James Shields has pitched a lot of innings. He has a pretty good idea of how to get a pitching mound set up to his liking. As part of MLB Network's "30 Clubs in 30 Days" series, which featured the Padres on Tuesday, former MLB pitcher Dan Plesac met up with Big Game James to discuss mound preparation.
The geometry of the main features of a baseball field are defined in the rule books, but there are a lot of variables from one park to another, and from day to day. The grass stands out to us in the bleachers, and we see the groundskeepers working between innings to keep the basepaths smooth and uniform, but the pitching mound is a very personal space. Each player has their own preferences.
James goes into detail about how he smooths the area and then prepares the area where his plant foot lands. I like the discussion about opposing pitchers, and how they mess with each other's little sacred plot of land. This is an interesting peek into a little part of the game that we don't really notice much, but it makes a big difference. Take a look, you'll learn something new!