitching coach the guy who made Greg Maddux a Hall of Famer. They hired as a GM a guy who was Assistant GM on three Division winners. The manager led a team picked to finish last to a 80-82 record this year and is 2 games under .500 for his career here. This with a team that throws Eric Milton out there every fifth day.

Unassisted
11-07-2006, 11:49 PM
Maddux himself has said how important he was to his success. High praise in my book.

The Reds got the protege of the best hitting coach in the majors and as a pitching coach the guy who made Greg Maddux a Hall of Famer.

That's the spirit of optimism that will sustain us into spring training. "Benefit of the doubt," I say. :beerme:

SteelSD
11-08-2006, 12:22 AM
...and as a pitching coach the guy who made Greg Maddux a Hall of Famer.

Didn't know Pole was spelled "M-a-z-z-o-n-e".;)

Or maybe an outlier like Greg Maddux was going to be Greg Maddux regardless of who his pitching coach was? Seems a better theory than crediting a pitching coach with turning a 21-year-old who took the same lumps most 21-year-old's take (19 years ago) into a Hall-of-Famer. Again, 19 years ago. In a game ruled by "What have you done for me lately", 19 years ago doesn't seem to fit the definition of "lately". Heck, if we want to look at "lately", we could consider Tom Hume, who was passed over for the job, to be the guy who turned Bronson Arroyo into an All Star. But then, I expect that correlation isn't any more causality than Dick Pole Re: Greg Maddux.

And it appears no one noticed what the following quote (attributed to Pole by Maddux) translates to:

"Why don't you stop trying to strike guys out? Just try to get them out, and you'll probably strike out just as many guys, if not more."

Translation: "Pitch to contact."

My apologies in advance if you perceive that any of my venom is directed at you, Handofdeath. It's not. I'm just completely ticked off that we've been there and done that and now we're back after a five-minute search for the best possible option at pitching coach.

But being connected (even loosely) with someone like Greg Maddux can perpetuate a career, that's for sure. Since then, I haven't seen anything remotely resembling a real reason to give Dick Pole the job of Pitching Coach at the Major League level. But not only do the Reds do it- they take five minutes to do it. Now they've got a "first chance" hitting coach and a "last chance" pitching coach. And I'm about 100 times more enthused about the unknown of Jacoby than I am about Dick Pole.

However, I'd be twice as enthused about Dick Pole if his middle name were Harry.

Look, I know you're just trying to be hopeful, so I'm not going to address the Krivsky and Narron points (particularly as they've been covered ad nauseum). That'd start some tangents we really don't need on the thread.

forfreelin04
11-08-2006, 02:30 AM
[QUOTE=SteelSD;1189591]

And it appears no one noticed what the following quote (attributed to Pole by Maddux) translates to:

"Why don't you stop trying to strike guys out? Just try to get them out, and you'll probably strike out just as many guys, if not more."

Translation: "Pitch to contact."

QUOTE]

How do you figure that? Pitch to contact means to limit walks as much as possible by allowing the batter to see more strikes. I think what Pole (or whatever name you are choosing to call him before he actually gets a shot to make a difference) is referring to here is not overthrowing the ball or trying to make a perfect pitch with two strikes. This quote suggests to me that Maddux learned here to stay within himself in his delivery, stay with his strengths (location and speed change), and become much more of a pitcher then a thrower. I don't think anyone in the Major Leagues barring someone that can throw a fastball by the majority of hitters is ever thinking of striking out every hitter. Few have it and those that do not and still try have little sucess in the majors. I think your jumping to conclusions here about Pole. He has made a difference for alot of pitchers who were so so before they were under his wing. Let's the year play out before we pass judgement.

Ron Madden
11-08-2006, 02:34 AM
Well.. At least we have a top notch Broadcasting Team. ;)

A classic case of selling the sizzle instead of steak.

Topcat
11-08-2006, 03:11 AM
Who knows what Dick Pole's going to do for the Red's. If he makes the starters dig him then it is safe to say they are smokin on the Pole ;)

Redsland
11-08-2006, 10:24 AM
I hear Dick Pole has already requested his uniform number.

He wants 9 1/2.

