How legends get formed

Heard this one the other day and I just had to share. My friend and fellow coach Rich was talking to someone he knows the other day, and that person was telling him about their top pitcher. He was talking about how well she is doing, and in particular how she is throwing 63 mph.

Rich found that amusing as did I, because the pitcher being referred to is one of my students, and I had just gunned her with my Jugs gun around 54-56 consistently. She hit 57 once if I recall correctly. I’ve done this long enough to know that pitchers don’t increase speed by seven mph in a week, no matter how pumped up they are.

I actually spoke to the girl and her dad about it and found out where the 63 mph figure came from. It was off a Glove Radar. I think those are great little devices — I used to own one before the part that holds the lacing in place broke — if used properly. They’re good for getting approximate readings, and for comparing against itself. But you can’t take it for gospel.

It’s very easy to get a false reading, especially if you move the glove toward the ball as it comes in. Like any Doppler radar, it depends on sending out a signal, having the signal bounce back, and comparing the times. If you move the glove toward the ball you close the distance the ball has to travel and change the timing.

The dad and the girl laughed when they heard the story. They hadn’t put much stock in the reading at the time, and still don’t. But obviously others do.

Rich theorizes that people like to have their kids associated with top-level players, so saying your daughter plays on a team with a pitcher throwing 63 mph certainly fits that bill. There’s nothing nasty about it. It’s more a case of being willing to believe in something you want to believe. But the more these things get repeated, the more they become legend.

Hopefully it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. She certainly has the ability and the desire to get there. But she’s not quite there yet. Still, it’s funny to see how legends get started.
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