Great pitchers remember their failures and never repeat their mistakes. I can't even focus long enough to remember there is a fastball coming at me.
by Bill Mehlman
For reasons unknown to your faithful ADHD scribe, sports journalists decided long ago that players at certain positions would have almost invariable tags, attached in Homeric fashion, to their names. So there's the "slick-fielding shortstop," the "rifle-armed rightfielder," the "far-ranging centerfielder" and my personal favorite, the "crafty southpaw." Sometimes the broadcasters slip and say "crafty leftie" but that sounds like a political statement or a breakfast cereal.
Why, you ask, are lefthanded pitchers thought to be sly? I doubt that it has to do with the left/sinister connection. More likely, since the crafties make up a relatively small percentage of the pitchers in baseball, batters, whichever side they hit from, find it a less-comfortable situation than hitting against a rightie. Pitches break differently, and from different angles, but it's not really connivance so much as circumstance. For a craftie to throw a breaking ball that takes the same path as a rightie's curve, he'd have to throw one hellacious screwball.
The truth is that crafty pitchers aren't all lefties, nor are all lefties crafty. But all topnotch pitchers are crafty to some degree, an attribute that becomes increasingly important as the hurler's ability to throw an overpowering fastball diminishes. The craftiest pitcher of modern times, Greg Maddux, was renowned for his memory, foresight and gamesmanship.
Wondering what this has to do with our ADHD affliction? Here you go: the great pitchers, especially the guys like Maddux and Whitey Ford (did you seriously think I could write even one paragraph about baseball without bringing in a Yankee?) never repeated their mistakes. If a batter hit a dinger off a Maddux curve, high and inside, with a man on third and one out and a three-and-one count, he could play until he was old enough to start taking his pension and he'd never see that pitch again. Do you think Maddux guessed? No, I'm sure he had a little notebook that he reviewed before each start. But the fact remains that he was able to access that information while he was on the mound, and put it to very effective use.
Me, I'd be lucky to remember the signs the catcher was flashing at me with his taped fingers. Not that my bad memory was the biggest impediment to my pitching major league ball. There was the matter of my 68 mph fastball, too.