The Rockies demonstrate why pitchers do so many fielding drills


Spring training begins in February. Thirty seconds after spring training begins, pitchers start doing those fielding drills in which they cover first base. They do those fairly damn continuously until, oh, five minutes before the first pitch on Opening Day.  Pitchers moan about it, but there’s a reason they do this. Just ask the Rockies, who lost last night’s game in large part to a pitcher’s failure to cover the bag.

The Padres had runners on first and second with one out Edgmer Escalona was pitching for Colorado, when Chase Headley grounded to Todd Helton at first base. Helton checked the runner heading to second, realized he had no shot at him, and turned to flip it to the covering Escalona.

Except Escalona wasn’t covering and Headley managed to beat Helton in the foot race to the bag. That loaded the bases, and the Padres’ seventh run came one batter later when Nick Hundley hit a sac fly that would have been out number three if Escalona had remembered his training. The Padres ended up winning 7-6.  Jim Tracy after the game:

“You’re taught from Day 1 that a ball hit to the right side on the ground, you move to that direction. It’s that simple.”

Or at least it should be.  What won’t be simple is next spring training if the Rockies miss the playoffs by one game, because Tracy will likely run pitcher fielding practice from dawn to dusk and tell his hurlers to get their arms in shape on their own time.

The Milwaukee Brewers perform “The Sandlot”

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A lot of teams do funny promo videos during spring training. The Seattle Mariners have led the league in this category for years now, with their marketing and p.r. folks producing and a lot of game and sometimes hammy players starring in some excellent clips. They’re doing them again this year, if you’re curious.

The Milwaukee Brewers have hopped on the humor train in 2018, and their latest entry in this category of commercials is excellent. It’s their riff on “The Sandlot.”

The biggest difference: Smalls really could kill you in this one. Brett Phillips is a lot more jacked than the kid who played Scotty in the original was.

The Beast, however, is just as terrifying now as he was in 1993.