Fastball

The fastball is the most common type of pitch thrown by pitchers in baseball and softball. "Power pitchers," such as former American major leaguers Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens, rely on speed to prevent the ball from being hit, and have thrown fastballs at speeds of 95–105 miles per hour (153–169 km/h) (officially) and up to 108.1 miles per hour (174.0 km/h) (unofficially).[1] Pitchers who throw more slowly can put movement on the ball, or throw it on the outside of home plate where batters can't easily reach it.

The appearance of a faster pitch can sometimes be achieved by minimizing the batter's vision of the ball before its release. The result is known as an "exploding fastball": a pitch that seems to arrive at the plate quickly despite its low velocity.

Fastballs are usually thrown with backspin, so that the Magnus effect creates an upward force on the ball. This causes it to fall less rapidly than expected, and sometimes causes an optical illusion often called a rising fastball. Although it is impossible for a human to throw a baseball fast enough and with enough backspin for the ball to actually rise, to the batter the pitch seems to rise due to the unexpected lack of natural drop on the pitch.

A straight pitch is achieved by gripping the ball with the fingers across the wide part of the seam (called a "four-seam fastball") so that both the index and middle fingers are touching two seams perpendicularly. A sinking fastball is thrown by gripping it across the narrow part (a "two-seam fastball") so that both the index and middle fingers are along a seam. Lateral motion is achieved by holding a four-seam fastball off-center (a "cut fastball"), and sinking action with a lateral break is thrown by splitting the fingers along the seams (a "split-finger fastball").

Colloquially, a fastball pitcher 'throws heat' or 'puts steam on it', among many other variants.

20070616 Chris Young visits Wrigley (4)-edit3
During pregame bullpen warmup Chris Young warms up with a four-seam fastball.

Pitches

Four-Seem Fastball
An animated diagram of a four-seam fastball

Four-seam fastball

The four-seam fastball is the most common variant of the fastball. The pitch is used often by the pitcher to get ahead in the count or when he needs to throw a strike. This type of fastball is intended to have minimal lateral movement, relying more on its velocity. It is often perceived as the fastest pitch a pitcher throws, with recorded top speeds above 100 mph. The fastest pitch recognized by MLB was on September 25, 2010, at Petco Park in San Diego by then Cincinnati Reds left-handed relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman. It was clocked at 105.1 miles per hour. [2] April 19, 2011 Chapman lit up the stadium radar gun at 106 MPH (the TV-reading had his pitch at 105 MPH, and the pitchF/X reading was actually 102.4 MPH). [3] Two general methods are used to throw a four-seam fastball. The first and most traditional way is to find the horseshoe seam area, or the area where the seams are the farthest apart. Keeping those seams parallel to the body, the pitcher places his index and middle fingers perpendicular to them with the pads on the farthest seam from him. The thumb then rests underneath the ball about in the middle of the two fingers. With this grip, the thumb will generally have no seam on which to rest.

The four seam fastball is widely regarded as the main key to advancing to the next level of play. One of a baseball scout's main criteria when scouting a prospect is how fast he throws a four seam fastball. The game of baseball keeps on progressing, and as research on the physics of throwing is published and recognized, fastball velocity training has become more effective. This can be shown by looking at the average fastball velocity in the major leagues as time progresses. In 2008 the average fastball thrown in the MLB was 90.9 mph. 5 years later it had risen to 92.0. To show the effect that this increase in velocity has had on hitters in the big leagues, we can look at the runs scored stat. In 2008, the average number of runs a team scored a game was 4.6; 5 years later as the velocity increased, the average dropped by half a run a game, to 4.0.

How has pitch velocity gone up so much? Mostly by the development of better training and clearer communication within the baseball community that velocity is so valued. People like Tom House, Eric Cressey, Kyle Boddy, and Ron Wolforth have all pushed the edge and dedicated careers to research on what makes the ultimate pitcher. Pitchers are getting bigger, faster and stronger, and pushing their bodies in the weight room as well as with weighted ball throwing. All of this has created a faster, more powerful game for pitchers on the mound today. [4] [5]

Higher pitch velocities has resulted a fewer hits and other imbalances. A more distant pitcher's mound and other changes have been proposed to restore balance.[6]

Two-seam fastball

A two-seam fastball, sometimes called a two-seamer, tailing fastball, running fastball, or sinker is another variant of the straight fastball. It is designed to have more movement than a four-seam fastball, so the batter cannot hit it hard, but it can be more difficult to master and control. Because of the deviation from the straight trajectory, the two-seam fastball is sometimes called a moving fastball.

