June 8, 2012
The Best Pitches Thrown This Week
Welcome to the Three Best Pitches Thrown This Week. There are many more than three pitches featured here. They also extend beyond this week, in one case to a time that predates many of your favorite things: The Wire, and all varieties of Skittles, and every dog currently alive. You might consider this a flaw, but we consider it bonus material, and no refunds will be given. Enjoy the Three Best Pitches Thrown This Week.
I'm not going to quit watching baseball over it, but as far as dumb rules in baseball go, the uncaught third strike has to be up there, right? The point of pitching is to get outs; the most reliable way to get an out is via strikeout; and the best way to get a strikeout is to get the batter to swing at a pitch he can't possibly hit hard. So here we see Francisco Liriano throw perhaps a perfect pitch to Jeff Francoeur, and beat Francoeur so badly that... the rules allow Francoeur to go to first base. Why, that makes no sense at all. Does a running back who jukes a defensive player have to stop if the defensive player loses his balance and falls to the ground? Is a basketball player's three-point shot declared void if the shooter is too far behind the line? If a hockey player does a thing that something about the other guy's thing, does the thing get unhockeyed? No! Of course not! And yet, here we are, watching Jeff Francoeur run to first. Does anybody in baseball pump his arms while running more than Jeff Francoeur?
(Note: According to the Dickson Baseball Dictionary, "the rationale ... comes from the principle that the defense has to make a proper fielding play to record an out." Except for all the exceptions, the many, many exceptions, such as: infield fly is called, foul bunt with two strikes, batted ball strikes a runner, fan interferes with a fly ball, batter runs into his own batted ball while out of the batter's box, batter steps out of batter's box while swinging, batter obstructs catcher's throw on a stolen base attempt, runner leaves the baseline, batter swings at a two-strike pitch that hits him, fielder intentionally drops a line drive or fly ball in the infield, runner collides with fielder attempting to field a ball, or batter has too much pine tar on his bat. Geez, the rule is just so arbitrary! You could put any stupid obstacle in front of any player during any routine play and call it colorful, but why? Why do that? Stupid, stupid rule, which doesn't actually lessen my enjoyment of baseball at all.)
Anyway, to be honest, I'm not even sure that Liriano's pitch to Francoeur was all that good. It's one thing to waste a pitch, and it's one thing to try to get Francoeur to chase, but even Liriano had to be like, "whoops, sorry, didn't mean to throw it so far in front of hahaha you swung." But it's the third-best pitch this week because we're grouping it with the rest of his punch-out sliders that inning: