Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Death, taxes, change ups and beat writers

We all know there's 2 certainties in life: death and taxes. We can add another to the list. Namely, Jeremy Bonderman's working on a change up.

We get the same story every season, usually early in spring training. Bonderman has a good outing in an exhibition game, throws a couple of changes for strikes, and the MSM breaks out one of their numerous "evergreens." If Bonderman could develop a change, he'd be unhittable/take the next step/win 20 games/be an All-Star/become an ace/cure cancer.

We all know, as ancient Paul Harvey says, the rest of the story.

Bonderman goes into the regular season hoping to use 3 pitches, throws the change up for a couple of games, doesn't like the results, falls back on his 2 money pitches, the fastball and slider, shows flashes of greatness, blows up in the 1st inning several times, and ultimately disappoints.

Much like the seeing first robin, or daylight savings time kicking in, even with snow in the air here in Michigan, you know spring is here when one of the beat writers writes about Bonderman's need for a 3rd pitch. We got it today, courtesy of the Detroit News' Tom Gage:

"Bondo's change coming along for Tigers"

Waiting for an answer, some questions get asked every spring.

One, for instance: Will this finally be the season Jeremy Bonderman perfects the change-up?

And another: If it is, what then?

Mlive's Danny Knobler:

"Tigers' Bonderman says his changeup will be a viable weapon this season"

We've been through this before with Jeremy Bonderman.

The Detroit Tigers say he needs a changeup. He agrees. Then Bonderman declares he has finally found the changeup and vows to use it regularly.

And the Freep's Jon Paul Morosi:

CHANGE OF PACE: Before Monday's game, Leyland said Jeremy Bonderman is "one consistent change-up away from being a huge major league winner."

"He'll go from really good to outstanding if he masters that," Leyland said.

Bonderman then pitched three scoreless innings Monday -- with help from five or six change-ups.

Good Lord. The beat writers are scary in their lock step predictability.

Hell, even I'm guilty as charged. I've fallen for the "Bonderman has his 3rd pitch" trap in the past. From March '07...

We're hearing that Bonderman may have found the off speed pitch that's been missing from his repertoire. If true, the American League best lookout.

Dammit! I should know better!

After checking up on myself, I thought I'd do a quick Google search using Bonderman and "change up" as key words. And what do you know, I found an old post of Billfer's linking to a long gone into the ether Ken Rosenthal article...From March 19th, 2003! Though the article is long gone, Billfer has the money quote.

Tigers phenom Jeremy Bonderman has made scant use of his changeup in Florida, but one benefit of keeping him in the majors would be to put him under the tutelage of pitching coach Bob Cluck. Scouts say Cluck is a good teacher and strong proponent of the changeup. . . .

Why do I have a feeling we'll be seeing the same story 5 years from now? 10 years from now? If Bonderman ever makes into Cooperstown, I'm positive his plaque will say "He's still working on a change up."

As Kurt said today at Mack Avenue Tigers, when it comes to Bonderman learning a change, "We'll believe it when we see it."

Truer words have not been spoken...

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