The pitcher grabs a baseball and finds the area on it where the seams are the closest together, and puts his index and middle fingers on each of those seams. A sinker is a similar pitch that drops 3 to 6 inches more than a typical two-seam fastball; this causes batters to hit ground balls more often, mostly due to the tilted sidespin on the ball.[7]

Each finger should be touching the seam from the pads or tips to almost the ball of each finger. The thumb should rest underneath the ball in the middle of those two fingers, finding the apex of the horseshoe part of the seam. The thumb needs to rest on that seam from the side to the middle of its pad. If the middle finger is used, more whipping action occurs, making the pitch go around 10 mph faster. This ball tends to move for the pitcher a little bit depending on velocity, arm slot angle, and pressure points of the fingers. Retired pitchers Greg Maddux and Pedro Martínez were known for their effective two-seamers.

Depending on the grip and pressure applied with the fingers, sometimes the two-seam fastball features more sink than lateral movement. Sinkerballers tend to induce a lot of ground ball outs because hitters tend to swing over the ball due to the late downward movement, thus often end up beating the ball into the ground. Roberto Hernández of the Philadelphia Phillies, Justin Masterson of the St. Louis Cardinals, Derek Lowe of the New York Yankees, Tim Hudson of the San Francisco Giants, Aaron Cook of the Colorado Rockies, Clay Buchholz of the Boston Red Sox, Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies, Chris Volstad of the Chicago White Sox, Trevor Cahill of the Chicago Cubs, and Bronson Arroyo of the Arizona Diamondbacks are or were well known for their sinkers, consistently ranking high in the league in ground ball-to-fly ball ratio.

Rising fastball

The rising fastball is an effect perceived by some batters, but is a baseball myth. Some batters are under the impression that they have seen a "rising" fastball, which starts with the trajectory of a normal fastball, but which as it approaches the plate rises several inches and gains a burst of speed. Tom Seaver, Jim Palmer, Sandy Koufax, Dwight Gooden, Nolan Ryan and Chan Ho Park have been described as paramount pitchers with this kind of ball action.

Such a pitch is known to be beyond the physical capabilities of pitchers, due to the very high backspin required to overcome gravity with the Magnus effect. While not physically impossible (conservation of momentum is maintained through imparting the required opposing momentum to air, as an airplane does at takeoff), the amount of spin required is beyond the capabilities of a human arm. It has been explained as an optical illusion.

What is likely happening is that the pitcher first throws a fastball at one speed, and then, using an identical arm motion, throws another fastball at a higher speed. The higher-speed fastball arrives faster and sinks less due to its high speed. The added back-spin from the higher speed further decreases the amount of sink. When the pitch is thrown, the batter expects a fastball at the same speed, yet it arrives more quickly and at a higher level. The batter perceives it as a fastball which has risen and increased in speed. A switch from a two-seam to a fastball can enhance this effect.

This perception may also be created by a tall, hard-throwing pitcher who throws the ball from a higher release point on an elevated mound (the pitcher's rubber is 10 inches above the field level). Factoring in the element of depth perception when the hitter watches the pitcher from 60 ft 6 in away from the pitcher's mound, and the hitter perceives the pitcher's size and positioning on the mound to be less elevated than it actually is. Hence, to the hitter, an overhand pitch will appear to be thrown at a hitter's shoulder level (or even belt level), as opposed to several inches above the hitter's head, from where the pitch is actually released from the pitcher's hand. This perception enhances the apparent "rising" motion of the fastball when the pitch passes the hitter at a higher level than where the hitter perceived the pitch to have left the pitcher's hand.

