Daniel Bard’s Filthy Whiffmaker

The pitch you see here was (a) thrown by Daniel Bard to Nick Swisher last year and (b) appears to possess changeup-type (or at least two-seam fastball-type) movement while also traveling at 99 mph.

Sean Murphy, who’s preserved the above-embedded GIF at his site, refers to the sequence as “baseball porn” — and for good reason, too: there’s something equal parts filthy, captivating, and primeval about what Bard’s able to do with/to/all up on a baseball.

Yesternight, Oakland starters Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy got to tweeting about this pitch — a conversation to which Man About the Internet @BigMike05 alerted me. Mr. Big Mike was also curious about how we might accurately characterize this pitch which, it must be said, defies superlatives.

As I say, filth is the definitive quality of the offering. Watching this pitch is like watching Christina Aguilera give a lap dance to a side of beef — i.e. both disgusting and impossible to look away from.

The question is, what ought we to call such a pitch?

Some ideas, from the dirtiest part of Dirtville:

The Slavic Tongue Kiss — Tongue-kissing can be romantic, but not the way they do it in Eastern Europe.
The Pantless Velociraptor — A velociraptor with pants is bad enough.
The Well-Oiled Ambassador — Oiled with what, exactly?
Hepatitis K — The filthiest possible virus.
The Moist Handshake — Ick. Not so nice to meet you, actually.




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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.


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Chris Cwik
Member
Member
5 years 1 month ago

Hepatitis K! That’s fantastic!

Matthew Kory
Member
5 years 1 month ago

The Back of the Van – Where indecency occurs! Can be used in a sentence as such: “Bard in the stretch… He throws… Swisher swings and is-put-in-the-back-of-the-van-where-indecency-occurs!!” Catchy, no?

The Lubed Flea – And you thought hitting a regular flea with a bat was difficult.

The Danny Bonaduce – Because he really should have a pitch named after him.

Bryz
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

I absolutely love Hepatitis K.

Sean Murphy
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

Glad you saw the GIF and enjoy it as much as I do.

I find it pretty hard to argue with “The well-oiled Ambassador”.

On the other hand, in homage to the new facial hair Bard is sporting, the “oiliness” of the pitch and the whole sports porn theme, I also would like to submit “The Bearded Clam”.

Cheers,
Murph

Dave
Guest
Dave
5 years 1 month ago

Hepatitis K is fantastic. Not to suffer from, obviously, just look at Swisher’s body language, but as a name for that devastating lefty slider Bard threw at 99mph from the right side it takes the cake.

Eric Gagne’s 85mph changeup with filthy movement used to amaze me. This pitch absolutely blows my mind.

williams .482
Member
Member
williams .482
5 years 1 month ago

Unfortunately, I do not think he has been able to throw that pitch since. Its a real pity.

Steve
Guest
Steve
5 years 1 month ago

Yup. If only he could reproduce it.

Matt Defalco
Member
Matt Defalco
5 years 1 month ago

That pitch is definitely a one time only… He probably had a funky grip on the ball and everything just went perfectly.

Nevertheless, if that pitch was thrown to me, I would miss it 100/100 times.

Yirmiyahu
Member
Yirmiyahu
5 years 1 month ago

Oh, but wait. Not quite as much horizontal movement (12 inches instead of 14), but last night he threw another Hepatitis K to Torii Hunter:

http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/pfx.php?s_type=3&sp_type=1&batterX=74&month=04&day=21&game=gid_2011_04_21_bosmlb_anamlb_1%2F&year=2011&pitchSel=453268&prevGame=gid_2011_04_21_bosmlb_anamlb_1%2F

dutchbrowncoat
Guest
dutchbrowncoat
5 years 1 month ago

and to make bard even more awesome, he is apparently a fangraphs reader, or at least occasional visitor.

CSJ
Member
5 years 1 month ago

Hepatitis K is the obvious choice.

FYI, this pitch happened on August 9, 2010, if anyone feels like looking it up on MLB.TV.

filihok
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

Didn’t look it up on MLB.TV, but looked it up on brooks.

It had a little bit of horizontal movement.

http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/horzspeed.php?pitchSel=453268&game=gid_2010_08_09_bosmlb_nyamlb_1/&batterX=59&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=3

bluejaysstatsgeek
Guest
bluejaysstatsgeek
5 years 1 month ago
Kroot
Guest
Kroot
5 years 1 month ago

I’m a big fan of your Feat Days series and I was wondering if we could expect anymore or if it’s strictly an offseason piece?

AustinRHL
Member
AustinRHL
5 years 1 month ago

What a mind-bending pitch. Surprisingly, even Pitch f/x agrees that it was at 99 mph – I would have guessed that it was a 96 or 97 mph pitch inflated erroneously by the broadcast.

Swisher said after the game, “That last pitch he threw me, at 99 mph, is not supposed to move like that.” Unfortunately, Bard himself apparently didn’t say anything about the pitch after the game. Even the TV announcers seemed to miss just how ridiculous it was.

Judy
Member
Judy
5 years 1 month ago

If that’s the NESN broadcast, they’ve been using pitch f/x for several years now, so they always match, just rounded.

Jacob Smith
Member
Jacob Smith
5 years 1 month ago

I’m a fan of The Pantless Velociraptor. That pitch is just nasty.

Adrastus Perkins
Guest
Adrastus Perkins
5 years 1 month ago

My vote is for Hepatitis K.

I equally love The Moist Handshake but I feel it should be saved for a pitch that makes hitters’ knees buckle.

Tim Collins’ absolutely ridiculous curveball, maybe? Link!

Matt
Guest
Matt
5 years 1 month ago

I would call it “The Eternal Virgin”.

Nobody will ever be able to hit that.

Ari Collins
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

Hepatitis K is the best, but The Eternal Virgin and The Lubed Flea are excellent too.

Are there any confirmed sightings other than that Swisher AB and the Hunter 9th inning AB from Thursday (4/21)?

I’ll be watching Bard very very closely from now on.

Kris
Guest
5 years 1 month ago

The Inmate’s Soap: They think they’ve got a handle on it, but then it drops and they’re fucked.

TheGrandslamwich
Guest
TheGrandslamwich
5 years 1 month ago

I can only hope, that one day, announcers refer to that pitch as hepatitis K.

apitchermyself
Guest
apitchermyself
4 years 4 months ago

This appears to be a 2 seam fastball judging by the movement and its at 99 mph. to get that much movement is pretty ridiculous and requires perfection from grip to armslot to release point. hepatitis K is my favorite name for this though and I would like to see if he ends up throwing it a little more often.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 3 months ago

Maybe the ball was scuffed. Pitchers says that sometimes a ball will get scuffed and returned to them, and that they can get pretty insane movement on a scuffed ball.

Side note: it is not illegal to use a scuffed ball, you just can’t scuff it intentionally, I think.

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