Monday, February 16, 2009

From Andy, a Diggers Teammate

mike s. - crazy, stingy and filthy in 2007 - one for the ages

by andy l

mike got rocked a bit in his first game back with the diggers in the spring of 2007. we were all amazed and elated that he was back in new york and attending our first spring game. the fact that he actually played and pitched was just totally nuts. we all knew he had very serious treatments going on at the time and figured he knew what he was doing and, of course, he should do whatever he wanted to do. if that meant bat 3rd and play shortstop so be it (i'm sure he would have done a fine job at that too.)

mike did get rocked a bit but, it was understandable. he hadn't pitched in almost 2 years. his stuff looked pretty decent. i was paying close attention, behind him at second base, since i was his relief pitcher. i did relieve mike in the 3rd or 4th and we lost the game. after that, i didn't relieve mike again until september. somehow, between treatments and pain and dizziness and heat and rain and mud and hospital stays and cold wind and darkness, mike pitched the full season. 2007 was an amazing performance by any standards but for mike it was really crazy!

mike usually confused hitters with his stuff. hitting against a lefty is just weird, but mike pitched form so far to the first base side of the pitching rubber that it was just uncomfortable for the hitter. as a righty hitter the ball came right at you. in other words if you didn't hit it (or duck ) it would hit you. modified slow pitch softball isn't about intimidating hitters with pitch speed. the game has a very clear and deliberate set of pitching rules enacted to encourage a 'hitters game' with lots of runs scored and plays in the filed. mike pitched within the letter of these rules but allowed no such 'hitters game', stingy!

i watched mike loop it, wing it, change it up, zip it, lob it low and high, and back spin it.... and that was just for one hitter. at second base, playing up-the-middle against right handed hitters as i do, i had an amazing view of mike's mastery. 2007 was a clinic and a performance and a show and a story and no matter how much i cheered at every opposing hitter's frustrated pop-up and 1,2,3 inning, 5 pitch inning mike responded only with a slow gait to the bench, filthy!

i wonder now whether he knew that without his shut down stuff, game after game, the 2007 diggers would likely have been experiencing a first-ever losing season. considering we were only scoring 2 or 3 runs per game, mike single-(left)handedly built a winning record. did he know what kind of year he was having? maybe in the back of his mind he knew that diggers hitters and relief pitchers being what they were that year, he had to just about pitch a complete game shutout every time out. the numbers bear this out... in this hitters-league the league era is around 8. mike's career era is a cool 5.43. in 2007 however, mike's era was 3.84, a run and a half lower than his already low career era. 2007 was one for the ages.

i don't like to pitch but i do it. i guess i'll be doing a bit more of it now. i only hope one day or one inning or one at bat, to have opposing hitters find my stuff either crazy, stingy or filthy.

here are a few more mike stats to chew on

mike's actual career pitching
starts 42
wins 33
losses 7
ties 2
wining percentage .786
earned run average 5.43 (league era 8.00ish)

mikes projected career pitching - pro rated as a 15 year mlb career
starts 630
wins 495
losses 105
earned run average 2.93 (2008 mlb average era 4.32)

mike's actual career hitting
at bats 214
hits 128
batting average .598
on-base percentage .623
walks 21
slugging percentage .827
total bases 177

mike's projected hitting - pro rated as a mlb season (550 ab)
hits 329
doubles 38
triples 13
home runs 20
runs batted in 213
walks 54
runs scored 272
total bases 455

mike's projected hitting - pro rated as a mlb season (550 ab), 15 year mlb career
hits 4935
doubles 570
triples 195
home runs 300
runs batted in 3195
walks 810
runs scored 4080
total bases 6825

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