Guest Column: Discovering Daisuke Matsuzaka

As we've painfully come to realize, the Cubs are in desperate need of not only good pitching but reliable pitching. The big free agent names are Jason Schmidt and Barry Zito from stateside and the enigmatic Daisuke Matsuzaka from Japan. Pulling up a stats page on Schmidt and Zito will pretty much tell us all we need to know about those two, but what about Matsuzaka? TCR Commenter "Wes", took a closer look at Matsuzaka and his highly touted gyroball, which it turns out he doesn't really throw. ---- I'm sure many of you are familiar with Daisuke Matsuzaka. He's the kid who just turned 26 that just might be the hottest pitcher on the market this winter. Some folks think that Seibu might post him to the highest MLB bidder. I've heard a couple of rumors about the Cubs getting in the bidding war, since after all, a high end starter might be nice. I did a little research on Daisuke and the highly coveted gyroball he is claimed to throw. First a little history on the elusive baseball wonder called the gyro. There's clips all over the Internet claiming that you're looking at baseball history. The gyro has turned into a bit of baseball folk lore over the past year or two. A lot of folks thought Daisuke might bust out the gyro in front of a national baseball audience at the World Baseball Classic, but it didn't happen. Many of you who are regular Will Carroll readers are familiar with his research on the gyro. Carroll even went so far to teach an Indiana kid how to throw it (scroll to the bottom). Enter Joey Niezer. Joey is the aforementioned Hoosier who learned the gyro from Carroll and is now playing Division III baseball at Wabash College in West Central Indiana. If you haven't already seen it, here's a video of rather poor quality (taken by Carroll, I think) of Joey dropping a gyro. I live pretty close to Wabash and recently graduated from their rival school, DePauw. I called a game against Wabash, but didn't see him pitch. I made a couple of trips up to Wabash and saw a couple more games, but Joey didn't pitch in those either. He's numbers weren't very good as a freshman (0-2, 7.43). That makes me think he doesn't throw the gyro all that often. That said, he's still the only guy this side of the International Date Line who throws it. The scout on the gyro is that it behaves like a slider that's got more steriods in it than Jason Grimsley and Floyd Landis put together. It's supposed to start spinning flat like a slider for the first 45-50 feet and then fall off the table and break away from a right-hander. This one in particular looks a lot like a straight curve that you'd see a right hander throw, however it breaks entirely too much and entirely too late for it to be a curve. Carroll alledges that this thing is capable of breaking three feet or more. The question is whether or not Daisuke throws the gyro. In the Yahoo! Sports article linked above, he has claimed that he's just learning it. This video surfaced a while back and everybody thought they'd struck gyro jackpot. Here he is throwing that pitch from a a different (very bad) angle. Is it a gyro? Despite being perhaps the filthiest pitch I've ever seen, no. Sorry to burst your bubble. Turns out what you're seeing is a pitch called a shuuto, and it's absolutely nasty. It's pretty much like a slider, fastball and a screwball thrown into one. You'd need a boat oar to hit it, especially when paired with Daisuke's fastball that runs up there between 96-98. I work as a radio broadcaster in Chicago for an independent minor league baseball team. I sat down with our pitching coach, a career AAAA guy who has spent time coaching in affiliated ball, a few of our pitchers and a buddy of mine who used to play. All of them know a thing or two about breaking pitches. I showed them these two videos of the shuuto and here's a little bit about what they had to say: 1. Note that the grip of the pitch is similar to that of a typical slide piece, with a couple of exceptions. If you watch the video from CF, you can see that he releases the pitch with his index finger. Typical sliders are released with the middle finger. Looking at the video from behind the dish, he's also not on the seams. Part of the reason that a slider does what it does is because of gripping it on the seams. 2. The ball also reacts much differently than a slider. Duh. When you're on the business end of a slider thrown by somebody who knows what they're doing, the ball spins in such a manner that an optical illusion of a red spot about the size of a dime appears in the center of the ball from the way the seams spin. If you look at the video from behind the plate, there's no such spin on that pitch. My pitching coach said this behaves a lot like a screw, except it's thrown like a slider. By the way, he was absolutely awestruck by this pitch and made me show it to him at least 50 times. It's that good. 3. The arm angle on this pitch is similar to that of a fastball. On a slider or a curve, guys will try to get their arm out and around the baseball to impose a breaking motion on it. On this video, his arm is in more of a fastball slot, giving it motion in towards right handers. Also, imparting the spin with the index finger helps this ball move inside to righties. It's a lot like Maddux's 2-seamer, except the bottom drops straight out of it and it's techincally a slider. The Wikipedia article above about the shuuto claims that what Maddux actually throws is a variation of a shuuto, but I'm not inclined to believe that. Daisuke throws this pitch a lot, and when paired with his live fastball, a good curveball, a slider, a rumored fork, and a change he can be downright devastating. Here's a highlight clip of him in an appearance in May. You get a good look at a couple of curves, a slider or two, and a nice pair of shuutos (shuttoes? shuuti? San Diegoans? San Diegans?) to lefties. He strikes out a ton of guys in the clip mainly because the umpire is giving him a strike zone that you could park a double-wide in, but you get the drift of what he throws. So everything sounds great. Let's sign him up tomorrow, right? Not exactly. There are a few knocks on this kid: 1. He's subject to injury. Daisuke missed a large portion of 2003 with an undiscolsed injury to his pitching elbow. Japanese teams don't exactly run around telling the press what's wrong with their players when they get hurt, so we don't have any way of knowing what that was. Matsuzaka also missed a few starts this season with a groin injury of some nature. The only explanation given was that he didn't need to be hospitalized. Thank the good Lord. I think he should fit right in with the rest of the Cubs staff. 2. When throwing from the wind, he's got a very long pause. The shuuto clip from CF will show you that. A lot of folks, including myself, aren't too sure about the legality of that manuever in the US. I know Hideo Nomo used to have a pause in his wind-up as well, but it wasn't that long. That sounds easily correctable, but you never know. 3. He's thrown a lot (I mean a lot) of pitches over the past several years. Rumor has it he threw 250 pitches in a 17 inning ball game in high school and then came back the next day and threw a no-no. That's high school, I know, but good golly. This year he went 186 innings and posted a 17-5 mark with an ERA of 2.13 for Seibu. He made 25 starts and went the distance 14 times. Many experts (alot of people I've read over at rotoworld, specifically) are very concerned about how much his arm has been taxed over the past 5 years of playing in Japan. Pitch counts aren't that big of a deal over there and guys will go as long as they need to to get the win. When you're arguably the best pitcher on the planet, you'll typically find your way well into the triple digits in pitches. I'm not as concerned about the amount he's thrown over the past few years. Zito' and Schmidt have thrown a lot over the past few years, too. If you're truly going for a top of the rotation guy, that's part of it. I would be concerned, however, about his knack for getting hurt. I've seen numbers as high as $50 million tossed around as the amount that it may take to purchase Daisuke from Seibu. I'd bank on something in the mid $30's, but that's still some cash. You still have to pay him, too. Rotoworld says about 4 years & $50 million. Don't get me wrong here. I like this kid. In my research, somebody said that they thought he had the ability to be a top five pitcher and a Cy Young contender in the majors. With all the tape I've watched, I believe it without a doubt. He is absolutely electric. However, if you have to give up $50 million to get him (and then still pay him), you might want that to be a sound investment. There's about nine teams in the hunt for him. Whoever gets him is going to get somebody to build their rotation around for a long time, assuming he's healthy. I'm under the opinion the Cubs should maybe take a chance here. There is a lot of risk involved, but you'll get the best pitcher out there. The Cubs need pitching. Here's a kid who will give you exactly what you need. ---- Thanks to Wes for his time.
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Comments

