HBT Weekend Wrapup

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It actually feels like it was a long weekend for me since I took most of Friday to head up to Cleveland and take in the Indians-White Sox on Opening Day at Progressive Field.  It was not the most competitive game in baseball history. Indeed, I’m pretty sure it was 198-0 by the time I settled into my seat (note: the Indians stocked the fridge in the Indians Social Suite on Friday, so my memory of the score may be a bit … skewed).

But bad baseball is still a good thing, so I’d like to thank the Indians for having me up there. And for not revoking my tickets for inviting these guys with me up into the suite for the express purposes of causing trouble in front of team officials and visiting dignitaries. It was awkward for a while — no one likes to be accused of being an honor-free racist — but we all bonded over the fact that this Bob Feller silhouette shirt I met in a bar is pretty fantastic, so it was all good.

Here’s a bit of what else went down this weekend:

I mean, really: this is like O. Henry and Alanis Morrisette had a baby and named it “this exact situation”.

How Yu Darvish tipped his pitches during the World Series

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You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.

Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.

Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.

Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.