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Book Review: Insight Pitch: My Life as a Major League Closer

February 12, 2019 | by JB Branson | Comments Comments Off on Book Review: Insight Pitch: My Life as a Major League Closer
Insight Pitch: My Life as a Major League Closer
Skip Lockwood has a fascinating story to tell.

Have you ever been at a baseball stadium or at home watching a game and get the strongest urge to be gripping an old, worn-out baseball? True baseball fans know exactly what we are talking about. You want to feel the laces under your index and middle fingers. You want to smell the dirty leather. We’ll be completely honest with you; we made it through the first chapter of this book, closed it, set it down, and headed straight for the garage. We needed to grip a baseball.

In case you are a younger or casual fan, Skip Lockwood was an MLB pitcher from 1970 to 1980. He started out as a starter with the Brewers and in 1971 threw 208 innings with a 3.33 ERA, good for a 2.5 WAR. In 1975, Lockwood found his way to New York as a converted reliever for the Mets. He was, quite frankly, untouchable, pitching 48 innings that season, with an 11.36 K/9 and a 1.47 ERA. Lockwood was basically 2018 Adam Ottavino. The next year (1976) was just stuff of bullpen legends: 94.1 innings (who does that anymore?), 10 wins, 19 saves, 10.30 K/9, and a 2.67 ERA. Not bad for a man that was signed by the Boston Red Sox at the age of 18 to play third base.

The stats are incredible, but the story is even better, and you can’t find that on FanGraphs. Insight Pitch is an autobiography that focuses on everything you can’t see at a game or on television. Lockwood describes the emotions of being a high school superstar athlete scouted by the top professional teams, and even brings you to his kitchen table to his first contract negotiation – which was unbelievable to us. The reader feels the mental struggles of a professional hitter, and enjoys a truly bizarre and hilarious ride in the life of a traveling minor league baseball player. Hands down, Lockwood had one of the most adventurous and interesting careers of any professional athlete. There was even a stint down in Puerto Rico, and a one-on-one agility session from an American Olympic legend.

The story is fascinating, yes, but that isn’t the reason you won’t be able to put this book down. Getting to live inside the head of a late-inning reliever at the big-league level is honestly a priceless opportunity, and Lockwood portrays it in such an addictive way. The mental aspect to baseball is severely underrated, and getting to “experience” the emotional stress of the last outs of a close baseball game in front of tens of thousands of fans had us sweating. We’ve even used Lockwood’s calming techniques he used on the mound a few times in our life after reading this book.

If you are a baseball fan of any level, even just casual, this book is well worth the read. From seeing how “old-school” managers treated their players and only cared about the surface stats (ban the win), and teammates pulling extremely impressive pranks on the new guys, to getting traded and arriving to a new team just as the game is starting, this book covers literally every little facet of the game. The hardcore baseball fan, however, absolutely needs to read this book. Reading the names of Lockwood’s teammates and managers is like going through an old box of baseball cards in your basement.

On a scale of 1-10, we give Insight Pitch a 1976 Skip Lockwood K/9.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

Prog rock gods Emerson, Lake and Palmer formed in 1970, and through several breaks, were still releasing albums up until 2010. The band’s fourth studio album, Brain Salad Surgery, came out in 1973, and from this effort, the only single was “Jerusalem.”

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Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below what your impressions of Skip Lockwood’s tale are.

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Book Review: Born Fanatic – My Life in the Grip of the NFL

February 9, 2018 | by Vaney Hariri | Comments Comments Off on Book Review: Born Fanatic – My Life in the Grip of the NFL
It is rare for the average fan to ever gain insight into the life and times of a Hall of Famer and it may be as rare to gain those insights from one of their children. What type of men sacrifice time and engagement with their families to play a game that requires strategies with the complexities of war yet a willingness to partake in violence with the simplicity of a car crash?
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Book Review: The Anatomy of Competition in Sports

March 26, 2016 | by Vaney Hariri | Comments Comments Off on Book Review: The Anatomy of Competition in Sports
The dynamics of competition are vast, perhaps limitless, and are relevant to virtually any endeavour. What this book points to as the primary difference between sports and, say, being an accountant, is how much and perhaps more importantly how long the professional athlete must invest into their respective sport. We know many people in many professions that are extremely competitive, but we have yet to meet a doctor or a lawyer that started training for their profession when they were six.
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Book Review: Performing Under Pressure

July 14, 2015 | by Dakota Case | Comments Comments Off on Book Review: Performing Under Pressure
Stress is triggered by the needs and demands of everyday life. It’s the reminder to pay the bills, buy the groceries and get the kids to soccer practice on time. Pressure is what we experience in life’s do-or-die moments — landing a plane without landing gear, making a risky business decision that could affect hundreds or thousands of employees, needing an “A” on a final exam to pass a class or needing a goal with your team trailing 3-2 with just 15 seconds to play in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Final. Stress is an inconvenience. Pressure is a need to survive. Both serve a valuable motivating purpose.
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Book Review: Winning Fantasy Baseball

May 16, 2014 | by Josh Johnson | Comments Comments Off on Book Review: Winning Fantasy Baseball
Are you like most Fantasy baseball owners? Do you buy those magazines early on and then chop and decipher your draft strategy? What exactly do those print media items give to you? You probably appreciate having them at your disposal during your draft and it’s always nice to know who is on or off the 40-man roster.
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