May 8, 2008

Eephus's Revenge

David Ortiz struck out on an eephus pitch in the 4th inning of last night's game against Detroit. As I have previously stated, I love the eephus, and I cannot recall ever actually seeing this rare (non) pitch used. It looks like Armando Galarraga lobbed one in there though -- a 57 mph "curve ball" whose curvature was supplied by gravity. Ortiz had one of the classic reactions to it: paralysis. Even though I never like seeing Papi strike out, I have to say the expression on his face was absolutely priceless. It was the perfect blend of shock and regret. The sort of expression someone would get upon disembarking an intercontinental flight and realizing they left the stove on. He stood there stock still for about 5 seconds, gazing off into the distance, his face a mask of despair -- personifying the tragedy of missed opportunity. He seemed to be thinking about the alternate reality where he hit a 700-ft home run, and by extension, all that ever could have been. That is what the eephus does to you.
Update: There is video of it here.

In other hilarious baseball news, yet more evidence that A-Rod fails in the clutch: he fainted during the birth of his daughter in 2004. Mere weeks after helping the Yankees choke away the pennant, he choked away the delivery of his first-born, further compounding the impression that he cannot perform in pressure situations.


Soxlosophy said...

Nice post! I think you captured Papi perfectly.

Also, with your A-rod quip, you've disabused me of the prejudice that scientists don't believe in clutch play. I stand more informed. Thanks.

(Ryan) said...

Thanks. I think the stat heads are themselves somewhat divided on the existence of situational hitting. The last article I remember reading about it found a discernible effect, but that it is less common than is commonly thought. Regardless of where that particular debate is at, no one can deny that A-Rod falls apart in October.