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Hawk Harrelson gets stereotypical, says Chen-Chang Lee has ‘typical Asian motion’

Hawk HarrelsonChicago White Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson is best known for being a huge homer and not for delivering play-by-play with the type of tact that legends like Vin Scully display. So it’s probably not too surprising to hear the poor phrasing he used when talking about Cleveland Indians pitcher Chen-Chang Lee.

Lee is a relief pitcher from Taiwan who threw 4.1 innings last season in the bigs. He made his season debut on Thursday and pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless relief against the Sox. While he was facing his second batter of the inning, the White Sox announcing team seemed intrigued by his sidearm delivery and sweeping finish.

“It’s a nasty slider from down under,” Steve Stone said about a slider Alexei Ramirez took for a strike.

“Yeah that’s a typical Asian motion,” said Hawk. “Deception involved.”

Yeesh.

Yes, many Asian pitchers have different motions from North American pitchers. They most likely have different instruction in Japan and other Asian countries compared to North America, which is also why many Asian hitters have different stances, swings and finishes from what we’re used to seeing. Hideo Nomo had his tornado thing, Dice K Matsuzaka had a hesitation, and Hiroki Kuroda has a hitch in his leg kick, just to give a few examples.

But is Lee’s motion a “typical Asian motion”? If so, what is a typical Asian motion, Hawk?

If Hawk wanted to point out that many Asian pitchers have something with their delivery that is different from what we are used to seeing, that would be fine. If he wanted to say Lee has a tough ball to pick up because it’s sidearm, that’s fine. But what about this was typical Asian deception? The way he phrased and worded things was just plain bad.

Via Deadspin

Michael Pineda appears to have pine tar on his pitching hand

Michael Pineda pine tar hand

Michael Pineda will be under scrutiny when he pitches in the future after cameras caught him with a foreign substance on his hand Thursday that sure as heck appeared to be pine tar.

Pineda, who went six-plus innings of 1-run ball for the New York Yankees to pick up his first win of the season, had a dark substance on his hand for the first four innings of the game against the Boston Red Sox.

Michael Pineda pine tar

Michael Pineda pine tar

As MLB Network showed, by the fifth inning, he had cleaned up his hand. He didn’t allow a hit in the first four innings but allowed four after that, though he only let up one run.

Pineda was acquired by the Yankees from the Seattle Mariners over two years ago and was making his first start at Yankee Stadium.

Pineda also appeared to have the same substance on his hand during his first start of the season where he allowed just one run over six innings in a loss to the Blue Jays on April 5:

And here’s how his pants looked from the substance:

Michael Pineda pants

The substance clearly appeared to be pine tar. Pine tar is a sticky substance used by batters to get a better grip on the bat. Some pitchers have also been known to use it — especially on cold days — because it helps them get a better grip on the ball.

The Red Sox probably can’t make much of a fuss about things because their pitcher who was opposing Pineda is Clay Buchholz, who was accused last year of doctoring the ball.

David Ortiz said after the game that it wasn’t a big deal because everyone uses pine tar.

Watch Justin Upton hit a baseball that landed 477 feet from home plate (Video)

We’re not even a month into the new Major League Baseball season, but we’ve already seen a few impressive home runs launched.

justin-upton-home-runLast week, Giancarlo Stanton turned a pitch by Eric Stults into a 484-ft blast to left field. Yesterday, Bryce Harper deposited a three-run homer into the upper deck at Nations Park.

Against the New York Mets on Thursday, it was Justin Upton’s turn to get into the act.

In the bottom of the third inning, the younger of baseball’s Upton brothers hit his second home run of the game. The first went a modest 379 feet. The second, almost one hundred feet further.

Upton’s prodigious clout is currently the second-longest home run of the young season behind the one mentioned above by Giancarlo Stanton, which you should take a look at.

This is the look of a man who just served up a 477-ft home run.

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The Milwaukee Brewers made their own ‘Happy’ music video

Since America got its first listen of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”, it has become one of the country’s most popular songs.

brewers-happyBecause it’s what happens when we fall in love with a song, seemingly everyone wants to use it.

