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Jamie Moyer over-explains throwing a changeup

Oct 3, 2013, 2:05 PM EDT

moyer getty Getty Images

Pedro Martinez has a book? So does Jamie Moyer. It’s called “Just Tell Me I Can’t,” and Moyer and it were profiled on NPR’s “Fresh Air” show yesterday. There is a transcript of some of his highlights here.

And, with the caveat that I listen to NPR a lot so I’m not trying to make fun of them, there is definitely a different level of baseball analysis featured there than you or I may be used to. Listen to Moyer describe, in NPR’s terms, “using psychology to frustrate batters”:

Knowing that we all have an ego — and that in baseball sometimes those egos can be really big — hitters can have really big egos and not only do they want to hit home runs but they want to hit them 30 rows back, because that’s what people want to see. So now take that ego that they have and use it against them. … If I can throw a hard pitch — maybe it’s just off the plate — but [then] I throw the same pitch or a pitch looking just like it, but it’s 8-10 miles an hour slower … and they swing like it’s the hard pitch, now all of the sudden they’re thinking it’s a fastball and they’re swinging way ahead of the ball, and now they become frustrated. And that’s where the game of chess, of cat and mouse in baseball really comes into play.

Or, as we all call it: throwing a changeup.

I can’t help but wonder how many non-sports fans listened to that and thought “hmm … maybe there’s more to baseball than I realized?”

  1. cur68 - Oct 3, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    And THAT, right there, is why Jamie Moyer lasted in baseball for so long. He isn’t flashy, he does not over power anyone, but he does out think his opponent. Not always, but often enough that he gets the job done.

    And sure, “I throw a changeup” is the short answer, but that explanation he gave for it is OUTSTANDING coaching for a young pitcher with a terrific FB.

    It was great watching Danny Salazar last night. His fast ball was the easiest 98mph I’ve ever seen. He just flipped it at the plate and it blazed in there, it seemed. His change up was THAT much more effective due to it. But he was no Jamie Moyer. Over reliance on the FB saw him get ambushed by Delmon Douchebag Young. In all likelihood, Moyer with Salazar’s FB would OWN MLB. Why? Because a batter would see that lightening-strike FB once/AB. The rest of the time he’d be worrying about it with change ups & breaking pitches all over the sequence. Danny Salazar, if he could also throw like Moyer, would have gone 9 innings of shut out baseball.

    You can’t teach 98mph. But you CAN teach what Moyer’s talking about. If I’m Salazar, I go get me some of that Moyer Mojo this off season.

    • Francisco (FC) - Oct 3, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      It was great watching Danny Salazar last night. His fast ball was the easiest 98mph I’ve ever seen

      Fastballs have feelings too Cur, don’t call them easy… you want to respect them in the morning.

      • cur68 - Oct 3, 2013 at 4:14 PM

        I respect all of the fastballs I take out of the park. All of them. That’s why they’re in my gift basket give aways.

    • ptfu - Oct 3, 2013 at 6:28 PM

      It worked out pretty well for Trevor Hoffman too, post-arm-injury. He used to give interviews saying, in critical spots where both he and the hitter were amped, he’d throw slower not faster. Made his otherwise unexciting fastball a whole lot meaner.

      • ptfu - Oct 3, 2013 at 6:29 PM

        Don’t blow it by ’em, slow it by ’em.

  2. tvguy22 - Oct 3, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Yes, but three-word sentences don’t work real well in radio interviews. C’mon you’re a smart guy who listens to NPR. You should know that.

  3. kruegere - Oct 3, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    He’s speaking to his audience. Its not like he’s on Mike and Mike or something.

  4. barrywhererufrom - Oct 3, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    NPR liberal funded radio by us the taxpayer..moyer’s career is a story of perseverance..too bad it wasnt broadcasted on a outlet that had a large audience of baseball and not obama fans

    • tuberippin - Oct 3, 2013 at 7:31 PM

      Guys, he’s back!!

  5. jakeshuman2 - Oct 3, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    Moyer was smart enough to change his approach to pitching when it became obvious earlier in his career that he wasn’t going to remain in the major leagues unless he did. Succeeding in MLB is all about making adjustments. Sometimes ego doesn’t allow players to do so.

  6. jfk69 - Oct 3, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    Can’t hit my slow pitch…Here comes my folly floater.
    All my love
    Steve Hamilton
    Please buy my book..Why Softball Pitchers Get No Respect

  7. denny65 - Oct 3, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    I saw Moyer on a television interview a few days ago and had to change channels before the end. The guy is in love with the sound of his own voice.

    Oh, and he has a book to sell, have you heard?

  8. pnw51 - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    I guess no one know that Fresh Air is an hour long interview show – is Moyer supposed to sit there silent for the majority of the show in response to the interviewer’s questions? And the audience are not baseball fans. I also guess Calaterra doesn’t regularly tune in to Fresh Air either — it’s a great show.

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