It is possible for a rising fastball to be thrown by a submarine pitcher because of the technique with which they throw the ball. Because they throw almost underhanded with their knuckles near the field surface, the batter perceives the sensation of the ball going upward because of its low starting point and flight trajectory. This is not the traditional rising fastball batters believe they see. This type of movement is similar to a rising fastball in fast-pitch softball. Left-hander Sid Fernandez was known for throwing a rising fastball from a slightly "submarine" motion.

Cut Fastball
An animated diagram of a cutter

Cutter

A cut fastball, or "cutter", is similar to a slider, but the pitcher tends to use a four-seam grip. The pitcher shifts the grip on a four-seamer (often by slightly rotating the thumb inwards and the two top fingers to the outside) to create more spin. This usually causes the pitch to shift inwards or outwards by a few inches, less than a typical slider, and often late. A cutter is effective for pitchers with a strong four-seamer since the grip and delivery look virtually identical. The unexpected motion will often fool batters into hitting the ball off-center, or missing it altogether.

Mariano Rivera, a relief pitcher for the New York Yankees, is known for throwing a cutter. In his prime, Rivera could deliver late motion while throwing the ball around 96 mph. Al Leiter rode his cutter to 162 career wins and a no-hitter. Roy Halladay threw a cut fastball, but claimed that overusing it had given him forearm trouble. This may have prematurely ended Halladay's 2006 season due to forearm stiffness, since the grip causes more stress than a standard four-seamer. Yankee Andy Pettitte is another pitcher who throws the cutter. On a June 3, 2007, game against the Red Sox, announcer Joe Morgan estimated that of Pettitte's 87 pitches, 83 of them were cutters. Jamie Moyer used a cutter that became an important pitch due to his relatively low velocity late in his career. Many other major league pitchers have added the cut fastball, as well.

Split-finger fastball

The split-finger fastball, or "splitter", is truly an off-speed pitch rather than a type of fastball. Like the changeup, to which it is a close relative, it is thrown with the same arm motion as a normal fastball, but the adjusted grip causes it to behave quite differently. The ball does not have the characteristically tight spin of a fastball. The ball appears to tumble in a knuckleball-like fashion; but it is much faster than a knuckleball. The ball is gripped tightly with the index and middle fingers "split" along the outside of the horseshoe seam. It is important that at least one finger is touching the seam, as the ability to control the release of the ball is derived from this contact. The release is the same as a fastball. A splitter usually drops as it approaches the plate, and breaks to either the right or left. The forkball is a similar pitch, though it is slower and gripped with a more exaggerated split of the fingers. A pitcher generally needs long, flexible fingers to effectively throw this pitch. Due to similarities in speed and movement, some pitchers' split-finger fastballs are misidentified as changeups.

It helps to have larger hands to throw this pitch. Because the fingers are spread wider than normal on the baseball, this pitch produces more stress from the hand up through the arm. While the mechanics are the same as a normal fastball, the stress it places on the hand and arm is different. Over time it is possible to damage the arm. It is therefore not recommended for younger pitchers to learn this pitch. Older pitchers should feel comfortable deploying this pitch, but to use it in moderation. The splitter is an effective pitch because the hitter generally picks up the movement later and either swings over the ball or produces a weakly hit ground ball.

The split-finger is used currently by pitchers such as Dan Haren, Jonathan Papelbon, and Masahiro Tanaka. Former players noted for use of the split-finger fastball include Bruce Sutter, Mike Scott, John Smoltz, Jack Morris, Kazuhiro Sasaki, Bryan Harvey, Roger Clemens, and Fred Breining.

Incurve

The incurve was a term used until about 1930 used to describe a simple fastball. As a curveball was often called an "outcurve", one might assume that an incurve is the opposite of a curveball, in other words, the modern screwball. However, this does not appear to be so, as cited by John McGraw.

All balls that are twisted out of their natural course are called curves. The outcurve, the drop, down shoot, and so on, are simply a curve ball to the professional player. To us there is no such thing as an incurve. That is what we call a fastball. Of course, I am assuming the pitcher is right-handed. A so-called incurve is nothing more than a ball thrown in a natural way with great force. A ball thus thrown will naturally curve inward, to a certain extent.[8]

Side-arm fastball

A side-arm fast ball is thrown from an angle different from the normal one. It is at a lower angle and is thrown from the side, hence the name "side"-arm. It will have a sinking motion to the right if the pitcher is right-handed, or to the left if the pitcher is left-handed. It is usually slower than a normal four-seam fastball.