:)

Heath
11-08-2006, 10:27 AM
I hear Dick Pole has already requested his uniform number.

He wants 9 1/2.

:)

You sure he doesn't want 00??

Won't be long now when the Viagara ads will be on the outfield walls. Any bit of luck and those ads would be located in the "Power Alleys"

:bang:

Redsland
11-08-2006, 10:29 AM
Anyone know if he advocates throwing the high hard one?

registerthis
11-08-2006, 10:55 AM
I respectfully disagree...the head of the Anti-doping agency(?) is Dick Pound

What about race car driver Dick Trickle? I'm not sure that one can be topped.

Redsland
11-08-2006, 11:02 AM
IIRC, Dick Pole was reputed to have a pretty mean spitter.

Hap
11-08-2006, 11:05 AM
As we are all using our cerebral resources to become amateur comedians, we are losing sight of an interesting trivial tidbit about Dick Pole (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Pole). He had an infinite ERA in the 1975 World Series (http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1975_WS.shtml) against the Reds. He walked Bench and Perez in the eighth inning of Game 5 (http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/B10160CIN1975.htm) (his only WS appearance), and he did not retire a batter. Bench scored on a sac fly by Concepcion.

RFS62
11-08-2006, 02:24 PM
I hear Dick Pole has already requested his uniform number.

He wants 9 1/2.

:)





:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Red Leader
11-08-2006, 02:58 PM
As we are all using our cerebral resources to become amateur comedians, we are losing sight of an interesting trivial tidbit about Dick Pole (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Pole). He had an infinite ERA in the 1975 World Series (http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1975_WS.shtml) against the Reds. He walked Bench and Perez in the eighth inning of Game 5 (http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/B10160CIN1975.htm) (his only WS appearance), and he did not retire a batter. Bench scored on a sac fly by Concepcion.

That means that Dick Pole's WHIP is infinite as well, does it not? :D

Heath
11-08-2006, 03:05 PM
That means that Dick Pole's WHIP is infinite as well, does it not? :D

:clap:

RFS62
11-08-2006, 03:59 PM
That means that Dick Pole's WHIP is infinite as well, does it not? :D



Dick Pole's infinite whip.

Sounds like something out of Puffy's dvd collection.

Handofdeath
11-08-2006, 04:15 PM
That means that Dick Pole's WHIP is infinite as well, does it not? :D

Yes but while his WHIP is infinite he can't finish what he starts.

Red Leader
11-08-2006, 04:24 PM
Yes but while his WHIP is infinite he can't finish what he starts.

Maybe Dick Pole was forced into the a situation where it was impossible for him to be effective? :dunno:

Even Puffy would admit those stats are based on a small sample size. :p:

Handofdeath
11-08-2006, 04:55 PM
Maybe Dick Pole was forced into the a situation where it was impossible for him to be effective? :dunno:

I wouldn't know anything about something like that. And neither does anyone else on this board.:D

HumnHilghtFreel
11-08-2006, 06:25 PM
Best. name. ever.

I was thinking the exact same thing haha

Spitball
11-08-2006, 09:16 PM
How do you figure that? Pitch to contact means to limit walks as much as possible by allowing the batter to see more strikes. I think what Pole (or whatever name you are choosing to call him before he actually gets a shot to make a difference) is referring to here is not overthrowing the ball or trying to make a perfect pitch with two strikes. This quote suggests to me that Maddux learned here to stay within himself in his delivery, stay with his strengths (location and speed change), and become much more of a pitcher then a thrower. I don't think anyone in the Major Leagues barring someone that can throw a fastball by the majority of hitters is ever thinking of striking out every hitter. Few have it and those that do not and still try have little sucess in the majors. I think your jumping to conclusions here about Pole. He has made a difference for alot of pitchers who were so so before they were under his wing. Let's the year play out before we pass judgement.

Well said, forfreel. "Pitching to contact" was Dan O'Brien's spin on the age old pitching philosophy called "Inviting contact." It is not new, and it is universally embraced.

Mario-Rijo
11-08-2006, 10:09 PM
A little more on Richard!


