Hello there friends and normals and industry professionals, and welcome to the first part of the seventh edition of The Worst Of The Best. The first part of the sixth edition, from last Friday, is linked here for your convenience. Now, that was some week of baseball we just watched, starting last Friday. There were so many comebacks and close competitions, and also some scores that were surprisingly lopsided. Did you see the big game? I couldn’t believe the hits that there were. I was really impressed by the level of play, and the outcome was well earned. Maybe they will be able to build off of it going forward in the rest of the season. But one thing’s for sure: the season is long, with many twists and turns. You never know what could happen next!
This is where we talk about pitches that wound up really far from the center of the strike zone. The window we’re covering this time is May 17 – May 23. It’s a top-five list, based on PITCHf/x information, and there are going to be a lot of .gifs and screenshots. I feel like every week I end up with more image files than the week before. This series idea seemed so simple at first. Now it consumes my entire Friday. You guys get everything I have. Some pitches just narrowly missing: Rafael Soriano to Gregor Blanco on May 21, and Jeremy Hellickson to Melky Cabrera on May 22. Also, I’ve excluded a Ronald Belisario pitch to Jonathan Lucroy from May 21. Though it was the week’s third-wildest pitch, it appeared to be a fastball intentionally thrown behind Lucroy’s back, after Andre Ethier was buzzed a couple times. I can’t call a pitch wild when it’s intended to send a message. But, maybe it was an accident. A very convenient and coincidental accident. In that case, this would be my mistake. Thankfully no one holds me accountable for anything. I doubt my superiors even read this. If they do, they are charming fellows. If they don’t, they smell. Time to pull you guys back in with the start of the list. This got out of hand.
- Pitcher: Jorge De La Rosa
- Batter: Cody Ross
- Date: May 22
- Location: 54.1 inches from center of zone
I’d like to bring something to your attention. Let’s look at the 12 wildest pitches of the last week. Now let’s exclude the pitch from Belisario, because of the stated reason. That leaves us with 11 wild pitches, and of them, six were thrown to current or recent Giants — Ross, Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan, and Brandon Crawford. That’s an awfully big number to be a coincidence. The Giants have also won a couple recent World Series. Is there just something about the Giants that causes opposing pitchers to throw wildly and therefore less effectively? No, it’s a coincidence. There’s literally no other reasonable explanation. If you thought about a different answer, even for an instant, you are a buffoon.
De La Rosa: You know what, Yorvit?
De La Rosa: You’re my friend in the diamond business.
De La Rosa: Because you play in the infield diamond.
De La Rosa: Nice catch. My bad.
Torrealba: Thank you for saying that.
Torrealba: People are always forgetting about catchers as infielders.
Torrealba: It’s always about those guys.
Torrealba: /gestures to infielders
Torrealba: We do a lot of work back here! Important work!
Torrealba: And we’re certainly not in the outfield!
De La Rosa: I hear you. Same with pitchers. We’re the forgotten defenders.
Torrealba: You know, you’re my friend in the diamond business.
De La Rosa: Aww, you. Come here, you.
Ross: Just go have a mound conference
Ross: This shouting is weird
When you’re a kid, and you make a face, your parents say that you should be careful, because your face might freeze like that forever. That isn’t what happened to Cody Ross. Ross hasn’t been wearing this expression since childhood because it froze. Every second of every day, Ross instead focuses on maintaining this expression, consciously. He only lets up when he’s asleep, and during his waking hours no one sees him without a smirk. Around the expression, Ross has also developed a fitting and appropriate character. Cody Ross is our generation’s most dedicated artist, the most dedicated performer, and nobody knows, because nobody’s seen him be himself. He might not even have a himself, anymore.
Jones: Oh, so that isn’t the two-strike pitch for you?
Jones: Well how about this one!
Jones: Yeah? You think you’re pretty great?
Jones: Well good luck right here!
Jones: I mean
Jones: What am I supposed to do
Jones: How do you not swing at that?
Jones: That slider was perfect!
Jones: Who takes that pitch!
Jones: Are you even human?!
Jones: Well that was easy.
Here is this week’s edition of Find The Baseball. If you find the baseball, you are entitled to a roll of two dice, and then you are permitted that many free search-engine queries. But the search engine has to be yahoo.cz, you must supply your own (six-sided) dice, and there is no one to confirm that you found the baseball. You could try to write your congressman. Do not proceed until you get a response.
