Thursday, May 17, 2012

An ode to pitcher's batting practice

With Marquis Fleming's hands-on-bat feat, let's remember the good ol' days when the Biscuits pitchers would enjoy the occasional round of batting practice.

It was usually as a reward for a shutout or a streak of finely pitched games. I enjoyed them, too. The banter and self-deprecating humor were always particularly entertaining.

The last-recorded session of Biscuits pitchers taking b.p. was July 28, 2006. The staff divided up on U.S. vs. World lines with the Americans -- USA-USA-USA -- taking honors. Left-hander Mike Prochaska was the individual medalist with six home runs, just ahead of Tony Peguero. As you can imagine, homers were the only thing that counted.

"I carried the team today," Prochaska cracked. "It gives me confidence that I can carry the team in something."

In May 2006, there were two sessions of pitchers b.p. Chuck Tiffany pulled an 0-fer in the first, which coaxed pitching coach Xavier Hernandez to say Tiffany had a "high school hack." Tiffany availed himself two weeks later.

"He got it up in the wind and the wind caught it," Hernandez said. "He did show a little something. It may have been a junior college hack."

Tiffany's retort: "By the end of the year, it will be a major league hack."

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