tampabay.com

Hey, appendages need love, too

By JOHN C. COTEY
Published March 4, 2007


On Thursday, Pasco pitcher Aaron Brandt threw 147 pitches in a win over Zephyrhills.

On Friday, Brandt's arm sat down to write coach Ricky Giles a letter.

 

Dear, Coach,

How's it going?

Me, I'm pretty sore today. A big bag of ice never felt so good, that's for sure.

What a game Thursday night, hey? I thought for sure when me and the legs and the brain were having trouble locating the plate in that first inning we were cooked.

What a rally. What a win. And how about that Hobbs kid, eh? Second game back from an arm injury!

Which brings me to my point.

I threw 147 pitches in the game.

One freaking hundred and 47!

Quite a few people are upset about that. Stunned really. Even the mouth, after the game, told a reporter he was a little worried about that, and the eyes, they kind of bulged in shock.

Me, I'm more like concerned. After all, I'm the ticket to college, and I've been doing this since before my tiny little 3-year-old fingers first tried to grip a baseball. I ain't bragging, but it was the cutest little thing. I'd like to keep doing it.

When you finally relieved me of my duties with a 2-0 count in the sixth inning, I was absolutely spent. You should have heard the elbow and shoulder complaining!

The brain, he could have kept going. The heart, he was all set to finish the game off. So naturally, being the warriors they are, they didn't say anything to you and would have kept me out there until I fell off.

That's the thing. We have adults coaching us for a reason. They are wiser. They have our best interests at heart. They can - they should - override the brain and heart of a 17-year-old and do what's best for me and my future.

Maybe that's selfish.

Now Coach, I can throw 147 pitches, don't get me wrong. You need to lean on me in the district tournament, I'm your arm. You need me to start the region quarterfinal and come back two days later for some relief, you got my number.

I just thought maybe, you know, five games into the season, you might want to, um, think about the future?

I guess what really has me a little scared is that I overheard Jim Ward, the athletic director, vehemently telling a reporter I was on a 100-pitch count and that's why I was pulled mid-batter.

The reporter - two of them, actually - had the pitch count at 147, and the guy for Zephyrhills who keeps the book had it the same. I heard people buzzing into cell phones "he threw 147 pitches!"

If I was on a pitch count, then someone can't count past 100.

You know I'm not a complainer. Shoot, last week I threw 136 pitches in an nondistrict 11-2 win over River Ridge. That was cool and all, and I got to strike out 14 batters, but did I mention the score was 11-2 ...and it was nondistrict?

Other coaches in the county, they were aghast. Me, I didn't say a word. I'm a team player.

But I'm pretty sure there's not even a manager in the major leagues not named Dusty Baker that would let a pitcher - a grown man - throw 280 pitches in eight days. By the way, how did that work out with Kerry Wood and Mark Prior?

I'm just saying.

I heard you told the newspaper before the season you had like nine guys who could pitch. That's a lot. I'm not one to tell you how to coach, you've been pretty successful, but how about using some of those other guys every once in a while, especially this early in the season?

Don't get me wrong, I want to finish what I start. I take it as a personal affront when I can't. I usually don't need 147 pitches to get the job done. But boy, I really struggled at times against Zephyrhills. I just didn't have the good stuff.

And I know you like to ride your horses and even respect that. But seriously, 280 pitches in two games?

You're killing me.

Coach, you know I'm going to punch through a brick wall for you. That's just the way I roll.

But I need you to not let me punch that brick wall.

I need for it to be enough for you to know I would punch it if you asked. Sure, I'll throw 147 pitches for you, but I shouldn't. That's not my call, though.

It's yours.

Next time, could you make it?

Please?

 

Sincerely,

Aaron Brandt's Right Arm