Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Bitch on the Pitch

It's October and I've been watching a lot of baseball lately.

This is only notable because I don't watch baseball any other time of the year. I find it slow and tedious and nap worthy. But after 1162 regular season games the post season games are here. And now it all means something.

October is also when I rediscover my love of the game. Baseball is rarely physical or brutal like football. Nor is it fast and athletic like basketball. So much success at baseball relies on strategy. Careful attention to details. And pinpoint execution. (Advertising managers should be forced to take a seat behind home plate.)

In many ways it's a thinking man's (or woman's) game.

Watching the pitch count. Putting up the right or left handed batter. Stealing a base at the right moment. Shifting the defense. Managing the pen. Having an endgame. It's all so beautifully choreographed. It's like a chess. It requires patience, 3D level thinking and the willingness to change on the fly.

Perhaps the most fascinating part of watching baseball is witnessing the cat and mouse game between the pitcher and the hitter. The guys in the broadcast booth do a damn fine job of mapping out the scenarios. And if I'm partial to one, that would have to be Ron Darling, who brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the job.

But for Christ's sake can someone, somewhere, somehow, tell me the difference between a 4-seam fastball and a two seamer? Or the difference between a curve ball and breaking ball? A slider? A hanging slider? A cutter? A split finger fastball?

Knuckleball, I got, because years ago I saw a little piece narrated by Phil Niekro, the King of the Knuckleball, explain its unusual corkscrew motion.

I wish the brass at Fox or TBS or ESPN would take note and provide some onscreen guidance here. Because this situation raises its ugly head every year at this time. And I can't imagine I'm the only one in America who is Googling 'Change Up' pitch while watching Aaron Judge go down swinging for the 800th time.

Maybe I'm wrong.

Maybe there is no difference at all between all the aforementioned pitches. Maybe it's all jargon (ad people know all about that.) Maybe it's just fancy names meant to confuse and bewilder the viewer. After all when a ball is hurtling at you at the speed of a meteor, the nomenclature is irrelevant. Maybe the powers that be just want to keep us uninformed, confused and clueless.

After all, that's how we got Precedent Shitgibbon.