As perhaps the greatest pitcher in the history of baseball, when Pedro Martinez talks about his craft, you sit up and take notice. Well, he's done just that with the fine folks over at FanGraphs.com, and the results are both enlightening and really, really weird.
Well, for the most part it's just enlightening. For instance, here's Pedro on tricks he used to command the ball:
I didn't always throw to the mitt. I had different targets I threw to. One was the ear flap on the catcher. I'd use that as guidance for height. I looked for hands; I'd throw right below the hands on certain hitters. For some others I would look knee high, or even lower. Sometimes I'd throw off the black, away by three or four inches. It depended on the hitter and the movement. I knew on a given day how my ball was moving.
But then you get to the bit where Pedro talks about the role of "feel" in pitching, and...
Pitching is feel. Your hand and the ball is a marriage that should never end. The pitcher and the ball should be married forever. Hands, fingers, the ball - they should be married forever. It's like caressing your wife. It's touching and getting that feel to know her, alone. It's the same thing with a baseball.
I'm going to go back and watch an old game of Pedro's. I'm going to do my damnedest not to think about this while doing so. If I can't manage this without feeling...unclean, I'm going to be less than pleased.
(I am deeply sorry for exposing you to this.)