Friday, November 2, 2007

You Learn Something New Every Day, Week 3

Hey--it took me a while to figure out what to do for today's YLSND, so if you guys have something you'd like to see here, feel free to email me or post it in the comments.

For this week's YLSNED, I thought originally I might try explaining free agency and everything that goes along with it, but a) it's kind of boring, and b) it's...uhh...kind of boring.

So, instead, I thought I'd go and explain some of the lesser-used pitches: the knuckleball and the gyroball.

A knuckleball is probably the one with which you are the most familiar. The knuckleball is thrown to minimize spin on the ball; if done correctly the ball will change directions mid-flight, but the pitch is incredibly hard to throw.

Originally, the pitch was gripped with the knuckles, hence the name, though nowadays it's common for pitchers to use their fingertips and using the thumb for balance.

Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox is one of the better known knuckleball pitchers today.

You can read more about the knuckleball here

The Gyroball has got nothing to do with the Greek food, though I'd be lying if I said it wasn't making me incredibly hungry right now...

The gyroball is a Japanese-developed pitch, designed to reduce the stress on a pitcher. A gyroball is thrown so that the arm does not move towards the body, but instead away from the body. The legs are key to the delivery; if done correctly, it flies like a fastball, but because of the delivery the batter is fooled by the spin, thinking that the pitch is faster or slower than it is.

You can read more about the gyroball here

The Yankees have until tonight to pick up Bobby Abreu's option; rumor is that they will do it.

[edit] Per ESPN News, the Yankees have picked up Abreu's 2008 option


  1. I am surprised you do not have the Bronx Banter of Alex Bleth and Cliff Concoron on your list of great Yankee Blogs.

    On YLSED, it might be interesting to do a bio on up and coming Yankees in the minors. Perhaps by position.

    Some of us would be very interested in knowing if there is a shortstop, 3rd baseman, 1st baseman, etc. on the way up, or whether its likely we will have to use free agents or trades.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. eksmd--I have not seen that blog, but I'll take a look =)

    Thanks for the idea on the minors...might be more suited for the profiles in pinstripes, but it's certainly something that would be interesting and doable


  3. Hey,

    I liked your concept for the blog.YLSED. Good going!

  4. The Gyroball was a big fraud...nobody really throws it and if they did, it wouldn't do much. It was started by Will Carroll confusing it with the shuuto (which is a real pitch like a two-seamer/screwball frequently thrown in Japan) and then kept alive by some grainy footage of Daisuke's Changeup.

  5. Jonathan: Maybe so, but it's apparently worth a few million or Boston's front office isn't quite as good as everyone seems to think it is ;)

  6. Haha- yeah, I wonder about that. With the ridiculous amount of scouting and cash that went into bringing him over, Boston had to know that he didn't really throw the thing, or at the very least that it wasn't a significant part of his repertoire. It just doesn't make sense that they would spend any more for him based on an urban legend that was pretty easily dismissed once people saw him pitch on a regular basis.

    But they never really came out and said "we're getting him because he's a good pitcher and this Gyroball nonsense has nothing to do with it". I suspect it was nothing but a running joke during negotiations but he was told to smile and be coy when asked about it because it doesn't hurt to have a bit of mystique when you're navigating the jump to a new league.

  7. Of course, we did sign Kei Igawa...

  8. I used to throw a forkball, but instead of breaking to one side or another a la Danny Frisella, I squeezed equally hard with each knuckle, and it [a good one, anyhow] acted just like a knuckleball. This was just fooling around after practice; I never had the speed to make such a pitch fool anyone.

    I've heard the gyroball described as a screwball thrown by a right-handed batter, breaking in to a righthanded batter. Very hard on the elbow. Carl Hubbell threw a screwball for the Giants to the degree that his arm naturally hung with the palm facing away from the abdomen. Ow!!!