Dizzy Dean ain’t never did yak like this.
“For my mechanics, I look at video at 480 frames per second to see if I’m slightly out of sequence, or if this is getting slightly off, or if that is getting slightly off, or what’s going on. I look at how the ball actually leaves my fingertips, which you can see at that slow of a frame rate. I can see if my hand is slightly around the ball, or if I’m staying through it. I look at the axis of the ball and how it’s spinning; how the axis correlates to what movement it’s going to have; and how to generate different axes coming off the hand.
“There is a specific reason I throw as many different pitches as I throw. They all serve a very specific purpose in my attack, and how I sequence pitches. I don’t necessarily believe in throwing fastballs down in the zone, because when I look at the geometry of it — and creating deception to the hitter — it doesn’t make any sense to me to throw fastballs down. Petty much just everything I do pitching-wise can be explained and taken to be extremely complex.
“I do a lot of work on my visualization, and once I can see it in that slow of a frame-rate — how exactly it comes off my hand — I can sit there and visualize it for 10 or 15 minutes per day, in super slow motion in my head, to kind of train neural pathways. That helps build muscle memory without having to actually do anything. When I actually go out there and do it, I have an idea — a picture of it — so that I can associate a feel with the picture I have in my head and kind of blend the two together.
“Also, there is knowing the axis of the ball and how it’s supposed to break. Even if I don’t have a great feel for it, I have a picture in my head of what it’s supposed to do. Once I happen to stumble upon getting the desired break, I can kind of zero in on how to actually manipulate the ball by using the mental image that I have. I’m pretty good at seeing the mental image and replicating it physically. I don’t know if that’s something I’ve trained [myself] — or if it’s natural for me — but I’ve always had a pretty good feel for seeing in my head and then going out and doing it.”