IGD: Padres @ Phillies (22 Jul 2005)

first pitch: 4:05 p.m., PT
television: Channel 4
matchup: Tim Stauffer (3-5, 4.42 ERA) vs Vicente Padilla (5-8, 5.61 ERA)
preview: Padres.com

Tim Stauffer warming up before game, July 17, 2005

This is a composite of a few shots I took of Stauffer warming up before his last start at Petco against the Diamondbacks. I hadn’t been that close to a big-league pitcher in a very long time. The sound his pitches made on hitting the bullpen catcher’s mitt was pretty awesome.

. . .

I just picked up a book called The Last Best League by Jim Collins. It chronicles the Cape Cod Summer League’s Chatham A’s over the course of their 2002 season. I’m only about 40 or so pages in, but so far it’s a very enjoyable read. One of the key players on that squad was Stauffer. From the book’s Prologue:

Tim played catch with his dad most nights before dinner, sometimes after dinner, too, and always with a purpose. They called one of their games “What If?”

“What if there are runners on first and second and no outs?” the father would ask. “Where would you throw the ball if it’s hit to you?”

“What if you’ve got an oh-two count on a hitter, and you’ve thrown him two fastballs down and in? What do you want to throw on the next pitch?”

They played the game incessantly. More than once, they played “What If?” during the family’s entire seven-hour drive to an uncle’s beach house on the Delaware shore.

The boy learned to command his pitches. He wasn’t flashy, not a kid anyone looked at and thought This one’s special. Except that throwing is an unnatural motion. And even in Little League–in Little League, where ten-year-olds are still working out the coordination to throw a baseball near home plate–Timmy Stauffer threw strikes. He had an easy, loose motion to his arm and a feel for situations that eluded most older players.

In a very short time, Stauffer has become one of my favorite Padres. Like Khalil Greene, he is a young kid who carries himself with dignity. Not brash or flashy, just projecting quiet confidence.

Other Stuff

  • Thank You, Dave Roberts! (Joy of Sox). Nice little article and pics from a Red Sox fan who got to meet Roberts and thank him in person for his contribution to Boston’s World Series victory last year.
  • A Tale of Two Third Basemen (Hardball Times). Fascinating look at Sean Burroughs and Mark Teahen, two highly touted young third basemen who haven’t quite lived up to expectations. Dan Fox attempts to answer the question of whether these big, strong kids will ever develop usable big-league power.
  • One guy’s scouting reports on the 2004 and 2005 Lake Elsinore Storm (via this article at Baseball Analysts, which mentions George Kottaras).