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Thor'sLinks: Weaver brings slowpitch to MLB

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A true revolutionary, Jered Weaver pulls the masterful craftsmanship of slowpitch softball to Major League Baseball in an attempt to confuse hitters everywhere. The plan needs some fine tuning.

Rob Tringali/Getty Images

When I was young, it was my pair of older brothers who were the pitchers in our family. A lefty and a righty, they both enjoyed a modicum of success. Truthfully, my older brother (the righty) was good enough to play pro. He is the poster child for parental advocacy since the only thing that held him back were 4 or 5 consecutive years of audaciously stupid and/or belligerent coaches. One time, in a regional all-star game, he had a perfect game going into the bottom of the 7th (in a 7-inning game) and a huge lead. The first batter of that inning drew a walk on a very questionable call. My brother's manager walked out to the mound and pulled him, telling him that he was tired. The other team rallied, won and advanced as my brother sat at the end of the dugout crying in utter despair. He was totally fine and felt he had struck that last batter out looking. He still had a no-hitter, AND a shutout, AND a deciding playoff win. And all that was taken away from him by some idiot. Even other coaches couldn't believe what they were seeing and went to my brother at the end of the bench to ask if he had requested to come out due to injury or something. My sobbing brother was completely at a loss. Anyway, after 100 or so more episodes like that he eventually surrendered and left the game, taking his skills with him.

Well before that, when he was 14, he was already wicked enough as a pitcher that our father flat out refused to catch him. Dad would dress my skinny little 10-year old ass up in the catcher's gear and prop me up against a brick wall so that I could neither get knocked backward by the blast of my brother's fastball, nor bail out altogether in sheer fright of his curve. Honest to God, I swear to you that when dad would call for curveballs I would hide my entire face behind my catcher's mitt and could see the spinning baseball pop out beyond the mitt's edge as it approached, only to have it disappear again as it snapped right in the center of my stationary glove. Holy balls, I would think, how the hell does anybody even think about stepping into the box against my brother? I'm pissing my pants and I'm the one in full body armor!

So why am I telling you all of this? For one reason, and one reason only. My 14-year old brother was throwing fastballs at 80 miles per hour. Not necessarily exactly, but close enough. We didn't have radar guns back in the mid 60's, so we used a side-by-side comparison with pitching machines set to various speeds in order to figure that kind of stuff out. I assume the machines were close enough to accurate.

Which brings us to Jered Weaver. As the day began, Weaver felt that he was on the verge of snapping back into his old abilities.  Then his game started. It did not go well. Weaver was pitching like a 14-year old boy. Let the mockery begin. Because, let's face it, Weaver busting a gut to get all the way up to only 80mph makes for a ripe target. It's all I can do to stave off oy own instincts and show some respect............

Have some Super Slo Mo Links:

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Everywhere In Baseball

Heaney Time: We welcome Andrew Heaney to the 2016 Spring schedule, effective today..........

Hey Mr. Wilson: CJ will getting in bullpen sessions today and Saturday, Remain on the lookout for reports concerning how he feels after each, That will go a long way towards letting us know how he is tracking for an early return this season..........

Trop-i -Can: I failed to link to this the other day, but what with Nick Tropeano's fine outing I thought I would go back and pull it forward after the fact. Trop hones his success via control of his changeup, the kind of thing he mastered as one of baseball's Cape Cod League success stories..........

Masters of the Obvious: ESPN is here to inform all of us that players decline as the get old. Their proof: Albert Pujols. Thanks, Mr. Bristol Connecticut Baseball Expert!..........

Curious Calculations: Baseball Prospectus looks at our outlook and finds it challenging. Sure, Mike Trout and Andrelton Simmons are going to marvel (I say Trout will outdo his projections, by the way), but that vacuous farm system and the failure within this past winter Free Agent market is our doom. Of course, things can alway go an odd way and end up in our favor. The part in the article that confounds me, though, is the idea that Billy Eppler could do something fantastic late in the season so that the team could make a push for the playoffs. I don't know how that works. All the Free Agents are gone, and we still have a vacuous farm system. How is Eppler supposed to do anything from here on out?..........

