Bill Lee At Fenway: Legendary Lefty And Free Spirit Joins Red Sox Alumni GamePlay
Gearing up to play in Sunday's Red Sox alumni game at Fenway, pitching legend Bill Lee spoke with WBUR's Sharon Brody for Weekend Edition. The highlights below have been lightly edited for clarity.
On why Lee thinks pitching is at an all-time low:
"Everybody is trying to throw too hard. The problem is capitalism. It'll all boil back to capitalism, because the radar gun says that you have potential because you can throw 97 [miles per hour]. But if you can't hit home plate, they think they can teach you to hit home plate. [But] there's a disconnect between your brain and your parasympathetic nervous system, where one thing is — cut your head off, let your body do the work, pitch. And the other one is to impress the radar gun with your velocity--and therefore you'll make more money. So you've got to get this out of the game."
On his baseball-playing aunt and other relatives:
"[I've] still got one of her gloves. Annabelle was the greatest left-hander in the history of women's fast-pitch and hardball. She threw a perfect game and a no-hitter in the same year — Annabelle Lee [Harmon]! But her father was the greatest second baseman before he taught Bobby Doerr to play second. And Bobby Doerr [was a] Hall of Famer for the Red Sox. So I go back generations with Bobby Doerr, my grandfather, my father, my aunt, me, and both of my sons play ball...and my two grandsons both coach high school ball...so you're seeing a baseball family. Generationally, we're always on the field and we will die on the field."
On what makes baseball so compelling:
"It has no clock. It has no time. You have to leave home to get home. Baseball is philosophy — it is life. My son has the website, The Church of Baseball. And I am the pope of the church of baseball. In baseball you have to do everything, but you don't multi-task. Every pitch is one at a time. It's relaxed. You slow it down, slow life down — slow everything down. Exhale."
This segment aired on May 27, 2018.