Bode: Fully immersed: Diving into baseball’s player development culture

From Michael Bode at Waiting For Next Year on January 6, 2016:

As Cleveland Indians fans who enjoy arriving early to the ballpark know, a dedicated long-toss regimen is as much a part of pregame rituals for many pitchers as batting practice and shagging fly balls is for positional players. Starting pitchers Trevor Bauer and teammate Danny Salazar, in particular, are known to throw it from the outfield walls to targets over 350 feet away with power behind them.

The long toss itself is a beautiful exercise to behold. At first, it appears ballplayers are playing a relaxing game of catch with soft, high-arching tosses being thrown back and forth from a somewhat short distance. The players continue those high-arcs, but start to move to longer distances until they reach the farthest their arms can deliver the ball in such a fashion. It is a simple game any kids with a ball, gloves, and an open field have attempted if given the freedom to just play. Then, just when an observer might believe they are watching players work on catching deep pop flies, the real fun begins. Those balls which traveled through the air as if they needed to clear an invisible wall high above the playing surface straighten out and are suddenly delivered with the power to smash through said wall. Each successive throw is a challenge to best the previous one.

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Originally published: January 11, 2016. Last Updated: January 11, 2016.