I am against trying to get this uy, period.

A $15-20 million bid just to sign him to a $11-15 million a year contract?
He's got arm problems in his past?
He's thrown a ton of pitches?

Great...the Cubs don't have anything like that already...

Hey it's Kerry Wood-san!!!!

"Iíve heard a couple of rumors about the Cubs getting in the bidding war"

as Crunch would say-
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

The only "gyro" the Cubs will get is when Hendry goes to lunch at a Greek restaurant.

Any pitcher is at risk to incur an elbow or shoulder injury at any time. It's part of baseball. But unless he is injured right now, you can't be afraid to pursue a guy because he might get a bum elbow or shoulder later.

Wes, thanks for the article.

Great explanation of Matsuzaka and his famous "gyroball" for those of us who needed to quickly catch up on all of the hype.

Wow, good junk.

spinning flat like a slider for the first 45-50 feet and then fall off the table and break away from a right-hander

Looking at the video, it looks like it breaks in to right handers, not away. Am I looking at it wrong? The Yahoo article calls it a reverse-slider and that's exactly what it looks like. Fascinating either way, thanks Rob.

Great report, Rob G. I would be very surprised if the Cubs get into a bidding war at those kind of prices. Their history is to find the second or third level players with injury concerns and then over pay them.

I am watching closely the manager situation. I still doubt that Girardi will be the selection unless they decide that he is a cheap choice. Now with a "Manager of the Year" award, he probably won't come that cheaply

That's a lot of cash, but fortunately for them, the Cubs have a lot of cash. Come on, marketing guy, spend like you wanna.

"...and a nice pair of shuutos (shuttoes? shuuti? San Diegoans? San Diegans?) to lefties."

For what it's worth, there's no pluralization suffix in Japanese. Usually one would use quantifiers (shuuto o futatsu -- two sliders) or it would be clear from context if you were talking about more than one.

That said, I don't know how yould translate over to English. Maybe just "a pair of shuuto."

On second thought, who cares?

If I had to predict, I'd say Matsuzaka will wind up, in order, with the Mariners, Mets or Yankees.

