Rules of the Game: A Pitcher’s Philosophy
Veteran Orioles pitcher Mike Flanagan is as tough on pitchers’ behavior as Frank Robinson is on hitters’.
Flanagan sees no sense in pitchers hitting batters after giving up a home run. “I’ve never understood the rationale of giving up a home run, then hitting the next batter. I’ve always thought, ‘I made a bad pitch.’ But what sense does it make then to maybe put the winning run on base? That has no part in the game.”
But pitching art does -- and that involves the close pitch that sometimes can hit a batter.
“That’s part of the game,” Flanagan said, “something that I learned starting with my dad.”
But under former Orioles manager Earl Weaver, Flanagan added, “We were instructed to go almost the other way. Earl didn’t want any part in beanball wars. ... He didn’t want anyone throwing at Eddie (Murray) or Cal (Ripken).”
Flanagan, 39, said “modern hitters” tend to do “more diving over the plate,” going for outside pitches, which puts them in greater danger of being hit. He also is troubled by the kind of thinking that has led to what he’s observed as an “escalation” of batters going to the mound, or clearly considering it.
“People say other people do it, so they do it,” he said. What’s forgotten, in essence, is the pitcher’s right to do his work.