Sympathy for Jon Lester

I feel sorry for Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester. Initially, it’s tough to see why Lester deserves any sympathy. After all, he is a successful pitcher who is well-compensated for his talents.

Jon Lester (Image source)

Jon Lester (Image source)

But money can’t solve all problems, and in this case, Lester’s hefty salary probably makes it worse. After all, a person who makes as much money as he does should surely be able to overcome a seemingly minor issue such as this.

What is Lester’s problem? He can’t seem to throw the ball to first base.

Obviously, throwing the ball to first base isn’t his primary concern. As a pitcher, it is much more important that he can throw the ball effectively to home plate. But his inability to throw to first appears to be becoming increasingly problematic.

There will be times when Lester needs to field the ball and throw it to first base. And if runners get on base, he will sometimes need to throw the ball over in order to keep the runner from getting too sizable of a lead.

Here’s what happened the last time he tried to do that:

Lester attempts a pick-off

I’ll assume that Lester is physically capable of throwing to first base, and that his problems are all mental. I can certainly relate to that.

Back in my softball playing days, I would often serve as the team’s pitcher. I was effective enough at the job, but I sometimes ran into problems when the ball was hit near me and I had to make a play.

Like Lester, I would try my darndest to get the ball to the first baseman, but sometimes, the ball didn’t quite go where I intended. After a few misfires, I began to overthink every time the ball came my way. And in sports, overthinking things often makes it worse.

It became somewhat of a running joke among my teammates. Or at least it was a joke after the game. While the game was in progress, it must have been insanely frustrating to see me botch what should have been easy outs.

I found that if I took several warmup throws to first before the game, the problem was much less severe. But even then, there were still times when I’d fire the ball well over the head of the first baseman.

In recent years, I rarely pitched, so it wasn’t too much of an issue. But every now and then, my services were needed. Inevitably, an opposing player would hit the ball back to the mound.

What happened next? It all depended on how spry our first baseman was feeling that day.

This post has been part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. In case you couldn’t tell, today’s letter was L, and the topic was “Lester.”

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One Response to Sympathy for Jon Lester

  1. In Little League, I couldn’t throw to any base…. so I wound up playing first.

    I was also in very early on the sabermetric attitude towards baseball. In 1987, I batted .000, but led the team in walks and was second in runs scored. We finished in 2nd after years of languishing in the basement….

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