Of Brandon Morrow and Tippi Hedren
DUNEDIN, Fla. – It was like a Hitchcock movie over at the Blue Jays’ Bobby Mattick minor league complex this morning, although not for anything horrible seen on the field.
On the contrary, Brandon Morrow was pitching in a minor-league split-squad gig and the entire front office, plus manager Cito Gaston, braved the
For the record, Morrow retired 12 of 14 hitters, allowing a wind-blown double and a walk, while striking out four. He had four-out "innings"’ and they placed a runner on base to let him work from the stretch, simulating game conditions. Morrow later reported no after-effects from the so-called “dead arm’’ he had earlier in camp and he figures he’s good to go in Houston Saturday as the Jays try to squeeze him into this year’s rotation. They really want him in there, too.
So where does the Hitchcock stuff come from? Well, remember The Birds?
Tippi Hedren or Suzanne Pleshette or one of those babes was just starting to figure out the birds were going crazy in that little town. She wasn’t paying attention and then she looked around and there were like 5,000 black crows all around her, just sitting there quietly on swing sets and fences and such. It was totally spooky stuff, all right, and while they didn’t attack then, you knew it was coming.
Well, watching yesterday, leaning on one of those metal five-row grandstands and concentrating on the pitches, I missed every player in Blue Jays camp coming over to watch the show. There had to be 60 or 70 players, all dressed in black, sitting or standing, silently watching. Plus every minor-league coach, Gaston and Jays pitching coach Bruce Walton. The only ones not dressed in black were GM Alex Anthopoulous, a couple of reporters and PR types and Morrow’s wife.
Birds allusions aside, it surely was interesting watching big leaguers pitch – and Morrow throws mid-90s fastballs with a biting breaking ball – from up close like that, only a few feet away on the other side of the wire fence. Back in the day at the Mattick complex (and long before it was known as that) the press could go stand a few feet behind a catcher, again with a wire fence in play, and watch the pitchers throw a bullpen session. That close, you get an amazing sense of how the pitches break and run, in a way you don’t appreciate on TV. When a guy like Dave Stieb threw with his good stuff, you wondered how anyone could hit him with a paddle.