Fascinating either way, thanks Rob.

Great report, Rob G.

Um, yeah thanks, but I didn't nothing but post the article. Send your applause and gratitude to "Wes". He did all the work.
----
#2 of 9: By jacos (October 11, 2006 10:58 AM)
"Iíve heard a couple of rumors about the Cubs getting in the bidding war"

as Crunch would say-
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

The only "gyro" the Cubs will get is when Hendry goes to lunch at a Greek restaurant.
----

Settle there, I've heard rumors as well that the Cubs would enter the bidding. Along with just about everyone else, I don't think they'll do what it takes to get him, but I appreciate the info that Wes gathered.

that should have read: "but I did nothing" in comment #9:

if you checked out the videos, it shows him throwing 148-150 kmph which is about 92-93 mph us metrically-challenged folk.

the breaking pitch was about 80 mph.

Anyone check out his control? Dude, hit the catcher's target just about everytime.

So is his real first name Matsuzaka? Don't they reverse them in Japan?

Also, I'm only for signing him if we can bring along the Japanese announcers whenever he strikes out anyone, cause those guys rule.

#5 of 11: By Ryno (October 11, 2006 11:11 AM)
Wow, good junk.

spinning flat like a slider for the first 45-50 feet and then fall off the table and break away from a right-hander

Looking at the video, it looks like it breaks in to right handers, not away. Am I looking at it wrong? The Yahoo article calls it a reverse-slider and that's exactly what it looks like. Fascinating either way, thanks Rob.

___

That's a description of the gyro. It's the one that breaks away from righties. The shuuto, which is what you're seeing, is actually a kind of similar in behavior to a forkball or a screwball, except it has no discernable spin. Hitters hit breaking balls because they can pick up on the spin. If you can't figure out the spin, then you swing at breaking balls like Corey Patterson.

"Any pitcher is at risk to incur an elbow or shoulder injury at any time."

True AZPhil, but a guy who throws a hard slider with an unnaturally high amount torque is even more susceptible...see Frankie Liriano, John Smoltz, Papelbon, Kerry Wood, et al...it's a toss up, hard slider vs. splitter/fork for the quickest recipe to TJ surgery. I'm amazed that K-Rod's arm hasn't fallen off yet with that violent delivery and German transmission like amount of torque he puts on his slider.

Rob G-

It was a good article, but I doubt the Cubs will pay to have the privilidge to then pay more money on a Japanese pitcher.

Just saying.

"So is his real first name Matsuzaka? Don't they reverse them in Japan?"

They do, but Matsuzaka is his surname. In Japan, I believe, he would go by "Matsuzaka Daisuke" rather than "Daisuke Matsuzaka" as we know him here.

from an ESPN.com article

The Cubs have told candidates they would like to name their new manager by the end of next week.

they have yet to ask San Diego for permission to speak to Bochy. Bochy was granted permission last year to speak to Arizona, so it's not out of the realm of possibility.

They do, but Matsuzaka is his surname. In Japan, I believe, he would go by "Matsuzaka Daisuke" rather than "Daisuke Matsuzaka" as we know him here.

that's where I'm confused because didn't Ichiro want "Ichiro" on the back of his jersey, but those videos show "Matsuzaka" on the back of his jersey. Just curious...

Does anyone think with the hiring of Girardi the Cubs will look to rebuild next year and that if they hire Pinella they are going to all out to win for 2007?

It's simplistic but I can't imagine them having Pinella here bitching about any youth movement.

#18:
In an article that actually makes some sense for a change, Mariotti does:
http://www.suntimes.com/sports/mariotti/91558...

First, I don't buy this new pitch it sounds more of a hoax than anything. Second from what I read, I am in agreement with those above, if you throw this pitch with the arm motion going away from the body you will have arm/elbow problems. Finally, if I am spending 50 million on a guy who throws a fancy named breaking pitch I would pass.

Wellll I think the reason Ichiro is best known as Ichiro is because his last name is pretty common I would say in Japan. After awhile people just forgot or didn't care what his last name was. He just became "Ichiro."

Matsui, and Matsuzka are very popular in Japan, but they were never as popular as Ichiro was or still is in Japan. Ichiro is still a rock star to his country to this day.

Rob:

Yeah, that's an Ichiro eccentricity. He's got a little bit of the Madonna syndrome and likes to go by just his first name rather than the proper Suzuki Ichiro. I believe he got special permission when he came to the MLB to have his first name on his jersey.

If you watch the release you can see one thing, the lack to stress on the elbow. Its released like a football and while QBs have had shoulder problems they don't usually develop elbow problems. I don't care what the pitch it called, it looks great.

Rob G, I could be wrong but I think I remember reading in the book The Meaning of Ichiro (http://tinyurl.com/lmcnh) that the use of Ichiro on his jersey came about because Suzuki is an extremely common surname, while Ichiro is an extremely uncommon first name. Because he was such a star, he became simply "Ichiro"

Okay....this is the first I've heard about a GYRO pitch. I looked at all the videos from Wes' post, from each angle, slowed them down, blew them up....and I can't REALLY tell what I'm looking at.

