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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Defensive coordinator? In baseball? Is that even possible?

By Dwmyers via Wikimedia Commons
7-diamond, as described by Bill Arnsparger in his book "Arnsparger's Coaching Defensive Football" and stemming from a wide tackle 6 by replacing one linebacker with a nose guard. Bill notes this defense is very similar to the 46 defense popularized by Buddy Ryan ...  Wikimedia Commons

Recently I was advocating to some friends my idea of playing only two outfielders and five infielders.  One of them asked what we thought about switching corner outfielders so that the better fielder was in the batter's pull field.  I said sure.  Anything different has a chance of providing a competitive advantage.  Yesterday he sent a link:

Talking shifts with new Nats defensive coordinator Mark Weidemaier
March 10, 2014 by Dan Kolko

Mark Weidemaier ... is the Nats' new defensive coordinator and advance coach ...  He came to the organization from the Diamondbacks with manager Matt Williams, and this season will mark Weidemaier's first in 35 years in baseball that he'll be a uniformed coach in the dugout...

Weidemaier is in charge of improving the Nationals defensively, and he plans to use some methods that are new to the organization ...

"We were the first ... there were a lot of copycats after the fact. (Brad) Ausmus (hired one in) Detroit. Matt Martin, he was a roving infield guy. I was with him with the Dodgers. (Rick) Eckstein got hired by the Angels in a very similar capacity. I think the major difference is those guys aren't going to be in uniform in the dugout. They're going to be more like an eye in the sky in the press box ... as far as the defensive coordinator title ... Matt started a trend ...

we're going to use some spray charts ... have a general spray chart and then devise one that's specific for your individual pitcher ...

I read an awful lot about the sabermetrics and this and that, and where do the numbers really enter into it other than the probabilities and percentages. You can see a spray chart where it's shaded where 60 percent of the balls on the ground are going here. Well, you have to look at that.

But you still have to watch the game ...

gonna have meetings every day with the starting eight, particularly the middle guys ...  We'll involve the pitchers as much as they want to be involved...  Hey, we're trying to get an edge ...

The position players are going to get the information whether they want it or not. It's gonna be there for them. But we're not gonna tell a guy how to pitch...

Catcher, middle infielders and center field. That's the key."
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Weidemaier rambles quite a bit.  My edited quotes above make his remarks much more concise.  I'm not sure what to make of this.  It doesn't seem very different from what's been going on for a while.  Teams have had coaches for catchers, infielders, outfielders.

Defense may not be the proper term.  It probably should be fielding since the pitchers do not seem to be very involved.  Plus, pitchers have their own coach.

As far as this guy being in uniform, that seems to be a big deal for him and maybe his relationship with Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams, his boss.  But haven't coaches been waving towels at players, particularly outfielders, for years?  Were the coaches trying to get the players to change their fielding location or were they merely trying to keep them alert?  Outfielders especially must be bored out of their minds waiting for something to happen and the even less likely possibility that such activity might actually require their involvement.

There's nothing like opening day with a string of games to remind you that the regular season doesn't have any more action or pace than spring training.  Baseball action is still interesting.  But it's spread out way too much.  In the Major Baseball League (MBL) the game has no pace and barely a pulse.

So position the fielders all you want.  You've got plenty of time between fielding opportunities.  How about a blitz or full court press?  Man-to-man instead of zone?

Coffee breaks, Water Coolers, Cubicles, ... you know, like an office.  Sunday, May 31, 2009

Next time you see a foul ball, see if it doesn't remind you of a coffee break in an office: a lot of people at work, not working...

provide them with cubicles at their defensive positions so that they can use that idle time productively: make phone calls, e-mail, tweet, ...
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Ice cream truck on the field.  Thursday, September 17, 2009

A friend suggested that an ice cream truck be sent out on the field to provide refreshments to the players who have plenty of time to consume a Popsicle during the numerous unnecessary periods of dead time in a MLB game. Sounds good to me.
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