Hello, all…this Bird isn’t dead, I’ve just been laboriously assembling million-pitch databases lately, only to see one computer after the other that I put them on promptly explode (no doubt overburdened by the sheer volume of baseball knowledge contained within).
I did manage to squeeze out my first foray into hit f/x at The Hardball Times, though – so you should go read it and let me know if you think there’s anything interesting that could be done on the Jays with just the month of data for the Jays that is available (I’m already trying to figure out Vernon).
But for now, here’s the 0-2 pitch that Ichiro just plunked into center field for his first (MLB) walk-off hit ever:
The yellow box is Ichiro’s specific strike zone as measured by the pitch f/x operators (not a league average like I usually use). Downs’ final pitch was almost exactly six inches outside (it looks like less on TV due to the angle) and six inches below his knees. Now I know you know how not even remotely a strike that is, but for some fun try standing in front of an imaginary plate and swinging at something 6 inches on the other side of it. From my normal stance, I can’t even reach that far with a bat – and I’m not halfway to first base when I start my swing. Absurd! Inhuman! Not fair! Completely impossible to fault Downs on this one – despite it being an 0-2 count, that curve could hardly have been more of a “waste” pitch if it was rolled into the dugout.