Thursday, February 16, 2017

That's Nasty

It will throw you off guard. It will make you think you have a chance at hitting it and just like that you take a giant swing and miss. You'll give the pitcher a look of disbelief and he''ll look back at you with the biggest grin one can make.

The origin of the knuckleball is pretty unclear but most have dated it back to Toad Ramsey of the Louisville Colonel of the old American Association. Others have dated the knuckleball back to Eddie Cicotte of the 1908 Chicago White Sox. Eddie was given the proper nickname of "knuckles" for his pitch that seemed to lack spin. 

What makes the knuckleball so hard to hit is that a conventional pitch contains a natural spin of the ball when leaving the pitchers hand. When the ball doesn't have the conventional spin, it will move in an awkward path on the way to the catcher making it nearly impossible for the hitter to determine where the ball will end up. 

For pitchers it is one of the hardest pitches to throw. That being said, it takes years to master the knuckleball and even then it can't really be perfected. Most of the time, a knuckleball pitcher will have only one or two pitches at most. 

One of the best to ever throw the pitch is R.A. Dickey. He strictly became a knuckleball pitcher during the 2006 season while earning a spot on the Rangers rotation as the fifth starter. He was strictly a knuckleball pitcher. He struggled in his first couple games and was sent down to play in the Rangers Triple-A program. In January of 2007, he signed a deal with the Milwaukee minor league program and put together a 12-6 record with a 3.80 ERA.

R.A. Dickey and Steven Wright are the only known current Major League pitchers that are strictly knuckleball pitchers. That's not to say that other pitchers don't know how to throw the knuckleball. Rather than throwing it ever pitch, they may throw it a total of ten percent of their four or five pitches in their stock. Throwing it consistently can severely mess up your arm if you don't throw it correctly every single time.

xpost knuckleball dickey rbaseball

The pitch that can get anybody, Nobody is immune from looking like giant idiot when facing this pitch and that's just the way it is. You really can't say i'm going to work on batting against this pitch because its that inconsistent. The best you can do it stare it down, pray and hope you get even the slightest bit of wood on the ball. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Twice as Nice

Your 2016 World Series champs are the long-cursed Chicago Cubs. The cubs just snapped a 108-year streak of not winning a major championship. The longest such streak on any of the four major sports that have previously won. They did it with the help of some youth, skill, and great management. Some are calling it the greatest thing to ever happen to the city of Chicago.

On their way to snapping their 108-year streak, the Cubs had a regular season record of 103-58 and winning the NL Central division by 17.5 games. They did it with the talent of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Jason Hammel, Jason Heyword, Ben Zobrist and more. The team had a .343 BA and a league leading 3.15 ERA.

 It’s a new year and much has changed. The cubs are still expected to be the front runners and repeat. While the Cubs have made some off-season trades and changes, their main core is still the same. The pitching staff has changed a little but nothing that they shouldn’t be able to overcome.

Can you imagine if the Cubs repeated after nothing for so long? I think most would speculated the world would be coming to an end. People wouldn't know how to handle themselves. You could almost forget about Steve Bartman (lets be honest, nobody will forget about Steve) and what that infamous night.  

The Cubs will repeat due to one position. The manager Joe Maddon will have that team more focused than ever. They just snapped “the curse” and everybody knows they don’t want to go another losing streak. Joe has been in the game for a long time and knows what it takes to keep his guys positive. He’s surrounded himself with a great staff and players that want to be coached.

Baseball has a rich history in Chicago and the people won’t accept anything less at this point. The Cubs will repeat for one simple reason, the city of Chicago won't let another one slip away. They haven’t seen the likes of greatness since Michael Jordan left for retirement. Although the 90s weren’t all that long ago, 20 years can seem like forever in the sports world. 

It doesn't matter if you're a Cubs fan or not, if they were to repeat, you would have to celebrate. When people think of baseball, the Cubs are one of the first teams they think of. But I guess that's what happens when you eat, sleep and breath Wrigley Field. It doesn't matter if you like them or absolutely despise them, you know it will help the game of baseball if they repeat.