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Thursday, February 22, 2007

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Jesus, that picture scared the crap out of me.

I figured Papi just wears around one of those neck pillows, since he has a lot of time on the pine between at-bats.

Hey y'all, longtime reader, first-time caller, as the saying (sort of) goes. Yes, that photograph is absolutely not cool. Do you think Manny heard about it from the car show?

http://blog.masslive.com/redsoxmonster/2007/02/and_it_begins_again.html

Fairly interesting story here by Jeff Passan on the gyroball. Apparently Pedro Martinez used to throw it without realizing it.

Most of this makes absolutely no sense to me...Bonds and Passan both say it looks like a slider, the inventor says that if "its anything, it's closest to a slider," but goes on to say that it's actually more of a straight fastball with no movement whatsoever that looks to be exploding as it reaches the plate. The article also explains exactly how Matsuzaka's name ended up in all this.

How great is it to be this guy? I mean, who else gets this kind of treatment, and isn't your typical "me-first" jerk that we too often run into with this kind of talent. I would imagine, and I'm not comparing here, that it's the kind of love Babe Ruth felt everywhere he went. When was the last time you heard anyone say something bad about him? He's a monster talent, a great guy, and great teammate. He's the perfect embassador for the game, and a few guys, including Manny, could learn a thing or two from him.
When I think about it, I don't think I've ever seen him not smiling (outside of that few seconds before depositing a pitch in the far away seats), and he really seems to always just love what's been afforded to him. Maybe it's because of the way he earned it, or maybe it's because of the way he was raised, but whatever it was, it's so refreshing to have that from an pro athlete.

I played baseball my whole life. It's a myth until I see it with my own eyes - for me anyhow. I've seen some nasty fastballs come (and go) by me (Pavano in high school), and filthy sliders, but never something like they say this is. Why is there no video?
Also, since I mentioned it, let me say this. Pavano was NEVER better than he was in our state championship bracket his senior year. He absolutely dominated in a fashion I can't even explain. Think Pedro v. Moose only high school kids. The only kid to reach base got hit on the knee. The rest of us had the awful K's in the book each time up. It was almost, no it was definitely scary.

I have yet to hear a good explanation as to how the gyroball is not a slider with a different spin.

I don't understand how to get the slider with a different spin. Unless you're sending it straight down, which is nearly impossible unless you have Pedro fingers, I don't understand how it's even compared to a slider.. Either it slides over or drops straight, and if it's a mix, then it's a slurve-ish pitch. All are nasty if thrown right, but I don't get it either.

You rub ground lamb all over the ball, instead of mud. THAT'S a gyroball.

I could be wrong, but I think the two pitches have very different axes of rotation.

Passan's article makes it sound like the perfect gyroball spins like a bullet, with the axis of rotation set at the direction of travel. It's been compared to a football or a bullet; when you watch a QB throw a spiral, the ball rotates around an axis which extends from point to point through the center of the ball. That's the same kind of motion the perfectly thrown gyro will take. The rotation cuts down on air resistance, but when you think of the way a football travels, you can see why the gyro shouldn't be breaking. I think that whole idea that it does break came about after Matsuzaka and his absolutely ridiculous slider became attatched to the pitch. I got this wrong before, too...

Compare this to a slider. The slider is thrown by snapping your wrist, which results in a completely different axis of rotation. It's more like the way the Earth rotates as it travels through space; the axis is perpendicular to the direction of travel. Using the football analogy, it's the rough equivalent of grabbing one end and throwing it like a frisby. In fact it sort of spins like a frisbe, which is why it seems to hang if it isn't thrown with enough force or spin; it hasto be thrown hard and with a strong rotation to catch the air severely enough to break. A cutter is basically a less-severe variation of the same pitch, with more emphasis on the mechanics one uses when throwing a fastball. A curve is a more-severe variation with more emphasis on the downward-snapping then you use on the slider. The slider is basically a tweener.

The Passan article makes it seem like the gyroball is really a sort of optical illusion. The way he describes Pedro's throwing it makes it sound like the ball only appears to speed up as it reaches the batter. It may have something to do with the rotation, which batters probably aren't used to seeing; since it spins so differently from everything else, they may not pick it up as a fastball but some sort of breaking pitch. We've heard that some guys have an "explosive" or "deceptive" fastball, usually attributed to their deliveries. But maybe this goes to explain why, too.

1. I think the Papi photo is funny, given that the joke lasted only a split-second.

2. The Times article on the "inventor" (?) of the gyroball says that it involves a motion intended to look like a change or slider, in which the arm is "turned away from the body" before release, and the ball is thrown "like a football." Not sure that really clarifies things, but it's the only real attempt to describe it I've read so far...

We linked to a substantial story on the gyroball days ago, and it's thorough, full of air-tunnel-looking diagrams and other visual treats.

http://yanksfansoxfan.typepad.com/ysfs/2007/01/aerodicenamics.html

the actual story is here:

http://www.bigempire.com/sake/gyroball_matsuzaka_1.html

I understand they spin differently, but everything I've read about a gyroball describes it breaking just like a slider. If it's breaking like a slider, and the grip is similar to a slider, how is it not a slider? It seems to be more closely related to the slider than a split-fingered fastball is to a regular fastball -- at least those pitches have different motions.

Anyway, since we're veering all over, this story on Julian Tavarez is most excellent. Also, the raw NESN footage of Tavarez's interview with the media has some interesting nuggets, including:

"Manny loves Boston."
Manny is uncomfortable in front of the media, and is uncomfortable speaking English in front of most everybody. He and Lowell were similar in that they both ripped on the media for not taking the time to understand Ramirez or properly explain his work ethic and the depths to which he goes to become a better hitter. These complaints are at least partially justified, I think.

