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In my normal way, I am going to probably ruffle some feathers with this newsletter because I’m going to make reference to my favorite topic: Pitching coach mafia. For those who are new, the Pitching Coach Mafia (PCM) is the name I’ve given to the pitching ‘coaches’ in the world who are teaching all the wrong things. I did a whole newsletter on the topic of the PCM a few months back. It’s on my website archives. But, I’ll repeat my rhetoric here that I believe these people are part of a criminal enterprise and should be locked up under federal RICO laws. Listening to what many in the PCM teach as pitching mechanics is about as correct as your daughter’s history teacher telling her that Kennedy was killed with a bow and arrow.
The world is different today vs. when I grew up. And I’m sure when I grew up is different from when you grew up. This generation today is growing up in the “Post Modern Era” and that’s not such a good thing. There are a number of ways to define the post modern era but, one that sticks out to me is the lack of “Truth” in society today. Our society has gone from things being black and white, right and wrong to.. different shades of grey. There is no “right and wrong” anymore, just matters of opinion. Whether you’re talking about Politics, Religion, softball pitching, or almost any topic… it’s become harder and harder to find someone who believes as I do that there IS right and wrong in the world. That’s because people who’ve adapted to the post modern era believe there is no truth anymore, accept what you make for yourself.
It’s because I’m uncompromising about pitching, believing in right and wrong, it’s been said that I’m so intolerant. Even when I question what is being taught to young pitchers today by the more “renowned” pitching coaches and explain (and demonstrate) that NO WORLD CLASS pitchers actually pitch that way, I’m told that I’m an elitist or arrogant by those who aren’t there to see it. We live in a day where there is NO truth. People want to decide for themselves what is true and make their own truth. Let me tell a story:
A man goes to visit his friend, who is a music teacher. He says “What’s the good news for today?” The old teacher is silent as he gets up, walks across the room and grabs 2 items: a tuning fork and a hammer. He struck that tuning fork with the hammer and as the note sounded out across the room, he said to his friend: “That is the musical note ‘A’. It was ‘A’ 5000 years ago, and it will be ‘A’ 10,000 years from now. The soprano upstairs sings off key, the tenor down the hall flats on his high notes, and the piano downstairs is out of tune”. He then struck the fork again and repeated “That is ‘A’ and that’s the good news for today”.
There is a lot of truth in that story. A is A, whether the soprano is off, the tenor is flat or the piano is out of tune. And there is pitching TRUTH whether anyone chooses to believe it. Truth is not up for grabs. But let me give another analogy filled with symbolism:
Say you’re driving along down a country road and you see a sign reading “Dangerous curve ahead”. You’ve got 3 options at that point: #1. Listen to the sign and slow down, #2. maintain your current speed and basically ignore the sign or #3. You can speed up and defy the sign. Those are your 3 options. Either way, it’s not going to effect the DANGEROUS curve. It’s still dangerous, whether you choose to believe it or not. You can floor it and say “I don’t believe that sign” but, the curve isn’t going to change because you didn’t want to believe it.
And this is the same way it is with truth. I don’t make pitching truths or create truths, I simply try to help pitchers discover them. And when people are exposed to the truth, they can either choose to believe it or not. So, when the accusation is made that I am arrogant… understand something. What is true is not my opinion regarding pitching mechanics. Great pitchers all do the same things, with varying styles. So, I’m either an ego maniac for believing in pitching truths or my word should be taken seriously. You decide.
This usually leads to people who ask me: Well what about other pitching coaches? Are they not just as sincere as you are? Do they not sincerely believe what they are teaching is right? How do you answer that? Well, first of all… nobody is denying there are many people devoted to their pitching coach and that person is sincere in what they teach. But, be careful. Sincerely believing something does not make it true! There are people all over the world who SINCERELY believe they are right about something but that doesn’t equal truth. Zacarias Moussaoui who is waiting for his death penalty for his role in 9/11 SINCERELY believes he’s right in his beliefs.
I remember reading a story about a New York hospital a few years ago. The anesthesiologist was using a controlled mixture of Oxygen and anesthesia. He gave this mixture to a patient and soon the tank ran out of oxygen. So, he replaced it with another tank marked “OXYGEN” in bold paint. Immediately, the man immediately died. The coroner’s autopsy revealed that it wasn’t oxygen in that tank, it was carbon dioxide. In all the investigations that followed, the manufacturer denied any wrong doing and nobody could understand how carbon dioxide got into that tank and got past the company inspectors. But, the doctor who administered that gas SINCERELY believed he was giving the patient oxygen. It made no difference what he sincerely believed, the patient died.
Would you trust yourself to a surgeon who had no special training or education but, instead was a very good, sincere person and had interesting ideas about health? Of course not. Why? Because truth is very narrow and whether you live or die under that man’s knife depends on hard facts not someones sincere beliefs.
During space flights, we’re reminded how narrow truth is. Whenever there’s a problem, NASA calls in the most brilliant math experts to help with the calculations. Because if they make a mistake, the people in that space craft are catapulted to their death in outer space.
You see, truth is not broad. It’s not a matter of personal opinion. But it is in fact VERY narrow in almost all areas of life. And yet when people talk about pitching softball and what is right/wrong, all of the sudden they say ” The way is broad and there are many ways to it.” But watching any elite pitcher, you’d know that’s not so. The same way that people only want to incorporate certain parts of the Bible into their lives and disregard the other parts because it doesn’t fit their lifestyle, people want to believe somethings are true about pitching but not others. It’s amazing.
Whether you’re religious or not, the Bible teaches: The way is very narrow to the kingdom and few are those who will find it. But, the way to destruction is broad and many will go that way. The same lesson could be applied to pitching. Sincerity does not equal truth.