“Happy” can be found playing in the background of a commercial for the Fiat 500L as well as one for the Beats by Dre Pill mini-speakers.

The Milwaukee Brewers have now jumped on board, releasing their own music video which features Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, Yovani Gallardo, Rickie Weeks, Bernie Brewer, and legendary broadcaster Bob Uecker playing a trumpet.

There’s a decent chance you may be tired of “Happy” before long. Until then, you can watch these few moments it produced.

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Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Mike Schmidt wants ‘force field’ calling balls and strikes, not umpires

Mike-SchmidtPhiladelphia Phillies legend Mike Schmidt is tired of seeing umpires screw up balls and strikes. Bad calls at the plate are as old as the game of baseball, but do they have to be? We have had technology like the K-zone for quite some time, so it couldn’t be that difficult to have a computer determine balls and strikes.

What would be difficult, however, is using a force field to call balls and strikes. A force field (is that even a real thing?) is used to keep things out of a certain area.

“I think the umpire at home plate should not call balls and strikes,” Schmidt told Harry Mayes and John Marks on 97.5 The Fanatic on Thursday. “I think they should have a force field over home plate and if the pitcher throws and the ball touches the force field a little bell goes off and it’s a strike.”

Schmidt believes computerized balls and strikes would help speed up the game.

“That would expand the strike zone to the point where the hitters would now have to swing the ball, which would shorten the game,” the Hall of Famer said. “The umpire needs to be at home plate for the safe and out calls at home plate and foul balls and fair balls and basically to run the game but we’re going to see at some time — my guess is within the next 10 years – that you’ll see the balls and strikes just like the line calls in tennis.”

I’m not sure I agree with that. Judging by most of the games I’ve seen, I’d say it’s more common for a pitch that is outside the strike zone to be called a strike than it is for one that’s in the strike zone to be called a ball. If a computer was making the calls, players wouldn’t have to swing at anything that was even a fraction of an inch off the plate. Wouldn’t that mean more walks, deeper counts and longer plate appearances?

All that said, this probably will happen at some point. Technology always seems to win over the “human element,” and there’s no reason to think baseball will be any different in the long run.

H/T Hardball Talk

Did Ryan Braun taunt Phillies fans after big hit? (GIF)

Ryan-Braun-taunts-PhilliePhiladelphia Phillies fans have been giving it to Ryan Braun over the past two days, and it is not bothering the Milwaukee Brewers slugger one bit. On Tuesday, Braun belted three home runs and drove in seven in a 10-4 win over Philadelphia. He then had a two-run triple in the eighth inning on Wednesday night that put the Phillies away.

Some are claiming Braun taunted the crowd at Citizens Bank Park after his latest timely hit. When he reached third, the scorned slugger made a gesture in the direction of the Brewers’ dugout. He claims he was simply acknowledging his teammates.

“No [it was directed] to our dugout, we always do that when we get big hits,” Braun said with a smirk, according to CSNPhilly.com’s Corey Seidman. “We’ve done that forever, we just haven’t had an opportunity to play too many good games, close games, exciting games.”

If Braun was making the motion across the diamond, that would be easier to believe. Maybe I’m reading into it too much, but his hands started pretty high up when he made the gesture. He then pointed them down toward the dugout. Also, Braun is a liar.

H/T The 700 Level
GIF via gfycat.com

Andrelton Simmons makes incredible throw from his knees (Video)

Andrelton-Simmons-throwAtlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons showed off some of the most incredible arm strength you will ever see on Wednesday night. During the second inning of Atlanta’s 4-3 win over the New York Mets, Simmons lost his balance while making a backhanded play in the hole between shortstop and third base. He still somehow managed to throw out Travis d’Arnaud at first.

Freddie Freeman made a great stretch on the other end to complete what was a phenomenal play all around. Replays appeared to show that d’Arnaud actually beat the throw, but we almost always see umpires give the fielder the benefit of the doubt when they make a play like that.

But what about instant replay? With the new replay rules that are in place, Mets manager Terry Collins could have challenged the play. Considering there were two outs in the second inning and he had the bottom of the order coming up, Collins didn’t bother. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was also being respectful of a great play.