11/07/2006 7:26 PM ET
Pole named Reds pitching coach
Veteran instructor takes over talented, but young pitching staff
By Jason Beck / MLB.com


Future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux has called Dick Pole one of the best influences on his career. But as Pole points out, he's not coaching Maddux anymore.
The Reds finalized their 2007 staff on Tuesday by naming Pole as their new pitching coach. Pole's next challenge is taking over a relatively young pitching staff in Cincinnati that made strides in 2006 but still has room to grow.

Pole fills a vacancy that had been in transition since Vern Ruhle was diagnosed with cancer. Tom Hume filled the position this past season, but the Reds prefer to return him to his previous role as bullpen coach and look for a more veteran pitching instructor.

They quickly found their guy with Pole, who embarks on his 19th year as a Major League coach with his sixth big-league pitching coach assignment.

"Just competing against him, seeing him through the years, I've always been impressed with the way he goes about his business," manager Jerry Narron said on Tuesday. "His reputation has been outstanding. There's been some very good pitchers who believe in him. He's been a grinder. He's stuck around in this game and he loved it."

The biggest name of those pitchers is Maddux, who became Pole's project in 1988 coming off a 6-14 record as a 21-year-old rookie the previous season. As the story goes, Pole tried to get Maddux to think less about strikeouts and more about simply making pitches and getting outs in whatever fashion.

Maddux improved to 18-8 in that '88 season, the first of 17 consecutive seasons with 15 or more wins and 14 straight seasons with over 200 innings pitched. His innings per start went up, his hits per inning went down and the rest, as they say, was history.

"I know that's something that kind of stuck with Dick," general manager Wayne Krivsky said. "When a guy like Maddux says something like that, it has to make you feel good."

Pole and Maddux were reunited the last few years with the Cubs, except that Pole was the bench coach instead of the pitching coach. When Narron and Krivsky approached him about the Cincinnati opening, Pole said that it was a chance for him to return to his roots.

Plus, he's doing it in a league and a division he knows pretty well over the last several years.

"The last few years I've seen them get better," Pole said. "I've seen [Aaron] Harang, and then they added [Bronson] Arroyo. They have some young pitchers that need to get better, but I saw Wayne make some moves near the end of the year. That's part of my job [with young pitchers], to let them know they belong."

The numbers should help in that regard. Despite playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park, the Reds finished in the top half of the National League with a 4.51 earned run average, lowest of any team in the Central Division except for the pitching-rich Astros. Their nine complete games were an NL best.

Likewise, their 464 walks allowed were the fewest of any NL team, helping mitigate the effect of their NL-high 213 home runs surrendered and 2,593 total bases allowed.

"The one thing that impressed me about that pitching staff is how few walks they had in that ballpark," Pole said. "When you don't walk a lot of guys in a ballpark like that or Coors Field, you give yourself a chance. You let them hit one-run homers instead of three-run homers."

That's one part of being able to pitch effectively in a small ballpark. The rest, he pointed out, is a matter of pitching to the opponent rather than the dimensions.

"The biggest thing in a park like that is execute your pitches," Pole said. "Whether you're a sinkerball pitcher or a four-seam pitcher, if you execute, you're going to get your outs. I can't come into a place like that and take somebody who's a four-seam pitcher and say, 'Uh-oh, we have to get you throwing sinkers.'"

He doesn't want to change Reds pitchers, but part of his task will be to develop them. Take away the trio of Arroyo, Harang and Eric Milton, and 55 of the remaining 66 starts came from pitchers age 27 or younger. Key relievers Todd Coffey and Bill Bray are trying to build on two seasons or less of big-league experience, while Gary Majewski will try to turn his career back in the right direction after a nightmarish 2006.

Before Pole can teach, he said, he has to earn their trust. Like new hitting coach Brook Jacoby, that will be part of Pole's job in Spring Training.

"From my perspective, I don't think it's good for a guy like me to go into a situation and see a guy two times and say you've got to change this or change that," Pole said. "The first part of my job is to observe them and see what they can do. Change has to be a little bit at a time. If you come in and say to a guy you've got to totally revamp them, you're going to lose their trust real quick."

The Reds already held a special place in Pole's life before this. His only career playoff assignment came against Cincinnati in the 1975 World Series, walking the only two batters he faced in Game 3.

