Friday, May 29, 2015

Interviews with Pat Venditte

Jun 7, 2015
Switch-pitcher Venditte on MLB debut

A Switch Pitcher? The Nashville Sounds Have One, And His 6-Fingered Glove Is Awesome 

By EMIL MOFFATT |, May 2015

Being ambidextrous in baseball is not uncommon. Nearly every major league team has at least one switch hitter. But pitching with both arms? There has only been one player before who's done that: Greg Harris.
The date is etched in Harris’s memory. It was September 28, 1995.
“That was the day I threw left-handed, right-handed in Montreal against Cincinnati,” Harris says from his home in California.
 No pitcher in the modern era had thrown with both arms in a big league game.  But it was just one inning at the very end of Harris’s career.
Venditte, on the other hand, wants to become the first full-time switch pitcher.
Listen to the radio version

E:60 Pat Venditte (view on ESPN)

Paul Harvey talking about Pat Venditte
on Good Friday in 2007


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Should kids play Elite, Select or Travel Ball?

Play Local - Have Fun - Save Money

A well-known coach in the Seattle area once told me ...

"Kids should play with a local team until they are in high school."

When I asked him why, he said that baseball should be fun and kids have more fun playing games with their friends. Plus, kids on small local teams get more playing time and have the opportunity to play  different positions.

He said that travel teams tend to overuse their best arms (hardest throwers) and then these kids come to him for rehab. Some players just get burned out on the experience.

He also shared the concept of throwing more and pitching less. Great idea.

Some drawbacks to playing select baseball ...

Select/Travel teams are very expensive and take time away from school and family activities. The competition might be better, but not always.  The coaching usually isn't worth the cost. Unfortunately, there can be a lot of pressure on the players since there is too much focus on winning. Eating on the road isn't the best nutrition for growing kids. Plus, kids often don't get the needed rest when games are in the early morning or late at night.

So, save time and money by playing local. Have fun playing ball.


Where the 'elite' kids shouldn't meet
Tim Keown, ESPN Senior Writer

Your kid is good, right? Really good? You don't want to brag, but he can do some things on the field that other kids his age won't even try. You played a little ball yourself, and you know the difference.

Make no mistake: There's someone out there for you. He's putting together a team, and he's got a pipeline to the best tournaments. He knows people. He'll have tryouts and he'll tell you what you want to hear. It's expensive, sure, but who can put a price on your kid's future? If he's got a chance to be the best, he needs to play with and against the best, right?


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

J.T. McDonnell - switch pitcher

San Marino High School (Class of 2016)

Titans Baseball team
San Marino, California

Height: 5'10"
Weight: 190 lbs

Positions: DH, RHP, LHP
Bats: Left
Throws: Both

Glove: Custom 6-finger Mizuno Ambidextrous Glove

JT McDonnell, from San Marino, practiced throwing left-handed when he was about nine and it just became natural. Before that, his parents thought he was right-handed.

To gain an advantage, he pitches left-handed to lefties and right-handed to righties. This is the same strategy used by minor league pitcher Pat Venditte.

Plus, JT throws a good curveball from both sides.

Coach Mack Paciorek likes JTs versatility, it gives him an advantage and it's something that other teams can't plan for in a game. He also said that JT is an excellent student.

JT McDonnell's (San Marino, CA) Baseball Stats | MaxPreps

Gina's People: Ambidextrous Pitcher Fox 11 (KTTV - Los Angeles)

Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

San Marino Titans Varsity - #18 (Spring 2015)
East L.A. Dodgers - 3B, RHP


Monday, May 25, 2015

Switch Pitchers on Twitter

Pat Venditte


Aubrey McCarty


Alex Trautner


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Mental Practice

"Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical." - Yogi Berra

Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey says that baseball is 60 to 80% mental.

College and pro players say the mental part of the game is huge, so why don't we spend more time on mental practice?

Mental Practice Plans
Source: Collegiate Baseball | Published: January 2012
By Alan Jaeger

How adding 10 minutes to your daily practice can turn a good season into a great one
Read More



Satchel Paige once said "If it's outside your control, ain't no use worrying, cause it's outside your control. And if it's under your control, ain't no use worrying, cause it's under your control".
Right on Satchel.

Just worry about what you can control. Make a list of those things you can control, such as your conditioning, your swing, how you handle yourself in the field, etc. On the other side, list what is outside your control, the opposing pitcher, the weather, the days lineup, etc. Focus on the control side of the list.
Read more (pdf)

Suggested Reading

The Mental Game of Baseball: A Guide to Peak Performance
by Harvey A. Dorfman

The Mental ABC's of Pitching, A Handbook for Performance Enhancement
by Harvey A. Dorfman


Evan Longoria E:60 | Best 10 Minutes in the Mental Game of Baseball


BC30: Steve Springer – Quality At-Bats | Brian Cain
Steve Springer is the master of quality at bats. From a non-starter his senior year of high school baseball to playing in the Major Leagues and now coaching numerous all-star hitters on the mental side of the game “Spring” is a gem and the baseball version of Rudy.


Switch pitcher's six-finger glove change


Monday, May 11, 2015

Two switch pitchers threw in the same game

Have there ever been two switch pitchers on a team?
Andrew Pullin
(photo: Clearwater Threshers)

Yes, Andrew Pullin and Drew Vettleson, from Washington. were switch pitchers for the NW Timberjacks 18U team.

These talented baseball players were both recruited to play in college, and were also drafted out of high school by MLB teams.

In 2015, Pullin and Vettleson who are good hitters - play outfield in the minor leagues.

Did two ambidextrous pitchers ever throw in the same game?

