The San Francisco Giants had a bit of a crazy off-season. With handling the news of Barry Bonds’ positive drug test, hiring a new manager, and signing a pitcher to the biggest contract ever, and then finally working out all of the bugs in Bonds’ contract, they were a little busy. The entire organization probably just wanted to come in, have a quiet spring training, and just get the season underway. And then this happened.
Yes it appears everyone’s favorite whack-job (and now richest pitcher in major league history) Barry Zito decided to “tweak” his delivery. The problem is, he didn’t tell anyone. He just showed up at spring training and started firing the ball out of a completely different delivery.
Now the Giants coaches are just a little nervous, because they think the new delivery could make him lose his dominant curveball and wear down his body. Wow that’s really looking like $126 million well spent. Before signing his seven-year, $126 million deal, Zito hadn’t missed a start in his seven-year career.
Apparently in the new delivery, Zito bounces slightly before taking a big step back at the beginning. He said he changed because it will give him a longer stride and make his delivery more fluid. Righetti didn’t sound please, “That’ll wear him down. He’s going to over-stride. It’s going to be tough on him … If he loses the curveball, which he could because he’ll be throwing from a different angle now — we’ll see how sore his groin is tomorrow.”
Dave, please never again talk about inspecting how sore Barry Zito’s groin is. I’m not Tim Hardaway or anything, but it’s just not a visual I need floating around in my head. Ever.
Anyway, it looks like Righetti and new manager Bruce Bochy plan to sit down with Zito soon to discuss the changes. And Righetti didn’t rule out trying to change his pitcher’s mind. Zito did actually tell Righetti he was going to make some changes but wasn’t specific as to what he was planning. When asked if he was worried about planning on one Zito and getting another, Righetti said, “Yeah. He said he was going to do something different. He was right. That’s a little bit different.”
Now that is the way to do things when you sign the biggest contract for a pitcher ever. Come into camp with your new team and totally change everything you were doing. Because, you know, they weren’t interested in what you did with your past team at all. No, no they wanted to give $18 million a year to a completely different pitcher, with a different delivery and different pitches.
I don’t know why anybody is surprised by this. I personally wouldn’t be shocked if Zito took the mound wearing birkenstocks, with a bong in his back pocket. Frankly I’m surprised, every time I see him pitch, that he isn’t using Ebby Calvin LaLoosh’s delivery, demanding to be called ‘Nuke’ and wearing a garter belt. By the way Barry, the rose goes in the front.