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Tuesday, May 17, 2021

pitch in time
What’s the difference between a slider and a curveball? How can you tell if a fastball is of the four-seam, two-seam, or split-finger variety? Learn the intricacies of the big-league pitches, and of those who flung them best.

Just wondering: Does the publication of such a tutorial indicate that the Tampa Bay area is somehow baseball-ignorant? I ask because whenever a comparable hockey piece runs in the area papers, the pucks cognoscenti start crying about how undeserving the region (and the Southeast in general) is to have NHL hockey.

Anyway, I found the variant nicknames for the pitches to be most enlightening:

Four-seam fastball: Gas, Cheese, Heat

Two-seam fastball: Sinker, Backdoor fastball

Curveball: The Hook, The Deuce, Lord Charles, Uncle Charlie

Slider: Biter

Changeup: Change, Offspeed, Dead Fish

Split-finger fastball: Splitter

Knuckleball: Knuckler, Floater

I’d like to know why “Charley” is associated with the curveball. Seems like a Vietnam thing, but that would be silly.

The obsolete pitches are also of interest, particularly the bone-breaking screwball:

The screwball behaves just the opposite of a curveball. For example, if a right-handed pitcher throws a screwball to a left-handed batter, the ball spins away from the batter. The Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela might have thrown the best screwball ever.

So why don’t pitchers still use it?

“Here’s why,” Rays coach Chuck Hernandez said, pointing to the long scar from surgery that runs across his elbow.

Because the pitcher has to twist his arm with an inside-out motion, it’s only a matter of time before the elbow, bending in a way not intended by nature, breaks.

Watch for the next Major League pitching sensation to be a rubber-boned freak of nature who can contort his pitching limb to deliver the ultimate screwball.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 05/17/2005 10:17:24 PM
Category: Baseball | Permalink |

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