Just interesting is all.

I know, everything I'd read about it describes it as breaking like a slider, too. But now that I think about it, the idea that it could spin like a football and break like a slider never made any sense...I don't know why that didn't occur to me sooner; probably because it was far more exciting to think about a pitch that breaks 4 feet. Again, maybe the gyroball is such that it just looks to be breaking the batter's perspective even while it travels like a straight fastball. Or not...Weird sh*t.

Uh oh, you brought up Tavarez...walein is gonna have a grand ol' time ripping him. Heh...good article, though I do have a little trouble believing that Manny has problems with English. I mean I suppose it could be a psychological thing - maybe he truly is uncomfortable with it, more then he lets on - but he's definitely not the worst I've ever heard on those rare occasions when he does speak. Who knows...

Bob Klapich's is an idiot and clueless. He should be fired from his job. He kept saying that Hughes's best pitch is the splitter? Are you kidding me? He doesn't know what He's talking about. Klapsich's should stop covering Yankees and covers the Mets.


Oft-injured starter must restore credibility

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/spring2007/columns/story?columnist=klapisch_bob&id=2774949


[QUOTE]
Behind door No. 2 is rookie Phil Hughes, who might be the best Yankees prospect of the Steinbrenner era. He throws hard, features a nearly unhittable splitter as his out pitch and seems unusually composed for a 20-year-old. But the Yankees are guarding Hughes like an experimental race car still in the developer's lab. The kid, who only pitched at Double-A last year, is still too young and inexperienced to put to the test. [/QUOTE]

Isn't it funny how a baseball team can go from a contender to a below 500 team just by losing a DH?

Part of the gyroball confusion comes from the difference between the 4-seam and 2-seam gyros. The 2-seam is supposed to have "extreme movement" as explained in the bigempire.com article, but the 4-seam is only visually deceptive, and neaither break at all according to Passan's article. To further confound things, the two inventors of the gyroball Tezuka and Himeno don't agree. Himeno shows in his simulations the gyroball dropping like a fast forkball, but Tezuka claims that in practice gryoballs don't drop at all.

God knows if we'll ever know what a gyroball is, considering Matsuzaka only threw it "accidentaly"... maybe. But get ready for countless bumbling commentators trying to explain the darn thing.

dear david ortiz,

never, ever, EVER do that to me again.

love,

beth

"When was the last time you heard anyone say something bad about him?"

Well, how about last year when Papi was whining that Jeter didn't put up the huge power numbers, and wasn't worthy of the MVP.

For those comments, Papi came under criticism from a lot of people, not all Yankee fans. In fact, some people felt he hurt his chances by letting his frustration show about the MVP voting, which seems to penalize DHs for not contributing on the field.

"When was the last time you heard anyone say something bad about him?"

Well, how about last year when Papi was whining that Jeter didn't put up the huge power numbers, and wasn't worthy of the MVP.

Were the Sox already fading when he said that? If so, he was probably getting frustrated.

Ortiz is a great guy. He was the only guy who made a joke during the 5-game thrashing.

To get a sense of how truly downtrodden the Sox were during that time, Curt Schilling even admitted "they outhit us, they outpitched us, they outplayed us." Ortiz joked "They should just let us win a game, it would be more fun that way."

"Were the Sox already fading when he said that? If so, he was probably getting frustrated."

Well john, as I recall, the Sox were fading, Papi was exhausted, he had that irregular heartbeat episode, Manny, his protection in the lineup was out, it was a tough time for Papi. I'm sure he was frustrated. After all, he's only human.

"Ortiz joked "They should just let us win a game, it would be more fun that way"."

Got any quotation marks on ya?

As far as that "let us win a game" goes, uh...we tried that in 2004 and it didn't really turn out to be all that much fun. Heh.

God I love NOMAAS.
http://www.nomaas.org/

"I don't remember what Matsuzaka looked like till I saw him this winter," Ortiz said. "I always tell people that everybody looks the same to me in Japan. Which is cool, man. I wish we could be like that in the Dominican, so you can hide."

"I know there's going to be one pitching every five days and another one coming into the game every day."

I am not adding anything else to that, those quotes are priceless enough.

Jeez. those comments are a bit offensive. I'm guessing if A-Rod or Schilling or just about any other player said this, this would be a bigger story.

Ding Ding Ding .....Nick you win, come on down!

Guess we won't see a Japanese add with Big Papi chugging some beer anytime soon.

I noticed Trisk's drift right away with Papi's comments, but already being a participant in two go-rounds of racially insensitive finger pointing, I'm sitting this one out.

Meanwhile, there's a plethora of articles out there that Paul is going to love by the usual suspects (Shaughnessy, Massarotti), on Sox management basically saying to Big Schill their not going to give him an extension right now because he's too old and too fat.

You gotta love how Shaughnessy calls Schilling the "Big Blowhard", and Massarotti's line that Schilling "looks like he just ate Dustin Pedroia" had me chuckling.

Apparently, Schill is not quite as important as he thought. This will actually be good for Curt. It's time he learned that the world doesn't revolve around him.

By priceless I meant it in a boy it's good to know that A-Rod isn't the only one who doesn't have a filter on his mouth kind of way. Not priceless in a I agree with what he said in way.

Yep, pretty offensive. Ortiz's comments and Schilling's fattitude.

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