Technically, by my measurement, this pitch was less wild than Belisario’s. So then this should be in the No. 4 slot instead of the No. 3 slot. But I decided to exclude the Belisario fastball because I determined it was probably intentional, and therefore misclassified as a wild pitch. It’s basically the same reason I exclude intentional balls and pitch-outs. So this pitch moves up. But then, does this pitch belong? Was this pitch intentional, too? I know it doesn’t look like it, but according to the hypothesis, the intent wasn’t to send a message to the batter. It was to send a message to a couple other guys, somewhere else.
Look above the Blue Jays logo on the right side of the still. Guy in a teal(?) shirt is on the phone and looking to his side. Guy next to him is looking at the ground. These guys couldn’t possibly have better seats for a baseball game. They’re literally in the first row, literally right behind home plate. This is an incredible privilege, and these seats are worth a fortune, and the guys aren’t paying attention to the action on the field. They’re there, but they’re not present.
Which Aaron Loup finds disrespectful. And Loup is a principled man, a proud man, so maybe he was trying to get a message across. “Why throw the pitch like this?” you might ask. “Why not on the fly?” Had Loup thrown this on the fly in the guys’ direction, it might’ve aroused suspicion that he was trying something else. It might’ve been interpreted as a threat against the batter, and Loup didn’t want to get a warning, or certainly an ejection. It’s not like he had Jennings on his mind. Jennings might as well have not been there.
And wouldn’t you know it, but Loup got the guys’ attention. “Hey, there’s a baseball game out here,” he conveyed. “You should watch it. You might never be this close again as long as you live. People don’t appreciate the present, enough. It’s always what’s next, what’s next, what’s next. It’s always something else. Either be here, in these moments, or re-seat yourselves, giving up your seats to people who might love them more than anything.” It was a talkative pitch.
YOUR FASTEST WIRELESS INTERNET DOESN’T DO ME ANY GOOD IN OREGON, PLEASE CONSIDER THIS WHEN PLANNING FUTURE ADVERTISEMENTS
How far away can a loose baseball go and still have the catcher retrieve it? Almost this far.
- Pitcher: Gio Gonzalez
- Batter: Hunter Pence
- Date: May 22
- Location: 59.0 inches from center of zone
We’ve seen Gonzalez on this list in the past, throwing his curveball. In the past, when Gonzalez has missed badly, he’s visibly expressed frustration with himself. It’s been easy to read into his body language and conclude that he was disappointed. Some people have dropped by to note that Gonzalez is somewhat famously emotional on the mound, which can work to his advantage or detriment, depending. When Gonzalez gets a good result, he might celebrate. When Gonzalez screws up, he might yell at himself or punch his glove or something. This is the second-wildest pitch of the last week. Gonzalez doesn’t do anything. There’s no hint of frustration, which means there’s no hint of a missed target. Suggesting Gonzalez might have meant to throw a curveball this wild. “Who would intentionally throw a two-strike curveball like this to Hunter Pence?” Oh, right, everyone.
That’s not the screenshot that does it. This is the screenshot that does it.
Everything leading up to the pitch was normal. The catcher was in his normal spot, the batter was in his normal spot, and the pitcher was in his normal spot. The catcher called for a pitch and the pitcher threw it. A few seconds later, this was the scene. Imagine only having this screenshot, and not the other screenshot or the .gif. Imagine having to use this to reconstruct the prior sequence of events. What in the hell would you think happened here?
A first pitch, too. A first pitch, to a pitcher. There was nobody on base, so there was no reason for the catcher to try to block the ball, but what we see instead is the catcher even moves his body a little out of the way. He swipes at the ball with his glove while moving his upper body out of the line of fire. Either that’s a sign of how bad this pitch was, or that’s a sign of the catcher being a real coward, which would be a bad characteristic for a catcher.
This one nearly bounced on the grass. Now, if you look at the .gif above, you’ll see Jackson immediately look at the mound. It seems like he didn’t have very good footing, contributing to the wildness of the pitch. If you look at the .gif below, you’ll see Jackson patching things up, so that this wouldn’t happen again.
Jackson: Man, that was a bad pitch.
Jackson: I should fix the mound.
Jackson: /fixes mound
Jackson: Now I shouldn’t throw any more bad pitches.
Jackson: Especially to the other team’s pitcher!
Jackson: /throws next pitch
Jackson: Much better
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