Pole pitched six Major League seasons in a career shortened by a freak line-drive back up the middle. He made 122 career appearances, 77 of them starts, with the Red Sox and Mariners before finishing his career in Mexico.

SteelSD
11-09-2006, 02:27 AM
Well said, forfreel. "Pitching to contact" was Dan O'Brien's spin on the age old pitching philosophy called "Inviting contact." It is not new, and it is universally embraced.

Over the past five years, there are solid correlations between high Runs Allowed and low K rates from pitching staffs. I've checked. Voros McCraken checked before me and I concur with his findings.

"Inviting contact" is a horrible idea. Always has been. Always will be.

RFS62
11-09-2006, 08:18 AM
Over the past five years, there are solid correlations between high Runs Allowed and low K rates from pitching staffs. I've checked. Voros McCraken checked before me and I concur with his findings.

"Inviting contact" is a horrible idea. Always has been. Always will be.



This sounds way too general to me. It depends on the pitchers stuff the approach he should take.

Spitball
11-09-2006, 12:22 PM
Over the past five years, there are solid correlations between high Runs Allowed and low K rates from pitching staffs. I've checked. Voros McCraken checked before me and I concur with his findings.

"Inviting contact" is a horrible idea. Always has been. Always will be.

Choke...cough...What!?!? Inviting contact has absolutely nothing to do with low strikeout totals. Inviting contact actually is the very philosophy pitchers use to get ahead in the count. Check the statistics, a pitcher's success rate is far better when ahead in the count. Inviting contact is about getting ahead in the count by hitting spots within the strike zone with pitches that limit solid contact and then getting the batter out with the pitcher's pitch. It is exactly what Aaron Harang used to lead the league in strikeouts this season.

RedsManRick
11-09-2006, 12:24 PM
Good idea. You should listen to the Raul Gonzalez interview I have posted. Good stuff.

I have TC -- Good stuff indeed.

Degenerate39
11-09-2006, 12:50 PM
The Old Dick Pole will bring the Reds back to glory

SteelSD
11-09-2006, 03:40 PM
Choke...cough...What!?!? Inviting contact has absolutely nothing to do with low strikeout totals. Inviting contact actually is the very philosophy pitchers use to get ahead in the count. Check the statistics, a pitcher's success rate is far better when ahead in the count. Inviting contact is about getting ahead in the count by hitting spots within the strike zone with pitches that limit solid contact and then getting the batter out with the pitcher's pitch. It is exactly what Aaron Harang used to lead the league in strikeouts this season.

You're actually describing a process of forcing contact and then pitching away from contact situationally rather than "inviting contact". While "forcing/avoiding" process involves an attempt to get ahead in the count early (a good practice), it's fundamentally different from inviting contact.

The philosophy of "inviting contact" revolves around the practice of attempting to minimize damage by coaxing low pitch count ground balls and allowing your defense to do the work. That's "pitch-to-contact" in a nutshell and it's an awful idea because it needs three things to work. First, it needs a very strong defense. Secondly, it requires an extreme ground ball pitcher. Third, it requires a pitcher who holds some control over his BABIP (which is where the philosophy suffers significant breakdown).

Basically, you're right about how Aaron Harang led the NL in K's, but "inviting contact" is a fundamentally different animal than the process Harang used.

osuceltic
11-09-2006, 04:04 PM
You're actually describing a process of forcing contact and then pitching away from contact situationally rather than "inviting contact". While "forcing/avoiding" process involves an attempt to get ahead in the count early (a good practice), it's fundamentally different from inviting contact.

The philosophy of "inviting contact" revolves around the practice of attempting to minimize damage by coaxing low pitch count ground balls and allowing your defense to do the work. That's "pitch-to-contact" in a nutshell and it's an awful idea because it needs three things to work. First, it needs a very strong defense. Secondly, it requires an extreme ground ball pitcher. Third, it requires a pitcher who holds some control over his BABIP (which is where the philosophy suffers significant breakdown).

Basically, you're right about how Aaron Harang led the NL in K's, but "inviting contact" is a fundamentally different animal than the process Harang used.

