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

NFL Notes: Panthers sign former Eagles S Kurt Coleman to 3-year extension

NFL Notes: Panthers sign former Eagles S Kurt Coleman to 3-year extension

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- The Carolina Panthers have signed safety Kurt Coleman to a three-year contract extension through the 2019 season.

Coleman led the Panthers and finished tied for third in the NFL with career-high seven interceptions in his first season in Carolina last year. He contributed to a team that ranked sixth in the NFL in total defense and led the NFL in interceptions (24), takeaways (39) and points off turnovers (148).

The 28-year-old Coleman finished third on the team with 103 tackles. Financial details were not released Wednesday.

Coleman called the contract a blessing, saying "when you go through situations you want what's best for your family and what's best for the team, and I'm really excited. I'm fortunate to be a part of this team for three more years."

Jets: Bernard Pierce signed; Zac Stacy waived
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets are signing running back Bernard Pierce and waiving running back Zac Stacy, who failed his physical after missing the last half of last season with a broken left ankle.

Pierce ran for just 11 yards on six carries in seven games last season with Jacksonville after spending his first three NFL seasons with Baltimore. He ran for a career-best 532 yards as a rookie with the Ravens in 2012 after being a third-round pick out of Temple.

Pierce was released by Baltimore in March 2015, when he was charged with drunken driving. He was claimed off waivers by Jacksonville the next day.

The NFL announced in May that Pierce will be suspended for the first two games of this season, likely stemming from the DUI arrest.

Stacy ran for 89 yards in eight games for the Jets last season, but he was lost for the rest of the season in November when he broke his ankle on a kickoff return.

Eagles training camp Day 3 observations: Vets get a chance to rest

Eagles training camp Day 3 observations: Vets get a chance to rest

On the third day, Doug told them to rest.

After two days of training camp practice, Doug Pederson held veterans out Wednesday. Remember, the full team doesn’t practice until Thursday, so that meant instead of 38 players on the field Wednesday morning, there were even fewer.

Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel, JaCorey Shepherd, Nolan Carroll and Cody Parkey weren’t on the field on the day the rest of the veterans are reporting.

Because Bradford and Daniel were out, it meant a ton of reps for Carson Wentz. That’s where we’ll start in today’s observations:

• Wentz didn’t have a great day but it wasn’t all his fault. He didn’t seem to be on the same page with his receivers on several occasions. It’s important to remember that most of the players in camp right now won’t make the roster. Earlier this week, Wentz talked about the importance of getting on the same page with his receivers. He worked on it with some veterans in San Diego earlier this summer.

• Even though there were just two quarterbacks on the field, the Eagles still made McLeod Bethel-Thompson line up as a tight end and receiver. After catching a pass from Wentz, Bethel-Thompson had to run back to the line of scrimmage and take a snap as a QB.

• Cornerback Aaron Grymes hasn’t looked like a rookie, probably because he kind of isn’t. The former CFL corner is a rookie by NFL standards, but his previous professional experience has been showing up. He broke up several more passes today.

• We’ve talked a lot about Jalen Mills this week, and rightfully so. The young rookie has been really impressive. But today, I saw something that could get him in trouble in the future. He’s aggressive; sometimes maybe too much. On the first play of 7-on-7s, he mugged a receiver and later in the practice, he came close to what might have been another DPI. Aggressive is good. It’s all about walking the fine line.

• Another note about the veteran day off. That’s important to keep an eye on. Chip Kelly treated everyone the same. Pederson isn’t going to do that. He’ll allow vets to take a breather every once in a while. It might save some of his older players like Jason Peters.

• For a while, Eagles receivers were practicing a little rub route near the goal line. Those little tricks can help a team without top-end receivers.

• Undrafted rookie Myke Tavarres looks bigger than he did a few months ago. In fact, he said he’s up to 240 pounds, after arriving at 225. He’s one of the undrafted linebackers that has a chance to make the 53-man roster.

• Tight end M.J. McFarland doesn’t have much of a shot to make the roster, with four guys ahead of him on the depth chart. But the 6-5, 255-pounder made some nice grabs today in traffic.

• Undrafted defensive tackle Connor Wujciak got surgery and needed a pin in his hand this spring. Back then, he had a big cast on his hand. Now he has a smaller cast around his thumb.

• Observations will be much easier when the entire team is in camp tomorrow. They’ll finally put on the pads a couple days later, on Saturday.

Peter Bourjos 'still sore,' likely headed to DL with right shoulder injury

Peter Bourjos 'still sore,' likely headed to DL with right shoulder injury

MIAMI – A stint on the disabled list looks likely for Peter Bourjos, who injured his right shoulder running into the outfield wall while making a catch Tuesday night.

“It’s not any worse, but it’s still sore,” Bourjos reported Wednesday morning.

Bourjos sounded pessimistic when asked if he thought he could avoid a trip to the disabled list.
 
“I don’t know,” he said.
 
Bourjos indicated that he has some range of motion issues.
 
Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said the team would continue to evaluate Bourjos and provide further word Thursday.

Bourjos’ injury comes with outfielder Aaron Altherr’s minor-league rehab stint expiring on Wednesday. Altherr is expected to be activated Thursday. Bourjos could end up going on the DL to make room for Altherr.

Phillies officials had been considering a number of ways to make room for Altherr. One of them was trading Bourjos. That option is now on hold, though Bourjos could still be moved in a waiver deal in August if he's healthy.