I'm no expert.......but from the way this cat is gripping the ball, this is exactly the way we (in god's country in Ottumwa, Iowa) were taught to throw a curve ball...a REAL curve ball, that breaks away and down from a RH batter if you're a RH pitcher.
The grip is tight with the index and middle fingers together........with the third finger tucked as far under the ball as you can.....it creates an exceptional amount of spin that is exaggerated the faster-harder you throw the ball. Other than a snap of the wrist down to your left knee (if you're right handed), there is almost no torque on your elbow or shoulder. I blew my shoulder out in D-1 lifting pitchers of beer and a heavy cheerleader...corn fed in Iowa...sorry Mom!!!!

Problem is....that curve as taught is hard to control because you have little grip on the ball. Thus, the BIG BOYS throw MOSTLY flat sliders, or MOSTLY straight drop-fork ball...for more control and for hitting spots.

Its really wasn't that big if a deal to break a ball 2-3 feet.......especially if you measured it an arc from top to bottom and right to left. Now, you might start it at the 3rd base dugout and bring it in behind the batter, but the sumbitch WOULD break that much.

My opinion????? Rich Hill looks like he has the same pitch, only from the left side.

Also my opinion??? If that Gyro ain't spinning, it ain't breaking.....at LEAST it ain't breaking the same way every time.

This one HAS to be a fallacy.....an urban legend. Love to be proven wrong.....AGAIN!!!!

Joey-San

thanks for the name discussion, appreciate it.

Whoooooooaaaaaaaa........my computer belched.....sorry folks....double posts are irritating.

Didn't Byung Kim have a gyro / frisbee pitch?/

did you guys even read the article? Matsuzuka doesn't even throw the gyro, the pitch he does throw (shuuto) does have spin and it breaks down and in on a righty.

If you want to talk abou the mythical gyroball, go for it, but it has nothing to do with Matsuzaka.

"Iíve heard a couple of rumors about the Cubs getting in the bidding war"

"I would be very surprised if the Cubs get into a bidding war at those kind of prices."

There is no bidding war. It is a one time bid for the rights to negotiate. No second chances.

So what does everyone think of teh chances of Pinnela or Giraardi not taking any job this year and sitting on teh dielines and working for FOX or ESPN next year waiting for Torre's contract to finish? Unless he wins a WS next year, I can't see him getting a new deal. And even if he does, at his age, he might just want to walk away from the Steinbrenner and media hassle.

less than 1%

Foxsports Rumors had this on Pinella....

Piniella expressed deep interest in the Cubs job during an exclusive interview Tuesday with the Sun-Times before Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. "Yeah, I've talked to the Cubs," said Piniella

"I've always enjoyed going to Chicago as a player and as a manager. It's truly one of the great cities in our country. Being a part of turning around the Cubs would be a challenge.

And a really interesting tid bit....

According to the Metsí stopwatches, Jose Reyes needs 2.9 seconds to cover the 90 feet between first and second base. According to the Cardinalsí stopwatches, Yadier Molina needs 1.7 seconds to catch, fire and get the ball to second base. An efficient pitcher takes 1.25 seconds to get the ball to the catcher.

I thought someone might mention that the Arizona Fall League started yesterday. If they did I missed it. One game in the record book and Mesa, managed by the Cubs' Pat Listach, already has a shutout under its belt.

Mesa was shut out 3-0.

Eric Patterson is batting leadoff. He had no hits. Scott Moore was the DH. Similar results. EPatt also made a throwing error that cost a run.

Adam Harben, obtained from the Twins in the Nevin deal, started for Mesa. He pitched two innings, struck out three and walked nobody. Unfortunately he gave up an HR to the second hitter he faced and took the loss.

Joey the ball is thrown like a football where it roll off the finger tips. Its totally different than a standard curve.

I had that info up in another thread but thanks for the recap.

And let's remind everyone that the AFL is a hitter's showcase, miserable conditons to pitch in.

#30 of 33: By mannytrillo (October 11, 2006 01:35 PM)
"Iíve heard a couple of rumors about the Cubs getting in the bidding war"

"I would be very surprised if the Cubs get into a bidding war at those kind of prices."

There is no bidding war. It is a one time bid for the rights to negotiate. No second chances.

__

If you're up for splitting hairs, then OK. If the Cubs want him, they have to outbid potentially 8 other teams, one of them being the Fightin' Steinbrenners. Perhaps "bidding war" isn't the ideal terminology there, but you get the point. If Hendry wants him, he better bid high. I have a hunch that something near $30 million is going win this prize, especially with how banged up the Yankees staff has been.

