Bryce Harper hit his seventh homer of the season last night, and it was a doozy. Watch it here.
It was listed at 438 feet, but it was way high when it hit that sign next to the restaurant level and would have had a lot more distance in it if it had been able to fly free. All the more impressive: he had to reach out a little to get to that breaking ball, which could have sapped some of his power.
And the legend grows. And if the homer wasn’t enough to make the legend grow, his response to a reporter’s question did.
He was asked after the game if — because it’s legal for 19 year-olds to drink in Canada — he was going to go get a celebratory beer. His response: “That’s a clown question, bro.”
So, so good. And if you think I’m not gonna beat that one into the ground over the next few weeks you’re simply not familiar with my work.
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.