Why the throwing around after an out?
Jim asked: I have never understood why, after the first and second outs occur, the players throw the ball around rather than give it directly back to the pitcher.
Why is this done and how did it 'historically' get started?
Rick answered: Jim, thank you for your question.
Throwing the ball around was in part, to provide the fans with something to watch, while they were waiting on the next hitter from the on deck circle to arrive at the plate, thus a timing mechanism.
It also provides infielders with some action, so that they stay a little more focused. Allows the pitcher to think about the next hitter, before he steps on the rubber.
Throwing the ball around only happens when there are no runners on base, after an infield out.
Outfield outs are thrown back in to the cutoff man who generally throws it to the pitcher, or sometimes one additional infielder, then the pitcher.
The game of baseball has a lot of down time for the players. In a typical high school game, there are 120 minutes.
In that time, studies have shown that the baseball is in the air, in play, about 8 minutes of that time.
Providing players with something physical to concentrate on helps to alleviate the mental mistakes created by the down time.
Yours in baseball,
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