Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Maybe Not As Much Spring As I'd Hoped

It's the first day of Spring and I can't feel my fingers.

It's beautiful and sunny, temperature 38F (wind chill 24F), and I'm wearing three layers plus a heavy jacket, flannel jeans, and heavy shocks and shoes. And gloves.

Still, after about twenty minutes, the feeling starts to leave my fingers.

I'm in the backyard with Eli 16.8, feeding balls into a pitching machine. There's a hockey net in the yard, and he's standing in front of it, catching ball after ball with his glove.

This is a real pitching machine. It can throw 70+ MPH at 46 feet, and Eli is about 10 feet closer than that. We have 50 7.5" baseballs (about 20% smaller than a regular baseball), and I feed him 300-400 balls in a regular session.

This machine is straight-up amazing. The pitches it can throw:
left-hand curve
right-hand curve
left-hand slider
right-hand slider

That's right--it can throw a knuckleball. A good one, too.

The nastiest pitch for him to catch seems to be the splitter, because it has a filthy drop at the end. Pucks do that, though, so we're basically creating every combination of speed, spin, and location we can, so that when he's on the ice, he's seen every trajectory that can possibly happen.

We even have an inflatable bopper (ninja on one side, boxer on the other) that can stand a few feet in front of Eli and act as a screen.

Standing. Butterfly. Half-split. Glove side. Blocker side. Ball. Next ball.

We have a screen behind the net so that these little baseballs don't go flying into the neighbor's yards, although once or twice a session, one gets through.

1,500 balls a week all spring and summer will be 25,000 balls by the time school starts in the fall.

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