The Mockingbird

The Magic Bullet

with 3 comments

Unfortunately, this coming season, all of major league baseball is in trouble. In a flash, the old way of pitching will be no more. Two seamers will be as dead as the dodo. You’ve heard the hype, prepare for the reality of the GYROBALL. Why is it so effective? Because it’s every pitch you’ve ever seen, rolled into one. Hang on, kids…

  1. It’s a SUPER-CURVEBALL
  2. Super-curveball poster

    napkin_drawing.jpg

    This was the first property of the Gyroball that came to mass media attention. It puts a curveball to shame. The wrist is snapped at release, and the result? We’re talking feet, not inches of break. WOOOOOOSH!

    According to Jim Carroll, North American expert on the Gyroball:

    “It’s just a really good breaking ball, and it really, really moves.”

    “I’ve seen Joey (Niezer)’s break 3 feet. It takes a left turn and heads to the dugout.”

  3. It’s a SLIDER AND a FASTBALL!!!
  4. “It doesn’t move,” Tezuka said. “It doesn’t move at all.”

    Tezuka, the Japanese inventor and teacher of the Gyroball, divulged yet another property of this soon-to-be-legendary pitch to Jeff Passan:

    “Tezuka conceded that if the gyroball is anything, it’s closest to a slider – and that, he said, is what makes it so special.

    If thrown correctly, Tezuka said, the two-seam gyroball should look to a batter like a slider and act like a fastball. That is why, as described in the title of the book he and Himeno wrote, it is a “miracle pitch.””

    Just imagine- all the benefits of a slider, but without the uncontrollability because it doesn’t slide! What a miracle!

  5. It’s a SUPER-FASTBALL!!!
  6. In this article Tezuka reveals its super-fastball properties, due to decreased air friction from the “bullet action” of the spinning ball.

    “Batters, he believes, are lulled into thinking a typical fastball is approaching, only to find it already streaking through the zone as they start their cut”

    Have you ever seen a pitch make these colours??

    Have you EVER seen a pitch make these colours?!?

  7. It’s a CHANGEUP
  8. This just in!!! “Like a change-up, a two-seam gyroball is designed to fool hitters with its slower pace.”

  9. It’s a FORKBALL
  10. The white is the Gyro, the Green is the fork. Not quite as much break, but it seems to travel further over the plate.

    Three pitches

  11. It’s a REALLY GOOD SLIDER
  12. The famous video- just look at that drop…and spinning down and in like a tight slider. Pity about the camera angle.

  13. It’s a KNUCKLEBALL
  14. Not to be outdone, the physicists chime in:

    (Alan) “Nathan contends that the perfect gyroball should look not like a slider but like the knuckleball, another spin-free pitch”.

  15. It’s a SCREWBALL
  16. Buck Martinez is quoted as saying here: “I believe it is a screwball,” and Terry Francona, manager of the most famous thrower of the Gyroball believes the same thing. It certainly looks like one in the second classic internet video:

    This would make sense according to the reports that the arm rotates out the opposite way from a normal pitch (but not the reports that it can only be thrown sidearm)

    screwball.jpg

  17. It’s a CUT FASTBALL
  18. Last one, I promise. But this is what the pros actually think it is. Al Leiter: “They can call it want they want. It’s a cut fastball.”

    CONCLUSION

    The Gyroball is every pitch known to man. What is still do be discovered is if it will be a different pitch every time Matsukawa throws it, or if it will actually change from one to the other on the way to the plate. The only chance for our national pastime to avoid becoming one tearfully boring no-hit bid after the other is to lower the mound, switch to aluminium bats, and stop this crazy anti-juice campaign to give our hitters a fighting chance!

Written by halejon

February 27, 2007 at 6:16 am

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3 Responses

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  1. The Red-Sox can have their gyroball.
    The Jays just signed Sidd Finch. 168mph fastball, built like a pretzel.

    hroman

    February 27, 2007 at 2:41 pm

  2. Man, I love that “gyroball” video, its had about 8 billion hits on youtube in various forms, but as soon as it gets to the “gyro” part of the pitch, the damn thing is out of the screen. I love it, its like all those UFO videos you see on A&E when they run out of real programming. They’re usually proceeded by some “psudo-scientist” descrating a couple ancient Egyptian tombs.

    The one thing that I always wondered, why hasn’t anyone mentioned anything about his “Shuuto” – the other miracle pitch from Japan. Don’t you guys remember?!? Its the miracle pitch that won Hiedo Nomo the ROY, then 6 months later after reviewing some video, ALL OF MLB figured out how to hit it.

    I was at his last MLB game in 2005, and it wasn’t pretty:

    http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/2005/B07150TOR2005.htm

    Though, to his credit he did milk a reasonably successful career out of a “new pitch”. So, even if this “gyroball” is something newish, I suspect its a variation of something baseball has already seen. Remember, there was once a day when pitchers put everything and the kitchen sink on the ball.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spitball#History

    Though, to my suprise there has been almost no press of the Shuuto vs Gyroball debate (apparently its just me and a couple random bloggers – see ‘Wakefield 49’ at http://www.redsoxnation.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=22530&st=20 ).

    “Matsuzaka doesn’t actually throw this pitch, he throws a “shuuto”, a Japanese pitch more like a screwball in motion, as seen here. A real gyroball will break away from a right handed hitter.”

    (oh and check another pretty graphic he posted on how to throw the gyroball)

    So what is it?!? Just to throw some more gas on the fire.

    Dan

    February 27, 2007 at 3:15 pm

  3. Well, Matsuzaka actually throws the Shuuto (instead of just making coy remarks about it when cornered)- but it doesn’t have any mystical properties, it’s just like a faster screwball, which is the same action as a two seamer. That second video could certainly be a Shuuto.

    Apparently Matsuzaka throws 6+ pitches- it will be interesting how many of them he concentrates on, or are even useable at a major league level. I would guess a maximum of 3, with a 4th thrown in once a game. They won’t want him to turn into another Miguel Batista headcase as he’s learning the league.

    I think it’s pretty much accepted now that Matsuzaka doesn’t throw a gyroball, let alone know what one is. But if you were coming to a new league that thought you had some magic new pitch, would you confess that you had no clue what they were talking about? As a final nail in the coffin- If there was ANY validity to it whatsoever, don’t you think that Boras would have mentioned it just to drum up interest during the bidding?

    The only interesting story left is how it spiraled out of control. Carroll has clearly gotten in over his head and looks like an idiot. First he mistook it for a Shuuto and had to retract that. Then he’s going on about a 3 foot break when the inventor of the pitch says it doesn’t break at all. And even the Japanese guys offer wildly different and increasingly shifty answers for the point of this “new spin”. I honestly think they were just tinkering around with some new arm mechanics and were carried away because people really wanted to believe (a la Korean stem cell research…)

    halejon

    February 27, 2007 at 5:50 pm


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