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Throwing Baseballs

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In baseball, a pitch is the act of throwing a baseball toward home plate to start a play. Originally, the ball was thrown underhand, like horseshoes. Overhand throwing wasn't allowed until 1884.

Effective pitching is vitally important to a baseball team, as pitching is the key for the defensive team to retire batters and to prevent runners from getting on the base. A full game usually involves over one hundred pitches thrown by each team. Most pitchers begin to get to old before they reach this point in their careers. Pitchers used to pitch the entire game and today, we have starters and closers. Many pitchers are needed in a single game. If a game runs into many extra innings, a team will empty its bullpen. Years ago in early baseball teams were small and relief pitchers were uncommon. Today with a much greater emphasis on pitch counts you will see two to five pitchers in a game.

Some pitchers attempt to throw two or three types of pitches, some pitchers throw up to six types of pitches with varying degrees of control. Common pitches include the fastball, a ball thrown at high speed. A curveball which is made to curve by rotation of the pitcher, a changeup, which looks like a fastball but has a lower velocity. The average fastball major league pitchers can throw, is around ninety miles per hour. The change up is thrown somewhere between seventy-five to eighty five miles per hour. Since the batters timing is critical to hitting a pitch, a batter swinging to hit what looks like a fastball will be fooled when the pitch turns out to be a much slower change up.

Some pitchers choose to throw a pitch called the submarine, this is my favorite pitch. I learned it in my backyard using my pitch back and researching styles on my computer. It is a very effective sidearm type of pitch with an underhand motion. Submarine pitches are very difficult to hit because of the angle and movement of the ball once released. I love to use this pitch on my friends.

Pitching has been studied extensively for many years. The types of throwing include windup, early cocking, late cocking, early acceleration, late acceleration deceleration, and follow through. Pitchers throw a variety of pitches, each of which has a slightly different velocity, trajectory, movement, hand position, wrist position and arm angle. These variations are introduced to confuse the batter in various ways, and ultimately aid the defensive team in getting the batter or base runners out. A pitcher manipulates the grip on the ball at the point of release. Variations in the grip cause the seams to catch the air differently thereby changing the trajectory of the ball, making it harder for the batter to hit.

I recently visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., this summer. Tom Seaver is my favorite player. He is the only NY Met who has ever been inducted into the Hall of Fame. During his twenty year career from 1967-1986, he pitched for four different teams. He compiled 311 wins, 3,640 strikeouts, 61 shutouts, and a 2.86 earned run average. His jersey number was retired by the NY Mets. Tom Seaver is considered by many baseball experts as one of the best starting pitchers in the history of baseball.





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