Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Breakdown: Best Ever

I messed around for about half an hour trying to get this thing on to my computer and then to youtube or dailymotion or something, but whatever.

I'll spoil this one for you: Barry Bonds is, and always was, a total fucking freakshow, as evidenced multiple times in the above video.  It really is some kind of bullshit that this at-bat predates pitchF/X data, because I'd love some confirmation about the velocity and location of pretty much all of these pitches.

The video in question happened in April of 2004-- the height of the steroid era.  Barry Bonds, in the three seasons preceding this video, hit 73, 45 and 45 HR's respectively.  His worst season of those three was 8.9 rWAR, and he walked a paltry 148 times.  He won the MVP, naturally.  You get where I'm going here; the dude was playing better than practically anybody ever, and was doing so at the age of 39.

Bonds' adversary in this case is a good ole Canadian boy, Eric Gagne.  Gagne had just come off a pretty astonishing season himself, in 2003.  A 1.20 ERA, 55 saves, 15 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9.  4.0 H/9!!!!!  I talked quite a bit about how ridiculous Craig Kimbrel was this year, and Eric Gagne was arguably better (depending on how much you care about the extra 20 IP).

Any way you slice it, this is NL MVP vs. NL Cy Young, head to head.

Pitch 1: Bonds gets around a 96MPH fastball to foul it off.  Pretty impressive.  0-1.

Pitch 2: 98MPH (99 on the stadium) 2-seamer, right on the inside corner.  The fuck are you going to do with that?  0-2.

Pitch 3: Knee-buckling curve that juuuuuust misses the outside corner.  Bonds somehow lays off doesn't even come close to budging. 1-2

Pitch 4: 98 MPH fastball up and in.  Probably a purpose pitch.  2-2

Pitch 5: 98 MPH fastball up that Bonds take a mighty, mighty hack at and fouls off.  2-2

Pitch 6: 99 MPH fastball (that apparently came up as 101MPH on the stadium gun) that Bonds is early on.  Early.  On 101 MPH.  And he crushed it.  Early on a 101MPH fastball, and he hit it 500 feet. 2-2

Pitch 7: 99 MPH (100MPH on stadium gun) fastball taken out for a homer to the deepest part of a big ballpark that suppresses offense.  For #662 of his career.

I'm very grateful to have seen this video.  Hat tip to KyleB of drivelinebaseball for this one.

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