IT MUST be nature.
The boy was barely two years old, yet there the toddler sat, oddly quiet, behind the backstop of another game in Groton, Conn. He was watching the Fitch High Falcons, coached by Ed Harvey, and the boy seemed to have an ear pitched at attention, the way an opera aficionado might listen to Verdi. Ed's wife, Jackie, took notice of their son's rapture.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"Do you hear that sound?" the boy asked.
"Do you hear that? That glove? That pop?"
The boy smiled.
"I like that sound."
It must be nurture.
Ed Harvey played centerfield for the UConn Huskies when they reached the 1972 College World Series. When he was hired to coach the Fitch varsity eight years later, he didn't know much about pitching, so he took to research and coaching conferences to learn. He found two popular methodologies of delivering the baseball. One was to thrust the elbows higher than the shoulders before release, so the arms form an inverted W. Ed saw more logic and comfort in the other style, in which the hands go up together, separate like two train cars uncoupling on the crest of a hill and then speeding down opposite sides. The throwing hand rides that momentum away from the body and then back up again, this time above the shoulder as the arms form a goalpost position. The throwing hand speeds homeward with the stored energy of that long arm swing.