References

  1. ^ "The Fastest Pitcher in Baseball History". Baseball Almanac, Inc. Archived from the original on 2007-08-12. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
  2. ^ Brandon McClintock. "Aroldis Chapman and the 15 Fastest Pitches Ever Recorded". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Aroldis Chapman Throws A 106 MPH Fastball, Or Was It 105? (Video)". totalprosports.com. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Running Down the Velocity Upswing - Redleg Nation". redlegnation.com. 19 February 2015. Archived from the original on 4 April 2016.
  5. ^ Sawchik, Travis. "MLB pitchers setting velocity records, altering balance of power". TribLIVE.com. Archived from the original on 2014-10-24.
  6. ^ Sheinin, Dave (21 May 2019). "Velocity is strangling baseball — and its grip keeps tightening". The Washington Post. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  7. ^ John Walsh. "In Search of the Sinker". The Hardball Times. Archived from the original on 2007-07-09.
  8. ^ Mcgraw, John (1995). My Thirty Years in Baseball. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-8139-0.
Baseball (ball)

A baseball is a ball used in the sport of the same name. The ball features a rubber or cork center, wrapped in yarn, and covered, in the words of the Official Baseball Rules "with two strips of white horsehide or cowhide, tightly stitched together." It is 9–9​1⁄4 inches (229–235 mm) in circumference (​2 55⁄64–​2 15⁄16 in. or 73–75 mm in diameter), with a mass of 5 to 5​1⁄4 oz. (142 to 149 g). The yarn or string used to wrap the baseball can be up to one mile (1.6 km) in length. Some are wrapped in a plastic-like covering.

A significant quality of the baseball is the stitching that holds together the covering of the ball. After a ball has been pitched, these raised stitches catch the air and cause the ball to swerve slightly on its way to the catcher. Whether the ball swerves to the right, to the left, downward, or a combination thereof, and whether it swerves sharply or gradually, depends on which direction, and how fast, the stitches have been made to spin by the pitcher. See, for example, curveball, slider, two-seam fastball, four-seam fastball, sinker, cutter.

Changeup

A changeup is a type of pitch in baseball and fastpitch softball. The changeup is the staple off-speed pitch, usually thrown to look like a fastball but arriving much more slowly to the plate. Its reduced speed coupled with its deceptive delivery is meant to confuse the batter's timing. It is meant to be thrown the same as a fastball, but farther back in the hand, which makes it release from the hand slower while still retaining the look of a fastball. A changeup is generally thrown to be 8–15 miles per hour slower than a fastball. If thrown correctly, the changeup will confuse the batter because the human eye cannot discern that the ball is coming significantly slower until it is around 30 feet from the plate. For example, a batter swinging at the ball as if it were a 90 mph fastball when it is coming in at 75 mph means they are swinging too early to hit the ball well, making the changeup very effective.

Other names include change-of-pace, Bugs Bunny change-up, the dreaded equalizer and change. The changeup is an off-speed pitch, although that term can also be used simply to mean any pitch that is slower than a fastball. In addition, before at least the second half of the twentieth century, the term "slow ball" was used to denote pitches that were not a fastball or breaking ball, which almost always meant a type of changeup. Therefore, the terms slow ball and changeup could be used interchangeably.

The changeup is analogous to the slower ball in cricket.

Clanwilliam, Manitoba

For the municipality, see the Rural Municipality of Clanwilliam

Clanwilliam, Manitoba is a community in the northern area of the Rural Municipality of Minto. The R.M. immediately north takes its name from the original community.

Clanwilliam is in a mainly agricultural area located 14 km (9 mi.) north of Minnedosa along PR 262. A post office was opened there in 1882 and was originally identified as Clan William (30-16-17W). In 1902 the post office was moved to coordinate with the Canadian National railway on 13-16-18W. The original name requested for the community by the residents was Lamontagne but Ottawa assigned the present name to honour Richard Meade, 4th Earl of Clanwilliam.

