Confessions of a Former Velocity Whore

Velocity is apparently big "worldwide". - Kevin C. Cox

Distancing from a slightly misguided past.

Women in shorts and high heels. More specifically, I suppose, a woman in shorts and high heels with dark hair and light eyes. These are my “things”. The things that make you stop down, shorten your breath, and get nervous; everybody has their “things”. I’m also a sucker for funny kids, well-styled humans, big friendly dogs, passionately made music, and minimalist design. And until recently, I was a sucker for velocity. Didn’t care how it came about, I just wanted to see big numbers. 95,96,97, and be still my beating heart, 100. No more. I’ve come to quit you, velocity.

It’s not that I’m giving up my affection completely. That would be stupid. Everybody likes high heat and I’ll maintain that feeling of amore when I see the board flash “97”, but my overriding giddiness is gone. Velocity is Modern Family. I loved you once, now I’m not even sure when you’re on. It’s not that I’m not still into it, it’s just that I’ve changed. And well, I guess I’m just not that into it.

What happened, you ask? Chaos happened. Baserunners happened. Long, long innings happened. Free passes to first were followed by conga line processions to second and sometimes third. 4-2 leads became 4-3 leads, then tie games which lead to extra innings where literally anything can happen. Yep, I’m over you, velocity. I’ve grown tired of guys who throw hard with straight-as-a-string fastballs. In the minor leagues, they are roped to left field for singles. In the big leagues the same pitch is effortlessly poked over the left field wall…by the #9 hitter. I spent last week asking scouts if I was right in abandoning my passion for power, and they universally agreed it was in my best interest to spurn this love. As a matter of fact, many of them have been down a similar road and still find themselves fighting the occasional pull of velocity's magnetic trap. The older scouts told of tales that occurred before stadium speed-readings were as commonplace as peanut shells under your feet. My favorite story involved a rumor of the Dodgers juicing their own gun to appeal to the hypercompetitive nature of a free-agent pitcher they’d signed to a monster contract. I won’t name names, but his name started with a “K”, ended with an “n” and had “evin Brow” in the middle. He was 86-90 and pitching rather effectively at this point. Changing speeds, locating well, mixing his pitches. But the number he would see when he turned around seemed to really chap his hide. So he’d over throw. He’d open up his front-hip sooner in hopes of adding more speed to his arm. And he lost it. The velocity went up, sure, but the command went down. So did the movement on his fastball. The most significant increase was the number in the column that read “opponent’s avg”.

Velocity, it’s often said, increases your margin for error. Yeah, I get it. If you throw 97 you can miss your spot and get away with it from time to time. That much is obvious. But 97 is yesterday’s news for me now. I’m hangin' out with my new best friend. One of my favorite scouts and I had a great conversation Saturday night about where velocity ranks on his list of importance. He decided that it’s #3. His scale reads: 1.) location 2.) a. movement & b. deception. 3.) velocity. I had to tell him that his scale basically makes “velocity” his fourth most important trait, but he looked at me weird and we had a brief “ours goes to 11” moment, so I let him keep his “2, a and b” system in tact. Regardless, the point is, they’re not obsessed with it, so why should we be? Because it’s the woman with great legs wearing shorts and high heels.

This isn’t a very long piece by my standards. I’m usually a lot wordier. But this shouldn’t be long; it’s a good-bye. Good-byes shouldn’t be dragged out. They get painful and superficial. Best to just get it over with. So without further ado, I bid you, velocity, farewell. I still want you in my life, but now you’re the former roommate I probably shouldn’t have lived with in the first place. Let’s go get a beer sometime. If we’re ever in the same place, I’ll damn sure be glad to see you. But I’m not going to be calling, asking you what you’re doing before making plans of my own. Velocity, I love ya, but I’m older now, so I’m moving in with “location”. Having said that, if the two of you ever want to get together and hang out…

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