Pitching Is Harder Than Hitting

Corey McSweeneyAnalyst IApril 15, 2009

BOSTON - APRIL 9: Daisuke Matsuzaka #18 of the Boston Red Sox throws against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park April 9, 2009, in Boston, Massachusetts. The Rays won the game 4-3. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

This hoopla surrounding Greg Paulus is starting to get out of hand. For one, I don’t even understand how he can have college eligibility remaining. But that’s not even the point.

First the Green Bay Packers hold a private workout for Paulus, and then the news comes out that my Wolverines were his host at a practice where he talked with Rich Rodriguez about possibly joining the team. Then, today, Duke football offers him a tryout. At Receiver.

He didn’t even play receiver in high school, and I think Coach K could outrun him baseline to baseline. What is going on? Just because one team gives him a flyer, everyone jumps on board?

The argument that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports also baffles me. You know what’s harder?


Just work with me. I know the hitting arguments.






OK, sorry.

For one, a lot of things in sports are successful less than 50 percent of the time. Think 3-point shooting completing a deep pass in football. Are those things ever mentioned among the hardest things in sports to accomplish?

Umm, no.

Secondly, try pitching one day. I pitched in little league all the way through my sophomore year in high school (I was damn good by the way) so I can help explain. (Ok, I was pretty bad, just play along).

The first thing you have to consider is the wear and tear it imposes on you. The human arm is not built to gyrate and snap 100 times in a span of a few hours. Go out in your backyard and do that for awhile, and then tell me how you feel.

Next, before you can even get to speed and off-speed pitches, or even accuracy, you got to get the pressure down. When you’re hitting, people are focused on you for a few thousandths of a second. If you swing.

If you’re pitching, everyone is looking at you. The other players and coaches, the people in the stands, the umpires, your stalker standing behind the first base fence, alright I made that last one up.

But you get the idea. How is that going to make you feel for three hours?

Now we actually get to physical ability. Getting the accuracy down is a hard thing to do. You have to practice over and over again to consistently throw strikes, and that’s before you get to the age where you have to hit corners.

You have a 3-by-3 inch space (give or take) where you need to get that little ball every time. Not easy. And if you can’t consistently do that and start getting wild, you’re mind is going to go crazy and you’ll hear everyone’s voice around you.

What about off-speed pitches? Yeah, those are fun to try and master. You’ll go through all kind of grips to get that sweet Mike Mussina curveball only to have the big acne-ridden kid from down the block gladly take your hanger and deposit it into the nearest yard behind the left field fence. Good luck.

And then you have velocity. This isn’t even part of the equation, you just need to be born with this. If you only throw 65 and you’re not 11, you’ll never throw 90. You think hitting is harder still? I never did.

Maybe Greg Paulus has the right idea playing football and basketball.

(Yeah, I’m sure one of you smart guys will send me a link saying he played baseball too, just leave it.)