Monday, June 5, 2017

thoughts on throwing

So, I'm at KS, having decided to stop in for a cold one and the usual soup.

They've got the college baseball regionals on one of the televisions in front of me, and the Women's  College (softball) World Series on the other, Oklahoma versus Florida. (The baseball game is Auburn versus Florida State in the Tallahassee Regional. The winner advances to the Super Regional to play California State University Fullerton, and seeing that gets to what spurs this post.

I am remembering the day several lifetimes ago when I tried out as a walk-on at Fullerton and threw on the side, after finally having finally worked up the nerve to ask the head coach at the time, Augie Garrido, for the chance to do so.

I was a junior that fall, having not played baseball since my junior year in high school. The summer before that fall, though, I decided I'd give it a go, if they let me, and commenced a throwing program that featured a cement wall against which to throw a rubber ball the size of a baseball, with "almost sorta" seams, that weighed more than a regulation baseball.

I was at the time maybe 155 pounds on the same six foot frame I have now, though I weigh 20 pounds more and am about to start a workout routine that will add at least 10 pounds to that by the end of the summer.

What I'm getting at is that I am sitting here wondering where I could get my fastball to now - how high could I elevate my velocity -  with a plan in place and a wall to throw against. I mean, it isn't like my arm is tired or sore. And, given a few memorable throws from the outfield I have made (as recently as a few years ago) in softball games, long throws that would indicate there's still some gas in the pump, I am genuinely curious about the possibility re: radar read-outs.

That day at Fullerton I knew the ball was coming out of my hand well. After a summer of hearing the dull thud or occassional smack of rubber ball against cement wall, it was nice to hear the POP of baseball into catcher's mitt. Seemed as well that the ball had plenty of movement, though the catcher's the one to ask about that.

And I did, sort of, after the session (that earned the call-back), asking the guy who caught me (Rick Campo, look it up) how hard I was throwing, as I'd never been clocked. All I knew is that the day during my junior season in high school, when the varsity coach had everyone line up along the first-base line and throw the ball as far as they could to left-field, I threw the ball the farthest, surprising me and, I think, coach.

Anyway, Campo confirmed the movement on my fastball, describing it as "great," and guessed that my velocity was "right there with most of the staff, 85, 86," which I was quite happy to hear. (And throughout the session my "twelve-six" curve was breaking sharp and straight down, low in the zone.)

And that's about it. Just wondering where two or three months of a throwing program could get the velocity now.

Not that I have Satchel Paige on my mind.

There are, after all, limits to my capacity for self-delusion.

Somewhere, I'm sure.

Cue Springsteen's Glory Days.

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