Clanwilliam is home of the Fastball team the Clanwilliam Greys. A team which was inducted into the Manitoba Softball Hall of Fame in 2013. Clanwilliam Greys 1972-77: The 1972-77 Clanwilliam Greys Fastball Team represented the 100 inhabitant village of Clanwilliam, 40 miles north of Brandon. A team in their early 20s, they dominated fastball in southern Manitoba. They were undefeated during the first two seasons in the Minnedosa and District Fastball League; and, combined with tournament games, played 90 games in 1972 and 92 games in 1973. The latter brought them $1,100.00 in tournament prize money. With several additions, they joined the Brandon Centennial Fastball League in 1973, and by 1976, they won the league title and played in the Senior 'A' provincials for the 4th consecutive year. A dominating presence in league and provincial play. The name "Greys" comes from the school in Clanwilliam that was called "Grey School"

Cut fastball

In baseball, a cut fastball or cutter is a type of fastball that breaks toward the pitcher's glove-hand side, as it reaches home plate. This pitch is somewhere between a slider and a two-seam fastball, as it is usually thrown faster than a slider but with more motion than a typical fastball. Some pitchers use a cutter to prevent hitters from expecting their regular fastballs. A common technique for throwing a cutter is to use a two-seam fastball grip with the baseball set slightly off center in the hand. A batter hitting a cutter pitch often achieves only soft contact and an easy out due to the pitch's movement keeping the ball away from the bat's sweet spot. The cutter is typically 2–5 mph slower than a pitcher's two-seam fastball. In 2010, the average pitch classified as a cutter by PITCHf/x thrown by a right-handed pitcher was 88.6 mph; the average two-seamer was 90.97 mph.

Fastball (band)

Fastball is an American rock band that formed in Austin, Texas in 1995. The band originally called themselves "Magneto U.S.A." but changed their name after signing with Hollywood Records.In 1998, their album All the Pain Money Can Buy reached platinum sales within six months of its release, and stayed on the Billboard 200 chart for a year. In addition, the group has been nominated for two Grammy Awards – Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "The Way", and Best Long Form Music Video for their promotional video "The Way". They also received five The Austin Chronicle awards: 1998's Album of the Year, Best Video, Best Single/EP, Band of the Year, and 1995's Best Pop Band.

Fastpitch softball

Fastpitch softball, also known as fastpitch or fastball, is a form of softball played commonly by women and men, though coed fast-pitch leagues also exist. The International Softball Federation (ISF) is the international governing body of softball. The ISF recognizes three pitching styles: fast pitch, "modified" fast pitch, and slow pitch. Fast pitch is considered the most competitive form of softball. It is the form of softball that was played at the Olympic Games in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008. The fast pitch style is also used in college softball and international competition.

Pitchers throw the ball with an underhand motion at speeds up to 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) for women and up to 85 miles per hour (137 km/h) for men.The pitching style of fastpitch is different from that of slowpitch softball. Pitchers in fast-pitch softball usually throw the ball using a "windmill" type of movement. In this style of pitching, the pitcher begins with his arm at the hip. A common way to be taught how to pitch is using the motions, 'repel', 'rock', 'kick', 'drag', 'toss'. The pitcher then brings the ball in a circular motion over the head, completes the circle back down at the hip, and snaps the hand. A "modified" fast pitch is identical to a "windmill" pitch except the arm is not brought over the head in a full windmill motion, but instead is brought behind the body and is then thrust directly forward for the release. Another type of pitching movement is the "figure 8". With this style, the ball is not brought over the head at all but down and behind the body and back in one smooth motion tracing out a figure eight. There are many different pitches which can be thrown, including a two-seam fastball, four-seam fastball, changeup, two different riseballs, two dropballs, curveball, offspeed, screwball, knuckleball and more. These pitches can be taught in many different styles, depending on the pitching coach's method and the player's abilities.

