And how are the pupils taking to Teacher Alston's new project? "Some of them are more interested in it than others," confesses the teacher. He smiles and adds: "The day we set the record, Billy Loes started the chart (right). He gave it up after a while and Erskine finished it."
As might be expected, Erskine, the star of the staff, also is the star pupil. He keeps the neatest charts, manifests the greatest interest.
"I was hoping Alston would let me keep them all," says Erskine. "You'd be surprised how many things you see that you never noticed before."
He gave examples:
"I kept the chart on Newcombe against the Giants in that first series. Newk threw eight changeups that day, and got them all over. Two were high, but they were hit—for basehits. A high change is the same as a high curve, it's a weak pitch."
"A chart like this will show you if a pitcher is falling into a set pattern. He might be throwing a fast ball and following with a curve, or two fast balls, then a curve. If he does that repeatedly, it's a pattern that the other team will look for."
"Later in the season these charts might help us rig our defenses. We usually shade Whitey Lockman to left field, but the chart the other day showed that he pulled Loes. Maybe we can play him different next time."
Alston admits the chart is far from perfect. For example, the present markings don't differentiate between a called strike and a swinging strike. However, it's still new enough to be altered. "I think we can come up with better symbols," he says, for one thing.