#25 of 37: By Joey from Iowa-San (October 11, 2006 01:25 PM)

I'm no expert.......but from the way this cat is gripping the ball, this is exactly the way we (in god's country in Ottumwa, Iowa) were taught to throw a curve ball...a REAL curve ball, that breaks away and down from a RH batter if you're a RH pitcher.

__

Joey-san from Iowa-san,

The thing is that when you watch that video from CF, it seems to have just a touch of inward movement to the right hander as opposed to running away, along with the downward action. It also doesn't spin like a typical deuce.

It would appear that while your curveball is waxing on, that Daisuke's shutto is waxing off.

"He's got a little bit of the Madonna syndrome and likes to go by just his first name rather than the proper Suzuki Ichiro."

The Japanese don't put their first name last (a la Yao Ming).

Foxsports Rumors had this on Pinella....

Just another reason I hate these bogus "rumor" columns. How is it a rumor? The full story including the Piniella quote is in today's SunTimes right where Ben Maller read it. Maybe if he had posted it yesterday before the ST published.... but no, he put it up today.

amusing take from Dodger Thoughts on the Rumor Mill; Words to Live by::

http://dodgerthoughts.baseballtoaster.com/arc...

Tito - sometimes, the Japanese do put their last name first.

Let's see some examples. Having known a number of Japanese people via a former job, not one of them did that, and I've never seen it before.

CWTP: Ain't it the Truth, man! ain't it the truth!

Same sentiments towards "MLB Trade Rumors".

I never look at that BS web site anymore.

Wes:
"I have a hunch that something near $30 million is going win this prize, especially with how banged up the Yankees staff has been."

I agree, Hendry is going to have to pay a lot to get his shot to negotiate, but even offering a lot doesn't even gaurentee a chance.

I said yesterday that if Ichiro got a $13.1 million posting fee 6 years ago, a SP in this weak FA market, 6 years later, will get at least $20 million posting fee.

It just makes no sense for the Cubs to be invloved at that level unless the fee is totally taken out of the marketing budget.

Chill CWTP, blowing a head gasket over nothing.

He is just updating what is going on around the baseball world. It might be true, it might be players or managers blowing smoke up our asses. That is why its a rumor.

Two definitions for you...

A piece of unverified information of uncertain origin usually spread by word of mouth.

Gossip (usually a mixture of truth and untruth) passed around by word of mouth

That is what Foxsports does with their Rumor section. If you don't like it thats your fucking problem.

No, they don't put their 'first' name 'last'. But they do put their given names last and their family names first. Often times, though, they switch them around so as not to confuse Westerners. e.g. Takeshi Kitano or Ichiro Suzuki.

The Japanese don't put their first name last (a la Yao Ming).

Yes, they typically do, although sometimes when the names are romanized they reverse the surname and given name to resemble the Western standard.

Read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_names

You can also look up just about any Japanese ball player on Wikipedia and you'll see the romanized version ("Ichiro Suzuki") followed by the the name in kanji and romanized in the traditional order (鈴木 一朗, Suzuki Ichirō).

This is a cool marketing idea with 7/11 and the Chicago White Sox.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2...

It doesn't do anything to taint the stadium, field or anything, but is a good little reveneue stream just by changing starting time for a couple minutes. I wish our marketing head could of been invloved with this to help give a way to either up the payroll or keep for ticket prices rising.

The Cubs get Seagrems and Seven up sponsored for
7:07 starts.

Does the 7-11 promotional agreement mean that Apu from the quickie mart gets to throw out the first pitch?

Dooby-Dubois was outrighted by the Indians today to make room on their 40-man.

http://tinyurl.com/kjuxq

Rangers supposedly have narrowed it down to Don Wakamatsu, Ron Washington, Manny Acta and Trey Hillman

Bud Black and Tom Kelly weren't interested.

"Does the 7-11 promotional agreement mean that Apu from the quickie mart gets to throw out the first pitch?"

No but on the way out the ushers will say, "Thank you, come again"

http://www.all-baseball.com/oleanders/

The fellas at "Oleanders and Morning Glories" asked me about Dusty since he's a candidate over there, you can check it out. There's some info on Girardi from a Marlins blogger as well and Piniella from a DRays blogger.

That was good, Rob.

Did anyone catch Dusty's quote the other day in the Sun Times about why he would like to manage in DC?
About how managing the Nationals would be cool because they are "national and international".

According to Fox News the small plane that crashed into an apartment building in NY was registered to Yankees pitcher Corey Lidle.

I also wanted to respond to one more thing... those people that said throwing curves and sliders are taxing, you are correct.

Daisuke does throw a straight curve very rarely, as I said. He does have a plus slider and a straight change. The thing about the way he throws the shuuto is that it's thrown is with the fastball arm motion, so it's more wrist than elbow, and is less taxing on the elbow.

Just something to be of note of.

He's been pretty healthy aside from the groin thing, which only kept him out 3 weeks or so. Other than that, he's been money since the elbow in 2003.

Just saw it on the tv but here is the headline-
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,219921,00...