You're splitting hairs. You know very well they're talking about throwing strikes, getting ahead in the count, and minimizing walks. Those are all good things. If you honestly don't see that, you're looking at your numbers in entirely the wrong way.

Spitball
11-09-2006, 04:40 PM
You're splitting hairs. You know very well they're talking about throwing strikes, getting ahead in the count, and minimizing walks. Those are all good things. If you honestly don't see that, you're looking at your numbers in entirely the wrong way.

Exactly. I have spent more than thirty years working for, working as , and talking to pitching coaches, and now I find the term redfined. Inviting contact is, as you say, throwing strikes, getting ahead in the count, and minimizing walks.

RedsManRick
11-09-2006, 04:47 PM
There's a difference between "pitch to contact" and "don't pitch away from contact"...

fearofpopvol1
11-09-2006, 06:28 PM
I think way too many people are making a big deal out of the pitching coach. Major league pitchers are in the major leagues because they are major league ready to pitch. A tweak here or there is understandable, but major mechanics should be worked ou in the minors. It shows the importance of having great coaches in the minor leagues.

Handofdeath
11-09-2006, 07:16 PM
I think way too many people are making a big deal out of the pitching coach. Major league pitchers are in the major leagues because they are major league ready to pitch. A tweak here or there is understandable, but major mechanics should be worked ou in the minors. It shows the importance of having great coaches in the minor leagues.

Ask the Atlanta Braves how important a pitching coach is. The idea that "Major league pitchers are in the major leagues because they are major league ready to pitch." is absurd. How many pitchers have the Reds trotted out over the last few years that just got killed? Players wind up in the Majors for a number of reasons. Talent is only one.

traderumor
11-09-2006, 07:46 PM
Ask the Atlanta Braves how important a pitching coach is. The idea that "Major league pitchers are in the major leagues because they are major league ready to pitch." is absurd. How many pitchers have the Reds trotted out over the last few years that just got killed? Players wind up in the Majors for a number of reasons. Talent is only one.So, if that is the case, the experience of the Orioles last year certainly throws a wrench in your theory.

SteelSD
11-10-2006, 01:00 AM
There's a difference between "pitch to contact" and "don't pitch away from contact"...

Bingo, and it appears that's what's being misunderstood.

Be aggressive. Force contact on your terms with high-quality strikes and pitch away from contact after getting ahead in the count. That doesn't mean throwing obvious Balls, of course. Throw pitches that look like Strikes, but are actually borderline pitches the hitter has to protect against. That's a good theory. The bad theory ("invite contact" a.k.a "pitch to contact) is this:

espn.com 2004:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/print?id=1808817&type=story

It was decided that the Reds pitchers would pitch to create contact in 2004, rather than trying to miss the bats of opposing hitters. "We decided we would try to get to contact as early as we could in the (ball-strike) count," O'Brien recalled Monday.

Focus on throwing strikes. Focus on prompting opposing hitters to put the ball in play, and trusting the Reds' defense to make plays. Focus on decreasing pitch counts from inning to inning, enabling the starters to work deeper into games. The best pitchers on the staff, then, would throw more innings, while the middle relievers -- usually the soft underbelly of most pitching staffs -- would have a lightened workload.

<end excerpt>

That's just a dumb pitching philosophy- particularly if you have a bad defense and don't have pitchers who can miss bats.

The key problem with "pitch to contact" is that pitchers can't control their BABIP; meaning that focusing on bringing the fielders into play isn't necessarily going to decrease pitcher workload due to the probable increase in Innings extended due to more baserunners. Sure a pitcher might be able to cut down his P/PA by "inviting contact", but that's pointless if the practice results in more batters faced. As you mentioned, that doesn't mean a pitcher should avoid contact at all costs, but if the primary focus is on ending PA in the first three or four pitches, you've got yourself a problem.

Lastly, only the most precise pitchers in the game are going to be able to hold down their HR totals while "inviting contact".

Fewer Walks and more Home Runs? Sure. Fewer baserunners? Not likely. Fewer Strikeouts? Almost definitely. The Reds tried this crap in 2004 and 2005 and were pummelled.

Ron Madden
11-10-2006, 04:09 AM
There is much more to it than just throwing strikes and gaing the advatage of the count.

