Pitchers can throw fastballs because homo erectus evolved for the hunt


I took a lot of physical anthropology in college and several allied primatology courses as well. I actually had more hours in those classes than I did in my major, political science, but because I didn’t take the proper cultural anthropology and archeology courses I couldn’t get the double major. Oh well. Fact remains that the anthro stuff sticks in my head better and informs more of my thinking than any of the poly sci stuff does. Mostly because it’s AWESOME.

So obviously this sort of thing is gonna be right up my alley: a study from Nature about how humans evolved to throw things really, really fast.

“We think that throwing was probably most important early on in terms of hunting behavior, enabling our ancestors to effectively and safely kill big game,” Roach said. “Eating more calorie-rich meat and fat would have allowed our ancestors to grow larger brains and bodies and expand into new regions of the world—all of which helped make us who we are today.”

With the development of spears and bows and guns and all of the other things the need to hurl projectiles became way less necessary. Pitcher’s ability to hurl fastballs, therefore, is nothing but an evolutionary hangover. Well, except for Rob Dibble. He’s still pretty much out there doing the caveman thing I presume.

Anyway, even if this stuff doesn’t interest you, you should read the article for two reasons:

1) There’s a diagram of a chimpanzee throwing a baseball, which would be amazing; and

2) This gif which looks an awful lot like raw video of a right-handed Chris Sale:


Giancarlo Stanton stared down Derek Jeter and Michael Hill to get to New York

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Everyone knows that Giancarlo Stanton is now a New York Yankee. Everyone knows the Marlins traded him to New York. Most people also know that, before that trade happened, the Cardinals and Giants had deals in place for Stanton that he rejected via his no-trade clause. Now, for the first time, we get some real flavor of how all of that went down from Stanton’s perspective, courtesy of this profile of Stanton’s eventful offseason from Ben Reiter of Sports Illustrated.

The best part of it comes when Derek Jeter and Marlins president Michael Hill had a sit down with Stanton while the Giants and Cardinals offers were pending. In that meeting, Reiter reports, Stanton was told in no uncertain terms that he’d either accept one of those deals or else he’d be stuck in Miami while the roster was dismantled. Stanton responded thusly:

“This is not going to go how you guys think it will go,” Stanton said. “I’m not going to be forced somewhere, on a deadline, just because it’s convenient for you guys. I’ve put up with enough here. Derek, I know you don’t fully understand where I’m coming from. But Mike does. He’s been here. He can fill you in. This may not go exactly how I planned. But it’s definitely not going to go how you have planned.”

Even adjusting for the likelihood that it wasn’t put quite as smoothly as that in real time as it was in Stanton’s recollection of it to Reiter, it’s still pretty badass. Stanton had the power in that situation and he did not blink when the club threatened to call his bluff. In the end, he got what he wanted.

Beyond that, it’s a good profile of Stanton as he’s about to begin his Yankees career. Definitely worth your time.