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Perez's Velocity Improves Somewhat

-P- Oliver Perez's velocity supposedly improved somewhat yesterday from about 86-88 MPH when he was pitching in the WBC to about 90 MPH, which is still far slower than he usually pitches. (I write "supposedly" in that last sentence because the difference between 88 MPH and 90 MPH could simply be the difference between an unfavorable radar gun and a favorable one.)

Either way, Jim Tracy's response to this development isn't encouraging:

"You don't want to get too over-involved in velocity at this point," Tracy said. "You have to give the guy an opportunity to stretch himself out some and build up his arm before you look at how hard he's throwing.

"I like to see where they're throwing, not how hard they're throwing. I want to see how he's pitching and what kind of thought process he's using to go about his business. I've seen guys throw 95 [mph] and get the [heck] beat out of them."

Perhaps we should take Tracy at face value here - he hasn't been around long enough for me to feel comfortable reading between the lines - but this comment scares me. It reminds me of a series of events that WTM sometimes mentions. When the Pirates drafted Bryan Bullington in 2002, they projected him as a #3 or even #2 starter. But a couple years later, after his velocity had disappeared, they were suggesting he'd be a #3 or #4 starter.

This sounds like the same expectations-lowering song-and-dance to me: 'We don't know where Oliver's velocity went, but you'll love him as an innings-eating junkballer!'

There's more evidence to support that idea here:

"I don't spend much time on velocity," general manager Dave Littlefield said Sunday prior to Perez's first spring-training start against the Toronto Blue Jays at McKechnie Field.

"Batters will tell you how effective guys are."

-P- This is pathetic:

"It's more internal," said Kevin McClatchy, the Pirates' managing general partner. "When you say, 'We will,' you always worry that people will think it's some sort of prediction, but it's not.

"It's more just something we go by. It's about how we go about our business. It's an attitude and it's a philosophy -- how everybody in our organization will go about it."

And this!

"We're trying to be the benchmark in the sports industry in everything we do -- whether it's the grounds crew or whether it's ticket sales or whether it's marketing.

"We will work hard in our marketing department. We will give our customers the best service. We will give our customers the best experience at a ballgame. 'We Will' can go to a lot of different areas..."

So "We Will" is actually about marketing, not about winning baseball games? That's hilarious.

-P- Here's Baseball Primer's 2006 Pirates Preview.