Catching is also a very important part of fast pitch softball. Without a fast-paced catcher, the pitcher will not succeed. The catcher needs to be able to recognize the batters, their hitting style, and the right pitches to call. If there is a bad pitch that hits the ground, the catcher needs to block it so runs do not score, and runners do not advance on the bases. And when a pitch is close to the strike-zone, catchers "frame" by pulling the ball towards the center of the plate to convince the umpires to call the pitch a strike. Catchers are protected by a chest guard, helmet, mouth guard, leg protectors, and a specialized mitt. This is due to the proximity of the batters to the catcher; it is a dangerous position so one must always be alert. Catchers are responsible for throwing runners out when they try to steal bases, meaning that a catcher must have a strong arm and a quick throw. The catcher is the brains of the team, and carries it as a whole.

The game of fastpitch softball is similar to baseball, and includes stealing bases and bunting. Unlike baseball, however, there is no "leading off" - the baserunner can only leave the base when the pitcher releases the ball. Most leagues use the "dropped third strike" rule, which allows the batter to attempt an advance to first base when the catcher fails to catch the third strike.

Forkball

The forkball is a type of pitch in baseball. Related to the split-finger fastball, the forkball is held between the first two fingers and thrown hard, snapping the wrist.

The forkball differs from the split-fingered fastball, however, in that the ball is jammed deeper between the first two fingers. The result is that the forkball is generally thrown slightly slower than the splitter, but has more of a "tumbling" action akin to the movement of a 12–6 curveball, as it will drop off the plate before it gets to the catcher's mitt.

Four-seam fastball

A four-seam fastball, also called a rising fastball, a four-seamer, or a cross-seam fastball, is a pitch in baseball. It is a member of the fastball family of pitches and is usually the hardest (i.e., fastest) ball thrown by a pitcher. The name of the pitch derives from the fact that with every rotation of the ball as it is thrown, four seams come into view. A few pitchers at the major league level can sometimes reach a pitch speed of up to 100 mph. It is often compared with the two-seam fastball.

Javier Vázquez

Javier Carlos Vázquez (born July 25, 1976) is a former Major League Baseball starting pitcher. He played for the Florida Marlins (2011), Atlanta Braves (2009), Chicago White Sox (2006–2008), Arizona Diamondbacks (2005), New York Yankees (2004, 2010), and Montreal Expos (1998–2003).

Ken Giles

Kenneth Robert Giles (born September 20, 1990) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2014, and has also played for the Houston Astros.

Exposed to baseball at an early age, Giles played it when he attended Rio Grande High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Although he was drafted to play baseball out of high school, he decided to enroll at Yavapai College, where he played until the Phillies drafted him in the seventh round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft. He quickly progressed through the Phillies' minor league system, overcoming two oblique injuries to participate in major league spring training before the 2014 season. Although he began that season in the minors, he received a promotion to the major leagues in June, making his debut on June 12. One of the team's few bright spots, Giles finished fourth in National League Rookie of the Year voting. He opened the 2015 season the team's primary setup man, but when the Phillies traded their closer, Giles assumed that role. Renowned for his fastball that can reach upwards of 100 miles per hour (160 km/h), Giles is a power pitcher who pairs his fastball with a slider to compile high strike-out rates.

Kyuji Fujikawa

Kyuji Fujikawa (藤川 球児, Fujikawa Kyūji, born July 21, 1980) is a Japanese professional baseball pitcher for the Hanshin Tigers of Nippon Professional Baseball. He previously pitched for the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball (MLB).

Fujikawa pitched in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics as well as the 2008 Beijing Olympics. A prototypical power pitcher, Fujikawa is said to have one of the most explosive fastballs in all of Japanese professional baseball and is one of Japan's premier relievers.

Pitch (baseball)

In baseball, a pitch is the act of throwing a baseball toward home plate to start a play. The term comes from the Knickerbocker Rules. Originally, the ball had to be literally "pitched" underhand, as with pitching horseshoes. Overhand throwing was not allowed until 1884.

The biomechanics of pitching have been studied extensively. The phases of throwing include windup, early cocking, late cocking, early acceleration, late acceleration, deceleration, and follow-through.Pitchers throw a variety of pitches, each of which has a slightly different velocity, trajectory, movement, hand position, wrist position and/or arm angle. These variations are introduced to confuse the batter in various ways, and ultimately aid the defensive team in getting the batter or baserunners out. To obtain variety, and therefore enhance defensive baseball strategy, the pitcher manipulates the grip on the ball at the point of release. Variations in the grip cause the seams to "catch" the air differently, thereby changing the trajectory of the ball, making it harder for the batter to hit.

