Wondering why I would dedicate an entire entry to a commonly uncommon acronym? Worry not, for by the end of this post you will be as tired of PFPs as is any professional pitcher.
Musician’s play scales, 3rd graders tackle multiplication tables, medical students memorize, and pitchers do PFPs. Pitchers’ Fielding Practice (a PFP) is the heart and soul of Spring Trainig’s week one, the week devoted to pitchers and catchers. I’ll walk you through a typical day.
7:55a Arrive at the Complex
8:55 Gather for announcements
9:15 Stretch as a group
9:30 Bullpen or PFPs
9:45 PFPs or PFPs
10:00 PFPs or PFPs
10:15 PFPs or PFPs
10:40 Weight Training
Each pitcher is put into one of four groups; each group is subdivided into two sections, A and B. Pitchers in Group A follow the first column—the bullpen column. Pitchers in the Group B follow the second column—the one with four rotations of PFPs. Clearly, all partake in copious amounts of PFP.
To clarify what we do during these rotations, I must point out that there are numerous types of PFPs. To list a few: cover 1st base, field a comebackeer (regular baseballs), cover home, field a bunt during a squeeze play, cover 1st base on a ball hit between 1st baseman and 2nd baseman, field a comebacker (soft baseballs), cover 1st to end a double play, field a bunt and throw to 1st base… Surely, if Forrest’s friend Bubba enjoyed pitching as much as shrimp boating, you can imagine his explanation of PFPs.
There, of course, is a reason to this madness.
You step onto the mound. It’s the bottom of the 9th. Your team is winning 2-1. You’ve easily retired the first 2 batters, but the next hitter rips a triple into the right field corner. With a runner on third and two outs, you only have to collect one more out and your team wins the game. You deliver a perfect change-up; the ball sinks to the bottom of the zone and the batter chops the ball weakly back towards the pitchers’ mound. As the baseball bounces towards you, you prepare to react. Only one more out and the game ends…. What happens next?
You sure are glad you did all those PFPs.