Lenny Dykstra claims he has been tortured, abused and otherwise done wrong

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The New York Post, abdicating most of whatever residual claim it had to being a news outlet as opposed to an entertainment outlet, decided to give recently-indicted sad sack Lenny Dykstra a column today.  You will not be at all surprised to learn that it contains all of the usual cliches one hears from recently-indicted sad sacks who feel it necessary to go on a P.R. blitz:

  • The delusion that his current struggles are part of some divine plan rather than his own greed and mendacity;
  • The claim that the U.S. Attorney and the FBI are out to get him; and
  • The claim that his indictment is a wonderful thing because now it allows him to tell his story;

Maybe God does have plans for people. Yes, the U.S. Attorney and the FBI do sometimes go after people. Yes, sometimes the innocent truly are set free because they finally are given a voice in a court of law.  I just kind of doubt that any of these are the case with Lenny Dykstra.

Less humorously, Dykstra claims that he has been tortured — yes, he actually uses that term — and says that he was “physically and mentally assaulted” in police custody. Which is an insult to the very real victims of very real torture and police brutality here and elsewhere.  Torture victims don’t write op-eds in the New York Post joking about their exploits in Shea Stadium and parsing the nature of grand theft auto based on the fact that the car involved “was only a Ford Flex.”  If you were truly tortured, Dykstra, get a lawyer, register a complaint with the proper authorities and do your best to endure until your nightmare is over.  Don’t pound your chest in the pages of the Post.

All of that said, I actually agree with Dykstra on one point. It’s when he says “I did not get stupid overnight.”  No Lenny, you didn’t. Because that implies that there has been some sort of change in this particular metric, and of that I see no evidence whatsoever.

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.