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Slate's Teachings: Big-League Pitching Skills

In the second of a series of reports on mentoring, Slate contributor Eric Liu talks with Major League Baseball pitching coach Bryan Price of the Seattle Mariners about how to throw balls that make batters miss.

Liu, author of Guiding Lights, a book about mentoring, has traveled the nation seeking out mentors in a number of widely different fields. And with each mentor, Liu finds suprising similarities: Their specialized knowledge leads to a greater shared truth.

"When Bryan Price taught me how to throw a changeup, he made me see myself," Liu says. "All my life, I've been the equivalent of a fastball pitcher -- trying to use blazing speed and brute force to wow the people around me. Now I realize it would help if I knew how to change speeds from time to time, to be less predictable. Bryan has turned me into a self-coach -- only not in the realm of sports."

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