Not in a zaillian years…with overseas DVDs and Blu-ra…huh, oh.
As recent as last year, swinging 3-0 was not allowed at this level of the Oakland organization. This year, Ports hitters already have taken hacks at 3-0 pitches four times.
And because hitters used to be held responsible for driving up opposing pitch counts as a way to force mistakes and get into the other team’s bullpen as early as possible, the notion of needing only 83 pitches to get 24 outs was completely foreign.
In short, the concept of uber-patience at the plate — one of the benchmarks of Oakland’s fabled Moneyball approach — is dead.
“It’s a different philosophy throughout the entire organization,” said Ports manager Webster Garrison. “We want guys to be a little more aggressive, that is aggressive in the zone and not just taking pitches in order to get into the bullpen. We’re swinging now to do some damage and score some runs.”
...And in 2004, Modesto A’s manager Von Hayes was forced on more than one occasion to bench outfielder Andre Ethier to break the future star’s habit of swinging in forbidden counts.
“I remember them taking Ethier out of the game once when he didn’t take a pitch,” said Modesto manager Lenn Sakata, who managed against that system in San Jose and Bakersfield. “They used to take a strike. They also struck out more than any other team in the league.
“That philosophy is passé already, or at least they’re not focusing as much on it anymore.”