Crawford: Recently the Albert Pujols contract was ranked worst albatross in baseball. It may end being that but, really, the jury should remain out until the last penny is paid. There may still be some small sliver of a chance that Pujols' pride kicks in and he retires with more than enough money for his family to reign over the Dominican Republic for generations. It's possible. But you know what's NOT possible? Carl Crawford walking away from HIS contract. That $147million deal has been an abomination since the moment the ink dried. And there is no possible chance of recovery. The Dodgers are staring down $43 million more of Vernon Wells caliber garbage dump and Crawford is going to hang in there for every last cent. And you know what? There was a time when WE were pretty hungry to get ourselves that anchor buried deep within our own butt. Consider that one a cannonball dodged...........

Duck!: Speaking of dodging ballistic objects, here's a reporter taking advantage of the relaxed rules of camp and doing an on-camera spot from foul territory, only to almost get clocked by a foul ball............

Sleepy: Prince Fielder is having issues and has been sent home from camp. Not quite an "injury", his condition has the same net effect on his availability. His issue? Not being able to get a good night's sleep. I can't help but think that the Rangers remain snakebit. Which is perfectly fine with me............

Dark Days in Japan: This is sad. The Yomiuri Giants, the Yankees of Japanese baseball, are being taken down by a gambling scandal. We have had 4 pitchers implicated (3 have already been suspended) and 3 franchise executives have resigned, starting with the owner and the Chairman. When the owner resigns his position you know that the feces is flinging all over the place...........

The Admiral: With the Cards losing Jhonny Peralta for at least 1/3 of this season they are in the market for a solid shortstop. Should they opt to look outside their organization they needn't bother ringing up Atlanta and asking for Erick Aybar. The Braves are delighted to have him...........

Minor Opportunities: America has a standing tradition throughout minor league baseball, enjoying the holy shit out of crazy-assed franchise names. When you get a new team, or a team relocates, all bets are off. Ain't it great? Well, when a minor league hockey team forms they have the same opportunity, but rarely take it. They really need to get on board...........

Law of OverSupply and No Demand: Here is a very interesting little story about baseball cards triggered by the recent Ty Cobb attic discovery estimated to be worth north of $1million. I especially like the part where adults all across America conspired to fool an entire generation of children into hoarding cards, which induced manufacturers to over-produce, resulting in hundreds of millions of wasted dollars that never saw any return on that investment. Think of the children. Think of all the current college debt. For shame, parents of my generation, for shame............

Baseball Biz: While on the subject of supply and demand, we already know that the Yankees have tailed off in recent years. The have participated in exactly 1 playoff game since October of 2012 (a losing effort), which is a far cry from the previous 18 seasons. That has not prevented them from taking $1.3billion worth of our money and building themselves a new stadium, then overcharging us to sit in the stadium we paid for, then using technology to blockade our ability to buy seats at true market rates so that they could keep us heathens away from their elite per cap friends and families. As we linked yesterday, there is not really any connection between team success and what owners get away with charging the fans to participate in the public trust. So now we move to broadcast rights. The Yankees regional broadcast empire, YES network, the beast that fueled the economically advantageous buying power which built those 18 years of playoff dominance, is amping up the pressure on Comcast in order to continue their shameful practice of $5.36 per subscriber carriage fees. That's right. All by their little selves they collect $5.36 for every customer that every carrier in that region supplies. That's not for a bundle. That's just for the Yankees. So Comcast has dared to say "no more". And, predictably, the Yankees have now taken to the airwaves and are encouraging subscribers to abandon Comcast...........

Labor versus Business: I never thought I would see the day when I would read an article about the poor plight of underpaid labor being exploited by business ownership on the pages of the Wall Street Journal. But there we have it, WSJ falling on the side of pre-arb superstar baseball players ..........

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