Siberian Baseball

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

What? Wednesday - Let's start slow

It occurred to me the other day as I was watching a game with the Gameday tracker on to let me see real-time scoring of pitch counts, how the hitters were holding up, etc. that there is a lot of new information being offered to fans that most of us are clueless about.

Case in point is the new Pitch f/x information that has even crept into the Gameday overlay. Now, when a pitch comes in, it's only a matter of seconds before users can see exactly how fast the pitch came in and how much it broke, drawing the trajectory for you on the screen.

If you're the kind of person prone to keeping the tracker on during games, you understand how cool this is. If not, you understand having dates on Fridays in high school - I think it's a fair trade.

However, with all of these numbers being thrown about, it's easy to get lost in the wash of statistics. If you're a casual fan who is finally able to discuss VORP, LIPS or basics like WHIP in the bar with a degree of certainty, it's a lot to digest.

So, I'm going to try to break some of these new measuring tools down as easily as possible. By that, I mean by presenting the simplest and clearest tutorials the web has to offer. These will appear on Wednesdays throughout the season and feel free to make requests in the comments section.

Starting slow is a very basic breakdown of what the most common pitches thrown in the majors look like, courtesy of Lokesh Dhakar, who cleaned off most of the usual gunk to provide simple, sharply illustrated pitch movement diagrams.

I may have posted this before, but it's worth repeating if I have - I only wish I'd had them around during my adventure in explaining pitch types to an Irish friend who was staying with us last fall. Even if a picture is worth 1,000 words, I overshot that by a good 600 words and still didn't make any sense.

These are also available in handy PDF form if you're taking your mother-in-law to a ballgame this season.

(Image from:

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