Batting practice should always be held before the game. ;)

harangatang
11-10-2006, 04:38 AM
O'Brien :jump: Makes me happy.;)

Spitball
11-10-2006, 12:12 PM
Bingo, and it appears that's what's being misunderstood.

Be aggressive. Force contact on your terms with high-quality strikes and pitch away from contact after getting ahead in the count. That doesn't mean throwing obvious Balls, of course. Throw pitches that look like Strikes, but are actually borderline pitches the hitter has to protect against. That's a good theory. The bad theory ("invite contact" a.k.a "pitch to contact) is this:


...Geesh, now you've come around to a definition that is purely and simply "inviting contact."

These are my last words on this subject. I see absolutely no honorable reason to twist the intent or definition in order to make a point. Like a masterful politician, you took Dick Pole's valid comment and defined it for him with the intent to place him in a negative light.


"Why don't you stop trying to strike guys out? Just try to get them out, and you'll probably strike out just as many guys, if not more."

Translation: "Pitch to contact."

That is your translation and your twist. I don't know how often you talk to pitching coaches, but this comment by Pole is standard advice embraced by virtually everyone.


...and you'll probably strike out just as many guys, if not more."

This is the key right here. This is how inviting contact works.


Be aggressive. Force contact on your terms with high-quality strikes and pitch away from contact after getting ahead in the count. That doesn't mean throwing obvious Balls, of course. Throw pitches that look like Strikes, but are actually borderline pitches the hitter has to protect against. That's a good theory.

This is what inviting contact is all about no matter what political slant you want to put on it in order to validate your stance.

Inviting contact is a philosophy that dictates an aggressive pitching strategy. The pitcher goes right after the batter and throws strikes in order to get ahead in the count. These strikes are not thrown up through the middle of the plate, but in locations that minimize solid contact. (Even the real hard throwers get a large majority of their outs on balls in play) And, just as you said, the pitcher then gets the batter out with balls too close to let go or in other words, with his pitch. This is exactly what Dick Pole meant when he said, "...and you'll probably strike out just as many guys, if not more."

Pitching ahead in the count becomes a cliche unless it is put in other terms. Inviting contact is telling the pitcher not to be afraid to go after the hitter. Be in the strike zone, but change locations, eye levels, and make the batter adjust to different speeds. The pitcher must get ahead in order to throw those split finger fastballs dropping out of the zone, or those sliders and curves breaking into the dirt. To real baseball people, avoiding contact is called "not trusting your stuff". To real baseball people, "inviting contact" is saying that you go out there, be aggressive and go after the hitter. Don't be afraid to invite contact because if you fall behind in the count, you will have to come to the batter with a "crippled pitch."

Now, you can put whatever political slant you want on this because I don't have to have your validation to know what I'm talking about. Inviting contact is all about pitching ahead in the count.

Handofdeath
11-10-2006, 10:35 PM
So, if that is the case, the experience of the Orioles last year certainly throws a wrench in your theory.

Not really, I was just making a point and using them as an example. I could just as easily said the Texas Rangers and Rudy Jamarillo. My point was that coaches are necessary in the Majors and not everyone who is in the majors is major league ready.

SteelSD
11-11-2006, 12:31 AM
To real baseball people, avoiding contact is called "not trusting your stuff". To real baseball people, "inviting contact" is saying that you go out there, be aggressive and go after the hitter. Don't be afraid to invite contact because if you fall behind in the count, you will have to come to the batter with a "crippled pitch."

Of course you don't want to be afraid of contact. But that's a fundamentally different concept than "inviting contact" (a.k.a. "pitching to contact"). The irony is that we actually agree on pitching philosophy, but "inviting contact" isn't it.


I don't know how often you talk to pitching coaches, but this comment by Pole is standard advice embraced by virtually everyone.

The problem is that you're not actually talking about "inviting contact" (which IS what Pole is talking about). I posted the Dan O'Brien passage from 2004. That's a near dictionary definition of "inviting contact"- as is the following explanation from 2004 Brooklyn Cyclone (Mets) Manager Tony Tijerina regarding then-prospect Scott Hyde's pitching performance:

Hyde had seven ground ball outs to his two fly ball outs, improving his season ratio to twenty-one groundball outs to seven fly ball outs. Manager Tony Tijerina was very impressed, and mentioned how the organization makes special notes of pitchers like that.

