The Mariners want their pitchers, especially the starters, to work faster this season. Get the ball, get the sign, and throw a quality pitch. Lollygagging isn't in the playbook. (Pravda)
There are two neat things about this:
(1) Baseball is great, but fast baseball is greater, and nobody enjoys watching a pitcher fumble around with different grips and step off the rubber every three minutes to count butterflies in the grass. I love a fast tempo. It's the only thing that kept me from putting a hit on Ryan Franklin. There are few things worse than having a pitcher take his sweet time during a hugely important at bat when the crowd is all into it, and any motion to make our pitching staff work faster is therefore fine by me. Get the ball and throw the ball. If Batista and Steve Trachsel have taught us anything, it's that there's nothing to be gained by spending thirty seconds to think about every pitch.
(2) This is totally testable. Unlike the typical Spring Training fluff, we can actually measure this to see if Wakamatsu gets the pitchers to start working faster. All you'll need is a stopwatch, a TV with FSN, access to 2008 game video, and a strong stomach. If there's a difference, then hey, all right, someone learned something in Spring Training. And if there isn't, then hey, all right, that was a complete waste of my time.
I like that bit about throwing "a quality pitch". It seems like that should be the bigger story here. Forget 'Mariners Skipper Wants Better Pace.' More like 'Mariners Skipper Wants Better Pitches.' I guess as far as Batista's concerned, that makes this article doubly threatening.