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Video: Bryce Harper tears the cover off of a baseball


Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper tore the cover off of a baseball during Thursday night’s game against the Royals. It didn’t happen like it does in the movies; Harper fouled off a 3-2 breaking ball from Alec Asher in the bottom of the second inning.

Just as impressive as tearing the cover off of a baseball was Harper’s shampoo-commercial-esque hair flip.

Harper eventually drew a walk and then executed the back end of a double-steal with Trea Turner. Turner would then score on an Adam Lind sacrifice fly while Harper was stranded. The Nationals went on to win 6-1.

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.