#56
Weird, I was just going to post about this. A friend of mine has a source at that airport that says he was ON the plane, but that is 100 percent unconfirmed.

ESPN.com is confirming that Corey Lidle was one of the two confirmed dead as he was the pilot of the plane. WOW!!!

I stand corrected on the Japanese name thing. I'd never come across anyone personally who did that.

Fox news saying he was the pilot.

Whoa. CNN saying Lidle's passport was found in the street below the crash.

Memories of Thurman Munson.

Man that sucks.

Rest in Peace, Corey.

Four are dead, I wonder if he had any teammates with him?

This is terrible.

CNN and ESPN.com is saying he was the only one on the plane. The others that died were in the building.

Just tragic.

bleh.

wow, thoughts and prayers to all those involved.

Poor people of New York, imagine what was going through their minds when it first happened.

everyone here in new york seemed pretty calm about the whole thing when it happened, although i'm way downtown, about 5 miles from the crash. i think everyone will be pretty weirded out when they find out it was a Yankee who crashed the plane.

I honestly wonder if this was suicide. It would take a very big mistake to do what he did.

If not all apologies, just thinking out loud here.

wow, someone's already posted his obituary to wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cory_Lidle

Weird. I followed that wikipedia link:

In response [to calling out his former teammates] former teammate Arthur Rhodes said, "He is a scab. When he started, he would go 5 1/3 innings and (the bullpen) would have to win the game for him. The only thing Cory Lidle wants to do is fly around in his airplane and gamble.

From Wil at Deadspin.com-
"Mayor Bloomberg is saying that there was a passenger with Lidle on the plane."

They are now saying flight instructor and student.

Jeremy Schapp is reporting on ESPN that there were two people on the plane, but the other person was not his wife. She was on a commercial flight at the time. And within minutes Lidle reported there were fuel problems.

and on a related note to the Rhodes quote, from the NY Times:

"Lidle was an outcast among some teammates throughout his career because he became a replacement player in 1995, when major leaguers were on strike."

one of the reports said something about seeing smoke coming out of the back of the plane, so I would certainly hope not. If you're going to committ suicide go into lake, not a building.

He had a wife and 6-yr old son apparently as well.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=206010...

the plane also sent a distress signal

If there were fuel problems then it was no suicide. This is just terrible.

Wow, he got Larry Sheets to groundout!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAwmW2S-xX4

Pay $85 million over 4 years!

Let's be clear about this, if you watch that video none of the pitches were half as nasty as what Kerry Wood threw in the 7th or 8th inning to Guiterez in his 20 K game. He has a nice forkball and a fastball that will find it's way into a lot of bleachers in (and back into left field if he's a Cub) in MLB. I am pretty sure I'd take Zito, who I know will be a league average pitcher for 5 years, at $70 millon over this guy. High end he's Dave Stewart, low end he's err I forget that fat useless guy that the Yankees traded to the Expos (Hideki Matsui?).

That whole 'Maddux throws a shutto' or whatever is funny. Shouldn't it be 'these AAAA pitchers in Japan try to throw a Maddux'?

P.S. It's a shame about Lidel and the 1-3 other people who died with him, but I am pretty sure his life isn't any more important than the 1231 other people who died in car wrecks today.

All this gyro talk makes me crave Dengeos or Hub's in Skokie Illinois baby! You like it the juice?!

The Real Neal:
"I am pretty sure his life isn't any more important than the 1231 other people who died in car wrecks today."

Very true...

But from my understanding none of those 1,231 were professional athletes or more particularly baseball players. That is why we are talking about it as this is a baseball blog.

"but I am pretty sure his life isn't any more important than the 1231 other people who died in car wrecks today."

Yes, but no one should be faulted for lamenting the loss of human life.

JHJ got DFA'd today! Stay away Jimbo!

WOW...Dubois and Hairston both availible.

You know Hendry is drooling...

But it looks like all that practice TEXAS did didn't help much. Hairston just isn't very good, no surprise to me as I was never a fan.

"P.S. It's a shame about Lidel and the 1-3 other people who died with him, but I am pretty sure his life isn't any more important than the 1231 other people who died in car wrecks today."

What is the purpose of this comment? A plane crash into a building post-9/11 in NYC is huge news. That it had a Yankee on it -- a minor celeb, but still, a pro athlete -- makes it a pretty big bit of information. By talking about it here and the media reporting it, no one is diminishing any other deaths in the world.

Just heard on the radio that Neifi! will be batting 2nd tonight. Hee hee.

The STIFFS Jim Hendry has bestowed on us (those I remember anyway, recently):

Hairston, Mabry, Rusch, Dempster, Neifi, Williams (Jerome and Scott), Hawkins, "Holly", Burnitz, Boom-Boom Bynum, Nevin, Dubois, The player-we-traded-to-Cleveland-to-get-rid-of-Dubois, Izturis, oh...almost Marquis. I've left out the "young possibilities". Who did I forget?

