As the largely irresponsible leaderboard published by the author today at FanGraphs indicates, Washington right-hander Taylor Jordan has been the best pitcher of spring training by an obscure, if methodologically sound, metric devised by that same author that was just mentioned.
Jordan’s success this spring, according to his own mouth, is very possibly the product of an improved slider. What would make sense for an intrepid baseball weblogger, probably, then — in light of that information, I mean — would be to investigate Jordan’s slider in some depth. Such an endeavor might include a comparison between current footage of the pitch and other, older footage of it — from last year, for example. One particularly dedicated to his craft might actually transport his whole, dumb body to Florida, or wherever Taylor Jordan happens to be at the moment, with a view towards inspecting the relevant pitch with greater intimacy.
The difficulty with the approach as outlined above is the amount of effort required to execute it — a sort of effort condemned by no less a personage and ready spiritual counselor than Ralph Waldo Emerson in his work Self-Reliance, as the following brief passage from that text indicates:
A little consideration of what takes place around us every day would show us… that our painful labors are unnecessary, and fruitless; that only in our easy, simple, spontaneous action are we strong, and by contenting ourselves with obedience [to ourselves] we become divine.
Nor is Emerson isolated in his censure of “painful labors.” Contemporary weirdo Kanye West echoes the Transcendentalist’s sentiments in 2007′s Can’t Tell Me Nothing, declaring towards the end of that same song:
[W]hen you try hard / That’s when you die hard.
As with Emerson’s, the truth of West’s pronouncement is manifest. With regard to it, one is naturally compelled to ask himself, “Do I have any interest in dying hard?” Barring such cases as where one is influenced unduly by a sense of thanatos (what Freud would have called a “death drive”), one is likely to answer “No. No I don’t care to die hard.” It follows, naturally, that trying hard is to be avoided.
These are the terms, then, in which I have considered how best to treat an investigation of Jordan’s slider — that is, by that process which would feel effortless. The result: about five paragraphs of unnecessarily ponderous prose and then also the creation of the three animated GIFs below — all of sliders from Jordan to the Mets’ Wilmer Flores on February 28th (more recent footage being unavailable).
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