I can do anything better than…
We are speaking of Eri Yoshida, of course. She is the Japanese 18 year old being splashed in the news. The question is, can she really make it in the big leagues.
The answer is…it is a distinct possibility. the reason is…the knuckleball.
There are a variety of pitches in the major leagues, but they boil down to five.
The fast ball is a muscle pitch. It is an arm swinging over 90 MPH and God help the player who gets in the way. It is mean and nasty and if you want to see great play on the fast ball, see Major League with Charlie Sheen.
The curve is a finesse pitch. It requires a big handed grip that can spin the stitches so effectively that the ball curves in flight. This requires wrists like Paul Bunyan.
The slider is a curve that breaks the wrong way, and the slow ball is a change of pace that fools the timing of the batter. Ms Yoshida can doubtless throw a slow ball, but if that is all she can throw…she becomes predictable and totally hittable.
That brings us to the fifth pitch…the knuckleball. You grab the ball with the fingers bent, thus holding it with the knuckles, and you throw, and you wonder where the heck the pitch is going to end up. Grabbing the ball with the knuckles, you see, stops the spin. When the spin is stopped the ball becomes unpredictable, curving in whim with the odd rotations of the stitches. This makes it incredibly difficult to hit.
Now, the question here isn’t whether the admirable Ms Yoshida can throw a knuckle ball, the question is whether she can control it. Reports are that she can, and that opens up a whole new day.
The American Major Leagues needs a ‘change up,’ so my compliments to Ms Eri Yoshida, and I hope she can pull it off.