FanDuel - WFBC

April 28, 2006

Switch pitcher:
"Pat Venditte Sr. came up with the idea when he was tossing a ball to his 3-year-old son in the backyard.
Wouldn't it be neat if he could get Pat Jr., a natural right-hander, to throw equally well with his left?"

posted by hb74147 to baseball at 11:05 AM - 21 comments

I'm kind of disappointed he needs needs to declare to batters ahead of time which arm he's going to pitch with. It'd be much more interesting if the batter didn't know which side it was coming from for each pitch. Could be a right arm fastball or a lefty curve...

posted by hb74147 at 11:14 AM on April 28

Damnit, and I thought I had an original idea with teaching my son to throw with both arms. But it is a really cool concept. I'd like to see him switch sides mid-AB just to really throw the batter off.

posted by fenriq at 11:26 AM on April 28

That's intense. I love the description of the ambidextrous glove.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 11:36 AM on April 28

It's been done at the major league level. Greg A. Harris, for the Red Sox.

posted by yerfatma at 11:41 AM on April 28

I have been fascinated with the concept for a long time, but this is the first time I've actually heard of it. I think that the prime effectiveness would come if he could switch mid at bat.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 11:45 AM on April 28

yerfatma, not everything is about the Red Sox, eh? "The best-known major league switch pitchers were Tony Mullane and Greg Harris. Mullane, who pitched in the 1880s and '90s, wore no glove and would face the batter with both hands on the ball before throwing it with either one. Harris, using both arms, pitched one inning of scoreless relief for the Montreal Expos on Sept. 28, 1995."

posted by Amateur at 12:07 PM on April 28

He would have Little Pat throw footballs left-handed to build strength and muscle memory, and he would have him punt footballs left-footed to develop the leg kick needed for pitching. It requires extensive time and practice. I wish there were an easy way. Has anyone pondered the fact that this child was 3 when his father started this, and 7 when he started ordering $600-700 gloves tailor made? Isn't there a discussion somewhere about how far parents push kids to be professional athletes?

posted by bgarrettatc at 12:08 PM on April 28

Isn't there a discussion somewhere about how far parents push kids to be professional athletes? ... if he's a walk-on middle reliever at Creighton, he ain't gonna make it. That's pretty clear from a between-the-lines reading of everybody's comments. Also reading between the lines, it does seem like Pat Sr. may have been a bit too keen. On the other hand, the kid sounds like he still loves baseball, so we probably shouldn't assume that this was pushed to the point of harm.

posted by Amateur at 12:16 PM on April 28

yerfatma, not everything is about the Red Sox, eh? Agreed, but I remember there being a decent buzz about it the year he did it with the Sox ('cause what else was there to talk about during "The Scott Fletcher Years") and it's one of my favorite memories. I saw him do it on TV for the Sox, so that would predate your citation('s citation).

posted by yerfatma at 12:21 PM on April 28

Isn't there a discussion somewhere about how far parents push kids to be professional athletes? Todd Marinovich comes to mind.

posted by Termite at 12:25 PM on April 28

I saw him do it on TV for the Sox, so that would predate your citation('s citation). Funny because I remember that time with the 'Spos being the first time. My recollection may be faulty though, Montreal was (is?) my team. Anyway that was just a quote from the linked article, I haven't done any additional research.

posted by Amateur at 12:34 PM on April 28

Todd Marinovich comes to mind. So does Tiger Woods. A parent can support a kid's quest to be a professional athlete, even starting them out a a very early age, and still be a good parent.

posted by 86 at 12:36 PM on April 28

I think it would be a dominant pitcher if they can throw 90 from each side

posted by im050483 at 12:47 PM on April 28

Anyway that was just a quote from the linked article, I haven't done any additional research. Apparently I'm crazy, because this says the Sox forbade it. I clearly remember sitting on the couch as a kid and watching him do it. I'd say I've confused a highlight of him with the Expos, but that was 1995 and I was in college at that point. Weird.

posted by yerfatma at 01:09 PM on April 28

Well, memories are faulty. Human ones, anyway.

posted by Amateur at 01:32 PM on April 28

Which is why I outsourced mine to del.icio.us.

posted by yerfatma at 01:57 PM on April 28

No, college could never be a hazy memory.

posted by smithers at 02:49 PM on April 28

Who was the pitcher that threw the ball with his foot?

posted by fenriq at 05:55 PM on April 28

Now I'm taking my 3 year old outside to start his " training ". I wonder how well he fields the ball.

posted by chucodimebag at 08:04 PM on April 28

Good point 86.

posted by chucodimebag at 08:05 PM on April 28

I also agree with 86. Parents have tough calls to make between what is "instructing" and what is "pushing," and the answers are not always obvious. If kids are good at a sport, they are likely going to keep playing and enjoying it. If a parent instructs the kid in a way that gives the kid a competitive edge, the likelihood that the kid is going to be good is increased. Achieving success in anything, I would guess,* is good for the child. In this case, the father was just positioning the kid for success -- whether or not he also "pushed" him is not evident. *The opinions expressed above come with no background in child psychology or even a knowledge of parenting. Just an observation from (probably wacky) reasoning.

posted by BullpenPro at 09:59 AM on May 01

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