Can you guys BELIEVE this shit?! Until this moment, I guess I didn't fully realize what a bunch of CRAP the manager was given!

This is in ADDITION to the GROSS miscalculation of the recoveries of Miller, Woody and Prior.

I frankly cannot name a manager who could win more than 70 wins with this BS.

All my condolences to Lidle's family. And all my repudiation to whatever Real Neal was thinking when he wrote the postdata part of his comment.

But this is not a moment to fight.

The STIFFS Jim Hendry has bestowed on us...

Outstanding post. Dusty Baker should print it out and take it with him to his next job interview.

>>>Dusty Baker should print it out and take it with him to his next job interview.

Only after he adds his own name to the top of it...

Very sad about Corey Lidle. Even more sad for the random victims that died on the ground. Reminds me too much of the Thurman Munson crash in the last 70's. My prayers go out to the members of the families.

Comment #91 = Post of the Day

The Joe:
"Just heard on the radio that Neifi! will be batting 2nd tonight. Hee hee."

CLASSIC!!!

STL-NYM Game #1 is postponed...

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/playoffs2006/ne...

"The best-of-seven series will now begin Thursday night, and Game 2 at Shea Stadium is to be played Friday -- which was supposed to be an off day in the series. The NLCS shifts to St. Louis for Game 3 on Saturday."

Unable to do anything about the 98-year drought since the last World Championship or 61 years since the last World Series appearance for the big club, the Cubs Arizona Instructional League team did the next best thing by getting even for the Chinese attack across the Manchurian border and the battle at Chosin Reservoir, defeating Mao Tse Tung's Peoples Republic of China National Team 6-0 today at Fitch Park Field #3. Six Cubs pitchers combined on the seven-hit whitewash.

Offensively, Josh Lansford drove in three runs with a single and a double, D. J. Lewis reached base three times on two walks and an RBI single and stole two bases, and Ryan Harvey (double) and Nathan Samson (single) both had RBI hits.

As some of you may know, Cubs GM Jim Hendry is in Phoenix to interview Bob Brenly and Pat Listach for the open Cubs manager's position. There is a rumor that while in town, Hendry will also interview the manager of Team China in case John McDonough decides to outsource the job. As such, the Cubs GM is re-reading Quotations from Chairman Mao in preparation for what some expect to be a rather difficult (and possibly painful) interrogation.

"If we have shortcomings, we are not afraid to have them pointed out and criticized, because we serve the fans. Anyone, no matter who, may point out our shortcomings. If he is right, we will correct them. If what he proposes will benefit the club, we will act upon it." - Mao Tse Tung, Chairman and General Managing Partner, Team China

After watching Team China play, I found myself hungry for baseball again two hours later. Fortunately, tonight is the AFL home opener for the Mesa Solar Sox at HoHoKam Park, so I will be able to get another taste of baseball this evening.

AZPHIL: The Outsource comment is Hilarious!! Does this open up possibilities for playing baseball/cricket matches in India?

My condolences to Cory Lidle's family. Most of us don't know too many MLB players too well, but the names and faces are as familiar as a family member's. Very, very sad.

For this old Cub Fan, the death of Cory Lidle in a plane crash brings back painful memories of Ken Hubbs, 1962 N. L Rookie of the Year and Cubs second-baseman who was killed in a plane crash while en route to Spring Training in 1964.He was only 22 at the time.

I still have my 1964 Topps Ken Hubbs "IN MEMORIUM" baseball card #550. I'm not sure, but it might have been the only card of that type that Topps ever produced.

Nice AB, Neifi.

Crapolicious.

Was Leyland sprinkled with pixie dust(y)?

Neifi playing ss and batting 2nd? Moving Carlos Guillen to 1B and using Alexis Gomez as DH. Smells of DLee going down and Todd Walker moving to 1B, just to get Neifi some AB's.

but Neifi batting 2nd...I hope it hurts the Tigers because that's just plain stoopid.

Wow...we are talking about Leyland being the manager of the year, yet Neifi bats second?!?!

hey now, Neifi is 3 for 10 against Loaiza with 2 walks, Thames was 0 for 5, so maybe that's the decision. Loaiza's pretty weak versus lefties too. But 2nd? sheesh

Cubster:
"Neifi playing ss and batting 2nd?"

Yep, maybe the team will carry him off on their shoulders again. Go Leyland!!!

Is this Pinella doing this game for FOX?

If so, he just said: "Jimmy (Leyland) has done a nice job with this lineup."

So, he likes Neifi in the 2 hole.

I was listening to 670 The Score here in Chicago and on one of their new breaks, they mentioned that Bruce Bochy can be crossed off the list as potential Cubs managers. I guess SD upper management has declined Hendry's request to talk to Bochy.

Did anyone else hear this?

So right now, it looks like it is a two man race: Girardi and Pinella with Brenly a distant third and Listash and Quade very long shots (more like last resorts).

