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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mike Marshall-Innovator or snake oil salesman?

I have always been intrigued with Mike Marshall.
Marshall was a top notch closer in the 70's with the Expos, Dodgers,Braves,Twins etc and he seemed to be an unusually deep thinker in Jim Bouton's classic book Ball Four.
(And if you have never read Ball Four-Shame on you!).
But I have been interested in the pitching motion that Marshall has been teaching for years and after watching Marshall's appearance on HBO's Real Sports last night,I am even more intrigued.
Marshall has claimed for years that his motion has never caused a shoulder or elbow injury and that the pitching motion that is taught/used by traditional baseball men is causing the constant breakdown of pitchers and as a result ending careers and costing franchises lots of money on disabled pitchers.
Marshall holds a doctorate from Michigan State and seems to have the knowledge of the human anatomy down,as one holding a doctorate should,but the motion just looks so awkward and looks like it is more likely to cause arm injuries than the convention motions.
The drills that Marshall teaches at his school's compound in Florida sure seems odd,but so do many baseball drills,so I am not sure that matters much either.
What seems to work against Marshall is the fact that only one pupil (Jeff Sparks) has ever pitched in the big leagues.
One would think if this is such an advance in the pitching business that someone would be using it,but Marshall explains this by saying that either baseball has a bias against his students and therefore does not give them a chance or that most of his students are pitchers recovering from arm problems and are not big league caliber,instead are just looking to be able to pitch in college.
As someone that loves the pitching part of the game more than most and in my coaching days liked to work with pitchers in practice more than anything else,this sounds almost whacko.
But what if Marshall indeed is onto something that is way ahead of his time and baseball (notoriously slow to try new ideas) just is not ready for him?
How many careers could have been saved?
I think I am going to order Marshall's free book and video to take a more detailed look on his teaching and I will be sure to blog on it here,but for now-it is just interesting thinking.

Bullpen Notes

Both of the hoop teams that played yesterday lost and left me pretty uninterested in today's games.
Xavier was upset by St.Joseph's in the Atlantic 10 semis 61-53, while Ohio State fell to Michigan State in the Big 10 quarters 67-60.
The Ohio State loss was not a bad one though in losing to a ranked team in a close game through the game.
Considering the bad losses by other "bubble" teams,I think the Buckeyes are in the tourney.

The Devils play Colorado in Denver today at 3,a win would make it 3 of 4 on their western road swing.Coverage here tomorrow..

Big fight in Las Vegas tonight as Juan Manuel Marquez defends his
WBC Jr.Lightweight belt against Manny Pacquiao in a rematch of their terrific battle four years ago.
In the first fight Pacquiao dropped Marquez three times in the first round,but Marquez dominated much of the rest of the battle before the verdict of a disputed draw.
We like Marquez by a close decision and think his style of controlled aggression is the perfect style to combat Pacquiao,although I hope as a long time Marquez fan that I am not biased in this one.

Photo Credit
Marshall-Topps
Marquez-Pacquiao-BBC.UK,Getty Images

2 comments:

Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

I've programmed my DVR to see the segment on HBO tomorrow morning, but I'm willing to bet that part of the reason people dismiss him is that Jeff Sparks is not Bruce Sutter, who was successful with the new pitch immediately. Looking at the video, it's not that hard to see why Marshall claims the motion is injury-resistant: It's compact, and doesn't rely on torso torque to generate velocity.

Shawn said...

LMK what you thought.
I have read others opinion on this and many claim that it hurts velocity and often leads to fits of control problems........