During camp back then, pitchers threw batting practice. We were supposed to use that time to work on pitching from the stretch and from the windup, and basically just to get our legs back under us. Dave parker pulled me aside early that spring with some advice.
"Listen, this is batting practice for us," he said. "You're not trying to throw your best pitches here. You're not trying to strike us out. Just work on your delivery and throwing the ball over the plate."
I understood. This was early camp, so everyone was a little rusty. It wasn't an audition, Park said. It was just a chance for everyone to get back into baseball mode.
Park was one of the first guys I faced after our talk. I threw a strike and he crushed it for a home run. I threw another, and he crushed another one. And these weren't cheap home runs.
Apparently, Dave wasn't feeling too rusty.
After the third rocket cleared the right field wall and landed in the parking lot, he stepped out of the box with a little smile on his face.
"Did that one hit my Porsche?" he asked me. "Tell me it didn't hit my Porsche!"
I thought he was kind of rubbing it in, so I threw the next one right under his chin. After that, I was just doing what he told me to-there was no reason to rub it in.
Park just backed off and smiled after that pitch. He knew I said everything I needed to with just that one pitch.
I went back to throwing strikes, and he went right back to hitting home runs. But I never heard another damn thing about that car of his.