Yes. In one summer game, Andrew Pullin was the starting switch pitcher, and ambidextrous Drew Vettleson closed out the game.
Drew Vettleson
(photo: Harrisburg Senators)

Listen to Andrew Pullin talk about the unique experience

I think this event belongs in the Guinness World Records or Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Threshers Spotlight: Andrew Pullin
Former Switch-Pitcher at Ease in the Outfield
By Kirsten Karbach / Clearwater Threshers 04/24/2015

Switch-pitchers are an odd commodity. Currently, Pat Venditte of the Oakland Athletics system is the only ambidextrous pitcher in professional baseball.
Yet, back when Pullin was in high school, he had the opportunity to play alongside another prospect who also had the ability to deal from either side.
Fellow Washington-native Drew Vettleson, now an outfielder in the Washington Nationals' farm system, served as a switch-pitcher for Central Kitsap High School in Bremerton Washington. While Vettleson was two grades older, he and Pullin had the chance to play on the same summer ball squad.
"For a time when he was a senior and I think I was a sophomore, we played on the same summer ball team, and we actually pitched in the same game - both hands," Pullin says. "I think I pitched six innings and he finished up the last one or two innings.
"It was great. We won, and it was pretty cool..I doubt that's ever happened before."


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Greg Harris switch pitches in the major league 1995

Tyrone Daily Herald (Tyrone, PA)
29 Sep 1995

Greg Harris became the first switch pitcher in the big leagues in more than
100 years, facing two batters as a right-hander and two others as a lefty.

Read the news article >>

Found on

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Hall of Fame player was ambidextrous due to glove shortage

Glove Shortage Made Edd Roush Ambidextrous

The Oregon Daily Journal (Portland, Oregon)  

5 Sep 1920

The story of how Eddie Roush, star outfielder of the Reds, can throw as well with his right hand as with his left dates back to his kid days. He says:

"I have always been a natural southpaw. Throwing and betting left-handed is my regular style. But when I started out as an amateur in my home town in Indiana I found it impossible to secure a right-handed glove (for throwing left-handed).

The only gloves in stock were for the left hand; also I was call upon to play  in the infield a great deal, and a left-handed infielder is not so good, so I learned how to throw with my right hand. I have always batted left-handed, though."
Read the Article


Roush, Edd | Baseball Hall of Fame

Edd Roush captured the National League batting title in his first full season as a Red in 1917 with a .341 average.

Growing up on a farm in Indiana, he developed extraordinary strength in his arms and hands, allowing him to wield a 48-ounce bat, one of the heaviest ever used.


Fans will love an ambidextrous pitcher

Two-armed Hurler May Be Given Chance With Mound-Desperate Cubs
Calvin Coolidge McLish

By Hale Scarbrough
Herald and News (Klamath Falls, Oregon), 18 Feb 1949

A gangling 23-year-old Choctaw Indian from out of Anadarko, Oklahoma, is bidding to be the most diverting pitcher, if not the best, to come down the pike since Dizzy Dean entered the majors. This fellow is ambidextrous, meaning he can toss the ball with either hand.

He is Calvin Coolidge McLish, named for the 29th President of the United States but reputedly a great deal more talkative than the late Silent Cal.

Nominally McLish is a righthander but reports himself just waiting behind the bush for a chance to do a little flinging with his other, or south, arm. He says he has been able to throw a baseball with equal ability with either arm since his grade school days, but when he picks up a pencil or uses his fork it's with his right fist. So that makes him a righthander.

The big leagues haven't had a real ambidextrous pitcher since one Tony Mullane was throwing for the Cincinnati Reds of 1886 to 2893. Mullane was good and McLish, with more experience and a chance to try his stuff with either arm, may also be good.

There is nothing in baseball rules to prevent a pitcher working one game with one arm, the next with the other. There is nothing to prevent him mixing his pitches and feeding the batter from either side.

It's an engrossing topic for the imagination, a pitcher going in a dervish-like windup and leaving the batter to guess from which direction the ball is coming at him. If Manager Charlie Grimm of the Cubs lets McLish go ahead, baseball may possibly have uncovered another stellar attraction.

The fans will love an ambidextrous pitcher.

Read Article

Fans have waited long enough.

It's time to call up switch pitcher Pat Venditte to the majors.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Notes on Master Coaching

Be your own coach

"If it's a choice between me telling them to do it, or them figuring it out, I'll take the second option every time.  You've got to make the kid an independent thinker, a problem-solver. You can't keep breast-feeding them all the time. The point is, they've got to figure things out for themselves". (Landsdorp)

Shouting out instructions and telling a pitcher to "throw strikes" does not help them make adjustments on the mound. Yelling "nice pitch" when the throw was out of the strike zone does not help either. Each pitcher needs to learn to be their own pitching coach – something they learn while training with a master coach in practice.

On playing up

"Playing up for better competition is a very, and I mean very bad idea. If you dominate your age group and have no more competition, you can play up, but you have to dominate your age group. Lots of parents have their kids play up because there is less pressure. If you can’t handle the pressure, go play a team sport. You can blame your teammates."  
- Tennis Coach Robert Landsdorp

Travel Ball

I think it's good for kids to play local with their own age group when they are young. It's less travel time, costs less and builds community. Plus it's often more fun for the players and families.

Play in the local tournaments and enjoy the experience.

Summer Team

Find the best coaching and instruction in the area. Talk with the coaches and find out their approach to teaching, playing time and game strategy. Do the players rotate to different positions? Does the coach change the lineup? 

Getting playing time and having fun is important to kids. It's not all about winning. 


Suggested Reading

The Talent Code

The product of five years of reporting from the world's greatest talent hotbeds and interviews with successful master coaches

Robert Landsdorp