Ladies and gentleman, this is Todd Coffey. If he doesn’t have some type of cult following, he should. The guy gets himself into interesting situations. At a Phillies game this year he got a nose-bleed on the mound. Never seen that happen before. As you can see, Coffey is no specimen, and didn’t take well to this particular cut of throwback uniform, but that doesn’t stop him from sprinting in from the bullpen to start each outing. You’d think such an exhausting endeavor would hinder his game, a little like a fat man trying to hit a drive after he walks uphill to a tee box, but Coffey sports an ERA well south of his weight. The hard-throwing right-hander sports a 2.13, with a sub-1 WHIP. And, to answer your final question, yes, that is red hair with a red beard.
In unrelated pitching news, I came across this article today about the dreaded “inverted W.” This is a position some modern pitchers get into that people believe is the cause for the major uptick in shoulder and elbow problems. There are pictures within the article of Joba Chamberlain and Stephen Strasburg, but the best visual representation of the theory I found was this shot of Mark Prior.
The essence of the theory is that when a pitcher raises both elbows above shoulder level during his delivery it places a tremendous amount of strain on the shoulder and elbow. This is apparently a relatively new style of pitching the baseball, where players attempt to maximize velocity while eliminating the long windup. Back in the day, pitchers often had elaborate windups that used the entire body to create momentum and they built velocity that way. Looking at pictures of old pitchers in the middle of the delivery, the images are almost comical.
You don’t see many pitchers getting into that position today. For years people have been trying to figure out why the instances of severe arm injuries has sky-rocketed. Why could pitchers from previous generations throw 300 innings without a blink? People blamed Little League breaking balls, they blame the culture of coddling arms, they blamed the signing bonus structure, but none of those arguments made a lot of sense. The simplest answer would appear to be that those old pitchers had a motion that created far less strain on their bodies. I think this “inverted W” theory makes a lot of sense. Look at this picture of Bob Gibson at a similar point in his delivery to Mark Prior. His elbows and shoulders are practically in a straight line.
Anyway, apologies if you don’t find that interesting, but I think it’s pretty fascinating stuff and it would have me scanning pictures of any top pitching prospect my team had. I had heard of the “W” before when Strasburg was coming out of college, but this is the first time I really looked at some pictures. The proof lies in a simple image search.
How about the return of home-ice advantage in the NHL? Over the years we’ve heard of diminishing home (field/court/ice) advantage. The blame sits with the new stadiums, luxury boxes, and the thick-walleted “fans” that can afford the best seats. On numerous occasions teams have gone into supposedly hostile environments and won clinchers, or even game sevens. The Stanley Cup Finals, though, is playing out as two entirely different series. The Canucks are 3-0 in closely contested battles at home, where Roberto Luongo has been impenetrable. But, in Boston, the Bruins have throttled the Canucks, 17-3, and Luongo can barely get out of the first period. It’s the kind of home field advantage I thought was only reserved for soccer at this point, but the Canucks should be thankful they have a home game left, otherwise, they’d have no chance. I don’t know if a team has ever lost 3 games in the Finals by at least 3 goals and gone on to win, but the Canucks have that chance. The discrepancy makes me think they should find some neutral ice for game seven.
Finally, I’d like to leave with one last parting shot. Thought of it just a few minutes ago. Does it annoy anyone else how cheerful Gmail is? If you don’t have Gmail you won’t know what I’m talking about, but Google is always trying to distract you with a friendly line. Like, if your chat gets interrupted, when you reconnect it says, “And, we’re back!” You want to be pissed, because you got cut-off, but it’s hard to get mad at an exclamation point. Then, when you delete your Spam, it says, “Hooray, No Spam here!” Again, you know there is no Spam there, because you just deleted it, and you want to curse at Google for being so annoying, but who can curse at something that says Hooray? Impossible to do. Gmail is by far the most cheerful webmail out there, if not the most effective.