Find of the Day: The Folly Floater
I first looked up this YouTube video after watching Orlando Hernandez throw an eephus pitch live against my beloved Chicago Cubs. “An eephus?” you say. Check the Wikipedia entry.
If you don’t want to read the Wikipedia entry, I can only describe it as an intentional mistake pitch, one you wouldn’t throw if you didn’t have nerves of steel. It’s like an overhand softball pitch, with a huge arc, little to no rotation and at least 30 mph slower than your average fastball. As a pitcher, you’re taunting the batter — “Try and hit this” — and taking a major chance at the same time, especially if a hitter connects, because they’re going to cream it if they hit it anywhere near the sweet spot. Whether you throw a successful eephus or not, embarrassing a professional ballplayer is dangerous business.
In the game I saw, the Wrigley crowd reaction was one I’ve never before experienced — an audible stadium-wide gasp followed by swearing (“Holy… WTF was that?!”), laughter, and a buzz that lasted the rest of Cliff Floyd’s at bat. Even from the upper deck, the pitch left El Duque’s hand and went skyward instead of towards home plate, and somehow, somehow Floyd laid off it for a ball. His eyes must have been huge looking at that fat pitch though.
Here’s an eephus in action (actually two), thrown by New York Yankee Steve Hamilton to Cleveland’s Tony Horton in a 1970 game at Yankee Stadium. Hamilton and the NY broadcasters had penned the pitch “The Folly Floater,” a great name for a great pitch.
Note the crowd and dugout reaction and stay for Horton’s trip back to the dugout. Not to be missed.
On a local note, congrats to our local high school football team, the Glenbard North Panthers for advancing to the Illinois 8A state finals. They barely squeaked into the playoffs and got the #14 seed in their bracket. However, they have since beat the #3, #6 and #2 seeds in the bracket. Local pundits didn’t give them a chance in today’s semifinal game against #1 seed Mt. Carmel, ranked 22nd in the entire country. However, four Mt. Carmel turnovers and a 4th quarter 45-yard flea-flicker pass by GBN QB Evan Watkins resulted in a 28-21 GBN victory. Watkins threw that TD almost 55 yards in the air and right on the button to WR Matt Ng.
Now they face conference rival Naperville North for the 8A state title. In an earlier matchup, N North stomped GBN by 30 points. But that was then, and this is the year of the Colorado Rockies miraculous rise to prominence. C’mon, you Panthers, take it home.
Forgive me my geekiness about prep sports. Maybe I should just watch Friday Night Lights to get it out of my system.