Just when you thought instant replay was the biggest change going in baseball...
On Thursday night, Class-A Staten Island pitcher Pat Venditte showed us the real future in baseball.
Step aside, switch hitters.
Venditte is a switch pitcher.
As hard as it may be to try this at home, Venditte was raised ambidextrous by his father, from the age of 3.
But here's where it gets juicy.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Brooklyn Cyclones DH Ralph Henriquez, after warming up as a lefty, stepped into the batter's box as a right-handed hitter.
Venditte, who wears a specially-made glove that will fit either hand, simply switched to a right-handed pitcher.
Henriquez, not to be outdone, switched to a lefty.
Venditte followed suit.
This chess game went on for a bit, before Venditte started walking toward the plate, pointing at Henriquez.
The umpires intervened and huddled for a ruling.
Apparently, the switch pitching article in baseball's handbook is somewhere on a cutting room floor. So the umpiring crew came up with this solution: A switch hitter or switch pitcher can each switch sides one time during an at-bat. But the switch hitter has to commit first.
Thus, advantage Venditte.
Henriquez fanned on four pitches as both played from the right side, but the theatre that night, likely in front of your typical sparse ninth-inning minor league crowd, would have been priceless.
Venditte could be the first modern era switch pitcher and he might also become a pioneer for little leaguers growing up today. Or at the very least, a byproduct of overzealous fathers.
Fantasy spin: What does this have to do with fantasy baseball? Likely, very little. But with all the lefty/righty platooning managers experiment with, trying to squeeze out an extra few on-base-percentage points, having a switch pitcher would throw some managers for a loop. If Venditte ever makes the majors, he may have quite an advantage, especially if MLB allows him to switch pitching arms mid-at-bat.
Guess instant replay isn't the only thing baseball will have to rule on.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Posted by Trevor Freeze at 9:06 PM