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Thursday, March 11, 2021

The Lawyer Who Became a (Pitching) Ninja

Friedman has occasionally fielded messages from pitchers during games in which they are participating. “Amir Garrett was tweeting at me last year,” Friedman said, referring to the Cincinnati Reds reliever. “I’m like, dude, it’s the seventh inning.”

“I’m a pitching whisperer,” Friedman said, before a smile parted his bushy black beard. It sounded silly even to him. He’s actually a 54-year-old lawyer who manages the division of an internet software firm he co-founded in 1999. He has never coached outside the youth level, and he played tennis in high school.

But in his walkout basement, with its double-height ceilings, there was a pitcher’s mound and netting, a can of Firm Grip, and a Rapsodo — a machine that can measure the spin rate and axis of any pitch.

“I did always want to be a pitcher,” Friedman said. The real athlete in the family is his son, Jack, a sophomore pitcher at Georgia Tech. Friedman used to volunteer as a coach for Jack’s youth teams. He noticed a lot of coaches dispensed one-size-fits-all advice, probably because the method worked for them. But Friedman knew that good pitchers could come in a variety of forms. It became a mission, he said, to learn everything he could about how pitching was being taught, and who seemed to have the right answers.

Friedman found a kinship within a small circle of baseball wonks on forums buried in esoteric corners of the internet. Surrounded by coaches and trainers, he was the goofy and inquisitive sports dad, posting under the username mcloven on LetsTalkPitching.com. He discovered a network of skeptics and deep thinkers, like Kyle Boddy, the founder of Driveline, and Paul Nyman, regarded by some as the godfather of modern pitching mechanics.

“We were just sharing information,” said Lantz Wheeler, another coach and trainer who got to know Friedman through the forum. “Unlike Twitter, we weren’t trying to reach the masses. It was just the sharing of knowledge about pitching.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 11, 2021 at 12:21 AM | 3 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: pitching ninja

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   1. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 11, 2021 at 01:12 AM (#6008203)
A guy with just a computer & a Twitter account. Impressive.
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 11, 2021 at 10:19 AM (#6008225)
Lantz Wheeler
Lantz him!!
   3. Jesus Luzardo Maraschino Posted: March 11, 2021 at 03:09 PM (#6008269)
The Accountant Who Became a (Hot Dog) Ninja

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