The selection of which pitch to use can depend on a wide variety of factors including the type of hitter who is being faced; whether there are any base runners; how many outs have been made in the inning; and the current score.

Sinker (baseball)

In baseball, a sinker or sinking fastball is a type of fastball pitch which has significant downward and horizontal movement and is known for inducing ground balls. Pitchers who use the sinker tend to rely on it heavily and do not need to change pitch speeds as much as other pitchers do because the sinking action induces weak bat contact. Other pitchers normally change pitch speeds to achieve this effect. The sinker is much more often used by right-handed than left-handed pitchers.

Slider

In baseball, a slider is a breaking ball pitch that tails laterally and down through the batter's hitting zone; it is thrown with less speed than a fastball but greater than the pitcher's curveball.

The break on the pitch is shorter than that of the curveball, and the release technique is 'between' those of a curveball and a fastball. The slider is similar to the cutter, a fastball pitch, but is more of a breaking ball than the cutter. The slider is also known as a yakker or a snapper.

Spitball

A spitball is an illegal baseball pitch in which the ball has been altered by the application of saliva, petroleum jelly, or some other foreign substance.

This technique alters the wind resistance and weight on one side of the ball, causing it to move in an atypical manner. It may also cause the ball to "slip" out of the pitcher's fingers without the usual spin that accompanies a pitch. In this sense, a spitball can be thought of as a fastball with knuckleball action.

Alternative names for the spitball are spitter, mud ball, shine ball, supersinker, vaseline ball (because originally, Vaseline was used to give the ball a little more break), and emery ball. Note that a spitball technically differs from a standard emery ball, in which the surface of the ball is cut or abraded.

Split-finger fastball

A split-finger fastball or splitter is a pitch in baseball derived from the forkball. It is named after the technique of putting the index and middle finger on different sides of the ball, or "splitting" them. When thrown hard, it appears to be a fastball to the batter, but as the pitch nears homeplate it then appears to the batter and observers to suddenly "drop off the table" towards home plate—that is, it suddenly moves downwards, towards the dirt. Despite the use of the word fastball, it is used as an off-speed pitch.

Starting pitcher

In baseball (hardball or softball), a starting pitcher or starter is the first pitcher in the game for each team. A pitcher is credited with a game started if they throw the first pitch to the opponent's first batter of a game. Starting pitchers are expected to pitch for a significant portion of the game, although their ability to do this depends on many factors, including effectiveness, stamina, health, and strategy.

A starting pitcher in professional baseball usually rests three, four, or five days after pitching a game before pitching another. Therefore, most professional baseball teams have four, five or six starting pitchers on their rosters. These pitchers, and the sequence in which they pitch, is known as the rotation. In modern baseball, a five-man rotation is most common.In contrast, a pitcher who enters the game after the first pitch of the game is a relief pitcher. Ocassionally, an opening pitcher is used for only a few innings, and is replaced by a long reliever or a pitcher who would typically be a starting pitcher.

The Way (Fastball song)

"The Way" is a song by the American alternative rock band Fastball. It was released in February 1998 as the lead single from their second studio album, All the Pain Money Can Buy.

"The Way" peaked at number one on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart in April and remained there for seven weeks. The song also reached number one in Canada on the week of June 15 and topped the RPM Alternative 30 chart for four weeks. Worldwide, the song peaked at number seven in Sweden, number 14 in Australia, number 15 in Norway and number 21 on the UK Singles Chart.

The song was voted by VH1 as one of the 100 Greatest Songs of the 1990s, ranking number 94. It was remixed about a year after its original release by Italian DJ Gigi D'Agostino, in his album L'Amour Toujours. Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song for their 2007 video game Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Two-seam fastball

A two-seam fastball is a pitch in baseball and a variant of the straight fastball. The pitch has the speed of a fastball and can also include late breaking action caused by varying the pressure of the index and middle fingers on the ball.

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