-On Japanese sports radio last night, they rolled off the teams currently bidding on Matsuzaka, as his FA to the Majors was made official, and the Cubbies were NOT mentioned.

-The Gyroball, as Japanese commentators try explain it, apparently does what it does because the direction of spin on the ball is not constant from release up to the catcher's mitt. It "gyrates" if you will, so that what starts out as hemispheric rotation actually gyrates up into a polaric rotation (or vice-versa, I forget), providing for the "secondary break" near the plate.

-A shuuto is basically a fast pitch that breaks in on a righty when thrown by a righty (10 o'clock to 4). wikipedia is correct in comparing it to a maddux 2-seam cut-fastball in that the movement is the same, but it is definitely not thrown the same as it should have over-spin, not back-spin.

-The name Ichiro is rare in modern times, as it is historically used as a default name for a first born son from feudal times when people typically had droves of children for one thing and in many cases your name would change anyway when you became of age (anywhere from 10 to 13) and entered the service of a lord, unless you stayed on the farm. Ichiro (1st son) Jiro (2nd son) Saburo (3rd son) Shiro (4th son) Goro (5th sone) and so on. Incidentally there is a guy named Saburo playing for Lotte (I think) who has his first name on his jersey too.

-A little background on Darvish of the Nippon Ham Fighters, he's the 6 foot half-Japanese 20 year old who tosses in the high 90s, one of those guys who gets faster as innings progress, and has breaking stuff that makes you cheer. I got home in time for the start of the playoff game between the Fighters and the Hawks, saw him give up a run in the first, and then dominate the rest of the night for the CG victory, 120 some pitches. AWESOME game. and yes, Jose Macias made a great catch at 3rd on a failed bunt attempt and got pulled in the 7th, to crazy cheers from his "supporters" who wave signs dedicated to him!

Cubby:
"On Japanese sports radio last night, they rolled off the teams currently bidding on Matsuzaka, as his FA to the Majors was made official, and the Cubbies were NOT mentioned."

I don't think teams can put a bid in until at least November 1st. So maybe it was just guestimates by those Japanese radio guys. But of course it would make logical sense the Cubbies won't be seriously involved.

Matsuzakas FB runs in the low 90s most of the time. He gets it up to 95 or so every now and then. He's only touched high 90s and 100 a few times.

His FB grades out as plus because of his impeccable command on it. Hes great, but dont expect him to overpower MLB hitters consistently on velo.

and if theres one thing MLB hitters can do, its hit the fastball

You can tell which teams will bid on Matsuzka by who sends scouts to his games.

Mets, Yanks, Mariners and Rangers scouts will be at his final start.

Royals scouts have already been in and out.

The Cubs haven't figured out where Japan is, so they can't send scouts.

If the Cubs are not scouting him, he isn't even remotely on their radar. They didn't send scouts for Matsui or Ichiro either.

His FB grades out as plus because of his impeccable command on it. Hes great, but dont expect him to overpower MLB hitters consistently on velo.
__

Plus is plus in my book.

Krish: His FB grades out as plus because of his impeccable command on it.

Sure, command and velocity, but you didn't mention the "life". I don't know squat about the guy besides watching the highlight reel on youtube, but watching that you can see his fastball has a ton of zip on it. It reminds me of Aardsma's fastball in many ways, only a tick or two slower.

Anyways, it's interesting and all that, but I highly doubt the Cubs will go after this guy.

MikeC: The Cubs haven't figured out where Japan is, so they can't send scouts.

Arizona Phil: More money needs to be dedicated to the international (Latin American & Asian) scouting budget, even if it means spending less in the U. S.

Yep.

dave: Wow...we are talking about Leyland being the manager of the year, yet Neifi bats second?!?!

mannytrillo: yep, maybe the team will carry him off on their shoulders again. Go Leyland!!!

I don't care if Leyland bats him second, or if Pinella agrees, or if Tony La Russa were to agree, or if someday we find out the 11th commandment was "Thou Shalt Bat Neifi 2nd" and Jesus Christ personally says Neifi should be high in the batting order: I still say it's a stupid stupid stupid place to put him.

I'm not a scout, just a regular joe and even I can tell you it's a silly idea. I can't believe this is even a topic of discussion, but here are some qualities I would like in a number 2 batter in any combination, none of which are Neifi Perez:

* Someone who takes a lot of pitches
* Someone who makes good contact
* Someone who gets on base a lot
* Someone who can drive the ball

Yahoo! Sports:
Perez- 4 AB, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K

Tigers are up 2-0. Neifi is going to the World Series as the starting SS.

He'll be batting 9th from now on, I bet.

"He'll be batting"

That's still a problem.

"The Cubs haven't figured out where Japan is, so they can't send scouts."

i know that's a joke and etc, but the cubs do have a strong pacific rim presence.

the elder lee was strong presence before he thankfully left the cubs only to come to america and get fired for exposing himself in a hotel hallway in florida. forget who he was working for at that time, but it pretty much sealed his exit..again..from american baseball.

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