“That is really impressive” said Tijerina. “That is something we track in the organization, and reward our pitchers for getting groundball outs, or getting outs while throwing three pitches or less in an at bat, or for throwing strikes, and not walking people. We monitor that very closely, and make sure to recognize those pitchers.”

“We call it inviting contact, and letting your defense do the work” said Tijerina.

http://www.georgefox.edu/athletics/baseball/hyde/0729nyfansonly.html

That's a "real" baseball guy telling us exactly what I've been telling you. It's exactly the same concept that Dan O'Brien attempted to implement; a concept that was doomed from the get-go. It's a philosophy where getting ahead of hitters and not walking them are byproducts; i.e. results of the primary objectives.

Those objectives are all about trying to coax players into weak contact early in the count to conserve pitches while relying on your defense to make plays. That's what "inviting contact" is; from the mouth of a "real" baseball person. Pitch conservation is important, but the number of groundball Outs and PA's ended in three pitches or less becomes a primary goal, that's just awful. Organizations are much better served by acquiring pitchers who are adept at actually getting Outs rather than trying to preach the method of doing so.

The problem with "inviting contact" that for it to make you a better pitcher, you have to be a ground ball demon, have a great defense behind you, AND you have to be able to exert some control over your BABIP and HR rate.

Let's see...active pitchers I know of who might (I repeat "might") fit that description:

Greg Maddux
Mariano Rivera

And that's a real problem and highlights the primary reason the real "invite contact/pitch to contact" philosophy doesn't work- it tries to re-create historical outliers using pitchers who are almost 100% unlikely to have the same skill sets.

I'm actually slightly encouraged that Pole doesn't appear to want to teach the sinker to pitchers whom aren't already adept in throwing the pitch. But I'll be darned if I'm not entirely discouraged by Pole's reliance on an otherwise outdated methodology only useful for outliers. Over the long haul, it's not going to make mediocre pitchers better (his spotty history has already demonstrated that). And it's got the potential to screw up good pitchers. When a philosophy is, at best, a neutral and, at worst, a negative I'll give it absolutely no support.

And this conversation does need to end because it's reminding me too much of last offseason when some random dude showed up and tried to tell me how a level swing was part of rotational hitting philosophy.

This conversation is also a great example of how "subjective" conversations are too often unproductive. The party who considers themself to be more experienced ends up citing "thirty years of experience" and "universally accepted" as actual points in their favor.

Problem is that both are logical fallacies in the form of argumentum ad antiquitam and argumentum ad populum. Questioning my honor in this debate and claiming that I have a slant is argumentum ad hominem. Basically, you've got a trifecta of rhetoric going there, but then claim that I'm the "masterful politician". Amusing. The reality is that I've done nothing but attempt to explain where you've gone wrong but you won't hear it because you're tied to what you knew before today. I have no such predilection so I'll let your argument stand on it's merit. Sorry, but that leaves you in a somewhat bad position.

Spitball
11-13-2006, 12:21 PM
I've had a busy weekend, or I would have responded sooner. Actually, I found your response fairly humorous. I enjoyed "lesson" and the creative word choices, but is themself really a word?

I think you spent way too much time cutting and pasting. The Tijerina fellow's comments don't prove anything to me. "Inviting contact" is a term used by baseball people all the time. They preach it to groundball pitchers and flyball pitchers and any other kind you can find. It is about getting ahead in the count. You might want to stop googling and actually find a real baseball coach.

I'm not impressed with your justifications, but I don't expect anything different from you. It is not in your character to admit anything on the public portion of this board.

I would like you to think about Pole's comment, "...and you'll get as many strikeouts if not more." This is the philosophy and strategy behind inviting contact.

This is my final response to this thread. I don't really want to get into one of those ugly arguments with you. This is simply a baseball forum where I come to talk baseball.

RFS62
11-13-2006, 01:52 PM
Outstanding series of posts, Spitball, as usual. Well done.

:beerme: