Pitchers can throw fastballs because homo erectus evolved for the hunt

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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:

source:

Rays’ Díaz gets $24 million, three-year deal, avoids arbitration

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay Rays infielder Yandy Díaz agreed to a $24 million, three-year contract on Tuesday that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

Díaz’s agreement could be worth $36 million over four seasons.

The 31-year old will receive $6 million this season, $8 million in 2024 and $10 million for 2025. The 2026 club is $12 million with no buyout. There is a $1 million assignment bonus that would be payable by receiving team.

Díaz has spent parts of six seasons in the majors with Cleveland (2017-18) and Tampa Bay (2019-22). He has a career average of .278 with 39 home runs and 198 RBIs.

Acquired by the Rays in a three-team trade on Dec. 13, 2018, Díaz hit .296 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 137 games last season, He career highs with 71 runs, 140 hits, 33 doubles, and 78 walks.

Díaz was the third Rays’ arbitration-eligible player to reach a deal.

Reliever Pete Fairbanks agreed Friday to a $12 million, three-year contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons. The 29-year-old right-hander was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Left-hander Jeffrey Springs also agreed last week to a $31 million, four-year contract that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year-old began last season in the bullpen and transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, and outfielder Harold Ramírez.