Roy Halladay and the ABC's of Pitching

Roy Halladay and the ABC's of Pitching


Much has been made of Roy Halladay's legendary workout regimen. After injuring his groin during the Phils Game 5 win over the Giants in the NLCS he took a couple of weeks off and then got right back to the business of preparing for the 2011 season. He shows up at the Carpenter Complex for pre-dawn workouts, he runs stadium steps, for all we know he probably jazzercises.

Yes, Harold Leroy Halladay is 6'6" and 230 lbs. There's no question his physical gifts are immense. But his physical prowess only tells part of the story. If fireballing right-handers of that size were guaranteed success based on their physical stature alone then all 6'7" and 230 lbs. of Jerry Spradlin would be in the Hall of Fame.

It's not size that distinguishes Doc from his peers. What separates Halladay from other pitchers is his ability to focus on each and every pitch separate and apart from both his last and next pitch. He takes the zen mantra of living in the moment to the extreme. To Doc it's all about the now.

How did he get like this?

Last year's Sports Illustrated cover story on Halladay provided a unique glimpse into what makes him tick. By this point you likely know that early into his big league career the Blue Jays sent him down to A ball to rediscover the stuff which made him the 17th overall pick of the 1995 amateur draft.

It was during this time that Brandy Halladay, Roy's wife, picked up a book for him which she hoped would help restore his sagging confidence. The book was called "The Mental ABC's of Pitching: A Handbook for Performance Enhancement." The book was written by Harvey Dorfman.

Who is Harvey Dorfman? How did he come to help transform a struggling pitcher demoted to A ball into the most dominating pitcher in baseball and a potential Hall of Famer? Why have you likely never heard much, if anything, about a man who has helped players like Greg Maddux and Alex Rodriguez?

Well, the answer to the last question is that you haven't heard much about Dorfman because that's the way he prefers it. Answering the first two questions is a bit more difficult.

Fortunately, writer Karl Taro Greenfeld was able to spend time with and interview Dorfman. Greenfeld's Men's Journal story tells how Dorfman found his way from high school teacher to trusted confidant of some of the greatest players in baseball history.

After reading the story it's hard not to draw parallels between Dofrman's work and the work of Bill James and other sabermetricians. Both initially worked on the fringes until the Oakland A's acknowledged the potential of their work. Early on both were dismissed by the baseball establishment.

However, their work produced results which were impossible to ignore. Eventually the rest of Major League Baseball determined there was value in their respective disciplines.

If you're the least bit interested in what helps to make Halladay such a succesful pitcher then I urge you to read Greenfeld's piece.

Photo Credit: Carr/AP

You'll love Dario Saric even more after watching him on PST's Quick 6

You'll love Dario Saric even more after watching him on PST's Quick 6

We love you, Dario Saric.

For you being you, and not just a significant part of the Sixers' process.

And if you don't enjoy the Croatian Sensation, you most certainly will after watching him open up during a fun game of "Quick Six" on CSN's Philly Sports Talk.

From orange juice and beer, to his gluteus and T.J. McConnell's hair, Saric discussed plenty.

The questions had him feeling all over the place. But he was terrific.

Dario Saric, Philadelphia Sixers, Philadelphia 76ers, Philly Sports Talk

For the full video, watch above.

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers return

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers return

It had been a while since Steve Mason saw himself.

Walking into the Barclays Center on Sunday, the Flyers’ goalie was 0-6-2 with a 4.03 goals-against average and .844 save percentage over his last 10 appearances (see more recent Flyers numbers and stats).

A far cry from how Mason truly sees himself in net.

But heading into Wednesday’s rivalry clash with the Rangers, Mason will have something to build on, something he couldn’t say since Dec. 21 — the last time he had earned a victory. He’s fresh off his first win in over a month, a gigantic one for Mason considering all the key moments on Sunday the Flyers hope invigorate his confidence.

Without numerous clutch stops from their goalie, the Flyers don’t come back from two goals down to beat the Islanders, 3-2, in overtime. Mason made four saves  — three on four-time All-Star John Tavares — in just over a minute of a third-period power play. The Flyers ended up having to kill two New York man advantages in the final 10 minutes of regulation in order to force overtime.

The extra session is when Mason was just as good, if not better, stoning Tavares on a breakaway attempt that had game-winner written all over it. Mason made four saves in overtime after 13 in the third period.

“I was happy with the way that, personally, this game went for myself,” Mason said Sunday. “It’s been a tough stretch and this is more the type of game that I expect of myself. In recent games, the team was lacking the big saves and tonight it shows what kind of difference it can make.”

It was a massive performance heading into a massive three-game stretch against the Rangers, Maple Leafs and Hurricanes.

“Mase made some huge saves for us,” Simmonds said. “It allowed us to get back in that game.

“It’s not just Mase [with the] ups and downs. Everyone in here has been kind of fighting it and squeezing sticks pretty tight. That one felt good and I think Mase led the charge for sure.”

Mason understands just one game doesn’t turn around a season.

“It’s nice to feel good after a game,” Mason said. “At the same time, whether you’re winning or losing, you have to have a short mindset and get ready for the next one.”

That brings the Flyers to Madison Square Garden Wednesday to face the Rangers, who they’ve lost five straight games to dating back to last season. Mason hasn’t had much luck against New York this season, allowing seven goals in two losses with an .860 save percentage. However, in 2015-16, Mason put up a 1.74 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in five games against the Rangers.

“That’s going to be a tough game going into MSG,” Mason said Tuesday (see story).

The good thing: Mason was in New York two days ago, remembering what he can be.