Tom Brennan – THE EQUALIZER
One of my favorite actors, Denzel Washington, was in a flick by the above name recently. No, I have not seen it yet, so I won't be giving you a Pelican Brief on it.
But it made me think of what can be an Equalizer in baseball? A guy lacking power can hustle, optimize his value stealing bases, etc., and maybe turn a non-career into a successful one. But what can a pitcher do?
Not much really - work at his craft, mix his pitches better, study the hitters. But a guy topping out at 87 has huge inherent disadvantage to the guy who busts it at 96. You can't teach 96.
So are there any equalizers for the pitcher who is less physically gifted? This question took on greater urgency when I saw that the Mets has 12 drafted pitchers from 2010's draft, namely McDowell, Mitchell, Frazer, Bennett, Carnevale, Pinera, Sheppard, Kountis, Birdwell, Weldon, Gould, and Winnick, who had a very fine combined 84-57 minor league record (.595), but with one key thing in common: all are now out of baseball!
So I thought, what if I were in a guy like Ryan Fraser's shoes, do I give up and go home, or is there another possibility, which has proven effective when all else failed, one hardly ever used?
My mind immediately flashed to RA Dickey: the knuckler! And Wilbur Wood and the Niekro boys. Oh, and Hoyt Wilhelm. The latter 4 guys were in a gazillion games and won a combined 846 of them. So the knuckler can be the key to success, if only rarely to date.
And I think famous poet Robert Frost, a special favorite of none other than R A Dickey, would have as well, for he wrote:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
But by all means, listen to Yogi:
if you get to a fork in the road, take it!