Thursday, June 3, 2010

Breakfast Balls

Probably my favorite part of golf (aside from the golfing) is the lexicon. The never-ending dictionary of off-the-cuff phrases and terms that add a certain colour to the proceedings — the more cryptically embedded the better.

A "breakfast ball" is a first tee mulligan, part of the ever popular "hit til yer happy" philosophy made famous by all golfers big and small. Breakfast balls are often a by-product of "shop swings", a rusty gate of a pass made after a long day standing in the pro shop hitting on cart tarts of dubious age working hard at making the joint run properly. A poor shop swing elicits a breakfast ball and a better result is sure to follow. The first tee jitters are gone, as are the delusions of grandeur and even par.

Your Toronto Blue Jays have no need for breakfast balls, as the serening effect of one Dwayne Murphy sends them to the plate with the happiest of thoughtholes. Blue Jays batters stroll to the plate with no fear of hack-happy first pitch swings, as the punishment is usually a pat on the back. The result of this approach: a truck full of first pitch tater tots.

Call me crazy, but Vernon Wells's ability to get on top of high fastballs ranks him as "special talent" in my book. Anybody that can do that when healthy is bound to struggle when they aren't. He's the kind of natural athlete who does stuff most of us can only dream of when his body lets him. He isn't going to suddenly develop a normal, human approach when he has a bad shoulder or wrist. Thus, the struggles.

As for the rest of them - the words "get me over" have no place in the minds of pitchers who dare oppose the Jays. My heart looks at all those cookies down the middle and says "Fuck yeah! Tear into that weak first pitch nonsense!" but my head isn't so sure. It is difficult to argue the results right now but a second trip through the league might go very, very differently.

But who cares? This wild run involves lots of quick jolts to get your attention, just a like a first pitch tater tot. Maybe it won't change; the Jays see the most first pitch strikes in baseball if you can believe it. Maybe this aggresive approach is the new moneyball - guys with no sense or concern for the strike zone certainly come cheaply. Get'em by the bushel. Give me home runs or give me death!

Image courtesy of Mad Baker, pitch F/X from Joe Lefkowitz


  1. I noticed that F-Strike% ranking too and it seems to just be a coincidence. I don't see a correlation with any other stat. Why would the Ms get the least first-pitch strikes?

  2. Were those first pitch HR's by Bautista high and inside, or high and away? Either way those are some sexy pieces of hitting.

  3. Do they have the most first-pitch strikes simply because any pitch they make contact on - and given how they're swinging at first pitches that's a lot of them - are counted as strikes?

  4. Catchers perspective, Ian. JoBau - turning on the inside heat since 2009!

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  6. Thanks anon. Come to think of it, that would make a great slogan for Bautista:

    "Turning on the inside heat since 2009"

    I'll get the T-Shirts printed.


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