April 11, 2010

Promising Japanese Knuckleballer Comes Stateside

You’ll hear plenty of proponents of taller and taller pitchers. Closer to the plate at the release point, they’ll say. Gives the hitter less time to think, they’ll say.

While I’ve got my doubts about how much thinking hitters do in any event, I’ll concede that a couple extra inches to your stride will, technically, make you closer to the plate when you release the ball, which would, theoretically, make your fastball look a little faster. But when you’re a knuckleball pitcher, is it really any benefit?

In fact, could you really cross a batter up with a completely surprising angle? Say…about five feet off the ground?

Eri Yoshida, an 5′, 114 lb, 18-year-old Japanese pitcher, signed with the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League and will report to spring training next month. Also, she’s a chica.

Photo via Knuckle Curve on everyjoe.com/knucklecurve

The Tim Wakefield enthusiast is the first female pitcher to play professionally in the U.S. since Ila Borders retired ten years ago. I feel like less of a woman for never having heard of Ila Borders, but I’ll try to redeem myself now with redoubled enthusiasm for the Outlaws. Go Chico Outlaws!

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