Pitchers are the most unique breed in sports. They do not need to be psyched up to perform at their best like a linebacker. They do not need to be in peak physical shape to perform at their best like point guards. In fact, most pitchers are cerebral and perform their best if you just leave them alone.
Or in the case of Dowling's ace Tyler Badamo, he found he performs his best if he just leaves his arm alone.
"For the first time in my career," he said. "I had almost four months off of throwing. I took off the entire fall from throwing and did everything I could to be 100 percent by the time the season started," he said.
Following his 2013 season, in which he threw 83 innings and compiled a 2.60 ERA, Badamo decided to take a step back and prepare differently for his senior season which would be viewed by the watchful eyes of many Major League scouts.
To this point, the decision appears to be paying off just fine. Through his first seven starts, the 6'1" righty already has thrown 58 innings, yielded only four earned runs (0.62 ERA), struck out 69 batters (10.7 K/9) and limited the opposition to just 41 hits and 15 walks (0.96 WHIP).
He has already fired three complete games and one shutout. He credits the incredible start to his new-found approach to hitters.
"Coming out of high school and even my first two years of college I am fully convinced I did not know how to pitch," he said. "Like most people, I relied on the velocity on my fastball to overpower hitters. Last year I got my first taste of understanding how to pitch and this year I really believe I figured out how to approach hitters. The addition of the slider to my repertoire along with my developing change has been the biggest difference. When you have command of four pitches it makes life a lot easier," he added.
If only everyone could command four pitches, offense would evaporate even quicker than it has. Additionally, although he did not throw in fall, he did work substantially on his conditioning, which he feels has really benefitted him.
"My work ethic takes a strong role in my ability to pitch deep into games," he said. "Our lifting program and offseason practices at Dowling are also a big reason. Nobody works harder than us and that's a big reason for our success," he added.
Don't forget about a little thing called bullpen sessions, which he mentioned later.
"I continued to build my strength by working out at Team 13 Fitness, so that by the time I got back to school I was able to throw close to 80 pitches at full strength," he added. Basically, the opposition had no chance from the beginning.
Now that the Golden Lions are off to a great start, it is clear the team is the team to beat in the ECC. Badamo, however, is not content with that. He sees that this club is capable of more.
Badamo said that the scouts and his professional future is not a distraction because nobody on the team mentions it and everybody is only focused on the season.
"Of course my goal is to play professional baseball," he said. "But my present goal is to throw to the best of my ability and give us the best chance to make this year the best year in Dowling College history," he said.
Now that sounds like an ace that is hellbent on winning. Although pitchers are peculiar breeds, their burning desire to win is just as fierce as any person in professional sports. In that sense, they are just like the rest.