Dice-K Toys With Opponents
The Japanese sensation played with his American League East competition like a cruel cat licking its lips over a wounded mouse on Sunday, lulling his division rivals into a false sense of security with fat pitches and hanging breaking balls.
“This being a team in our same division that we’re going to face many, many times, I thought I’d take the opportunity to experiment a little bit and see where they’re going to hit the ball.”
The answer of course was just as the diabolical genius planned, as career minor-leaguer Jon Knott deposited a pitch in the middle of the zone 400 feet over the fence. “He had me fooled,” said Knott. “I had heard all about the gyro and his 6 crazy pitches, and no way was I thinking fastball down the middle above the belt. Of course even relief pitchers at this level can adjust and drill that pitch out of the park, but I think he knew that and was just working on his deception.” When asked about the pitch after the game, Dice-K just smiled.
“Not every pitch was a high fastball or a high slider, but judging from what I experienced, throwing high fastballs and high sliders can tend to be a little bit dangerous.”
“You can see he’s a very intelligent guy, ” said Jason Varitek. “We were talking about some of the scouting reports forthe Baltimore bench, where they say “only hits mistakes hard”. And he was very interested in this “mistake” pitch, because they don’t teach that in Japan. I distinctly recall him saying he wanted to try out this new pitch in a game setting, and that’s what we did. I think he’ll have it ready by the end of spring training.”