Heavy coats, hats, gloves, hand warmers, heaters–baseball players have access to pretty much anything they need to stay warm in these cold weather games while they’re in the dugout or bullpens. But transitioning to the playing field is more difficult. Especially for the pitchers, who have to contend with keeping their grip on each pitch.
Thus far in the cold weather games for the St. Louis Cardinals, Bud Norris has shown an ability to still throw strikes even in the coldest of temperatures.
“I don’t know if I have a secret, it’s really just getting as a loose as you can,” explained Norris recently. “It’s really about making sure your legs are warm. It’s pretty easy for us pitchers to get our arms loose, but it’s making sure about the total body. Make sure my legs are loose and warm.”
The 37 degrees at first pitch on April 7th game was the coldest home game in Cardinals franchise history. Norris struck out three Diamondbacks to earn the save in his one inning of work.
“Our arm’s going to get hot fast,” continued Norris. “If we stand there too long our legs will get cold so just doing some extra little sprints, some side by side running, little stuff like that can really go a long way.”
It may seem strange that a California native would have such an easy time in the cold, but Norris grew up just north of San Francisco. The weather may not have been this extreme, but there wasn’t always the warmth of the sun either.
“Most of my games at night were in cold weather,” shared Norris. “I don’t like throwing with sleeves on. Even in college, a lot of my 7 o’clock games were pretty chilly at night. I kind of just got used to it and something you don’t want to think about too much and get into your mental game. Just something I’m kind of used to now, I guess.”
Entering tonight’s game against Chicago, Norris has prevented all nine of his inherited runners from scoring this season.
photo credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports