Day Eight of 2008 S/T

Saturday, February 23 2008 @ 10:24 am UTC

Contributed by: WTM

By Jim Sullivan


Another perfect summer day in the middle of February. It almost doesn't seem fair.

Today was quite similar to yesterday, in that the activities were common, and there was little hard news to report.

Unlike yesterday's report when I tried unsuccessfully (in my
opinion) to substitute quantity for the lack of quality, today's report will be short and sweet, so that I may get on my pedestal to comment about another internet site that is using my reports, without my permission, and placing their own spin on my words.

First let's talk baseball.

The last drill of the session is perplexing to me, not because of what the drill is intended to accomplish, nor even which player is participating, but rather, why another player is not.

The final drill of today's session involved the pitcher, minor league catching coordinator, Brad Fischer, throwing balls in the dirt at the catchers feet, repeatedly, to improve one's ability to keep that wild pitch in front of him.

The exercise has been limited to only one catcher, Ryan Doumit.
John Russell's staff is serious enough about this on-going problem, that they have even taped a session, which uncovered a flaw that was not noticed real-time.
I know this, because as the only observer of today's drill, I was close enough to hear Coach Fischer tell Doumit that when they reviewed the tape, they noticed he was turning his shoulder in certain instances.

Lord knows, Doumit has a long way to go in this area, but why only Ryan?

Ronny Paulino, as our starting catcher last year, certainly was guilty of a high number of passed balls and wild pitches that appeared to be stopable, and may, in fact, have affected the outcome of untold number of games.

Yet, I have watched three such drills at the conclusion of the workouts, and Ronny Paulino has yet to make an appearance. Nor has anyone else, whose name is not Ryan Doumit.

I'm not saying that this indicates that the Cleveland deal is still out there, but one wonders if a catcher for catcher deal is on the back burner.

Dejan reported how frustrated Manny Sanguillen was at today's practice watching Paulino's lackluster effort, that he stopped a fielding drill in mid session just to show Ronny how it's done. And I could beat Manny in a twenty yard footrace; well, would you believe ten yards?

And yet Ronny is not invited to the "blocking balls in the dirt"

At the conclusion of this drill, I had an opportunity to ask Coach Fischer, if it was true that he would be managing State College when their season began. He said YES, and that Jeff Bannister would be assuming the minor league catching coordinator's role at that time.
I made him aware that he would be managing baseball in the middle of football country. Brad Fischer then said it couldn't be any worse than when he managed in the state of Alabama. The coach said they're still talking about Bear Bryant!

I would question moving their most experienced catching instructor to a low minor league managing position, but I guess Luis Dorante at the major league level could continue to work with Doumit, though he is not presently doing so.

Now, I would like to address an ongoing situation, that may affect my ability to continue writing these Spring Training Reports.

It was brought to my attention Friday evening that Jake (Steve Conzett), of Bucco Blog was using a section of my Thursday's report, consisting of more than 200 words, without my permission, and putting his own negative spin on my words, so that it reflected unfavorably on the Pirates.

Two years ago, I sent Jake an E-mail to request that he no longer use my "Spring Training Reports" on his site.
At the time he did remove all references to my reports.
I have not given him permission, in the interim, to use any of my work, though I was made aware, after the fact, that he used my words to buttress his opinion, when Freddy Sanchez was injured at 2nd Base last Spring.

All a reporter has to offer, IMO, is his credibility. That is something I consider sacred, even though I am a rank amateur.

It is for that very reason, that I don't want my reporting to appear on a site, which I consider to have significant credibility issues.

In this environment, the only way to ensure that doesn't happen, is to no longer produce "The Spring Training Reports".

No hard decision has been reached.

Let's end this report on a baseball note, which I discussed yesterday.

I had an opportunity to ask Jose Bautista, if in fact, he "ran a lap" as the result of the "two strike bunting drill" that Gary Varsho led at the conclusion of yesterday's practice.
Jose said that Varsho was only kidding, and he did not have to run the lap.

Until next time.

Jim Sullivan