Roger Clemens keeps his lawyer; Ken Griffey Sr. says he’s “a good guy”

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As we mentioned this morning, Roger Clemens was in court today to deal with is attorney’s conflict-of-interest. It’s all resolved now. Conflicts have been waived and another attorney is going to cross-examine Andy Pettitte. Tough break for the prosecution. Oh well.

This part was fun, though:

[Judge] Walton ended the 10-minute hearing by raising another point he said he felt he should put on the record: a brief discussion about Clemens that the judge had with former all-star outfielder Ken Griffey Sr.

Walton said he and Griffey grew up playing ball together and ran into one another a couple months ago at a homecoming celebration in their hometown of Donora, Pa. Walton said Griffey mentioned that he saw Walton was handling the Clemens case and told the judge the defendant is a “good guy.” Walton said he quickly cut off the conversation by telling Griffey he couldn’t talk about the case.

Not sure why the judge would cut off conversation then.  Based on Ken Griffey Sr.’s claim that Clemens was a “good guy,” he obviously hasn’t read anything about Clemens since the late 90s.

No one pounds the zone anymore

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“Work fast and throw strikes” has long been the top conventional wisdom for those preaching pitching success. The “work fast” part of that has increasingly gone by the wayside, however, as pitchers take more and more time to throw pitches in an effort to max out their effort and, thus, their velocity with each pitch.

Now, as Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer reports, the “throw strikes” part of it is going out of style too:

Pitchers are throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone than ever previously recorded . . . A decade ago, more than half of all pitches ended up in the strike zone. Today, that rate has fallen below 47 percent.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Most notable among them, Lindbergh says, being pitchers’ increasing reliance on curves, sliders and splitters as primary pitches, with said pitches not being in the zone by design. Lindbergh doesn’t mention it, but I’d guess that an increased emphasis on catchers’ framing plays a role too, with teams increasingly selecting for catchers who can turn balls that are actually out of the zone into strikes. If you have one of those beasts, why bother throwing something directly over the plate?

There is an unintended downside to all of this: a lack of action. As Lindbergh notes — and as you’ve not doubt noticed while watching games — there are more walks and strikeouts, there is more weak contact from guys chasing bad pitches and, as a result, games and at bats are going longer.

As always, such insights are interesting. As is so often the case these days, however, such insights serve as an unpleasant reminder of why the on-field product is so unsatisfying in so many ways in recent years.