If you’re reading a post about baseball to start your Thursday morning procrastinating there’s a good chance that at some point in your life you’ve been at a bar with one of those punching bag machines. You know what I’m talking about, it looks like a huge speed bag and you put in a dollar or whatever and it drops down and you try to hit it as hard as possible.
In order to get the highest score — a 999 — you have to freaking whack this thing like Ivan Drago. While I’m sure bartenders hate those machines like they loathe a coked up bachelor party coming in to watch the UFC card, it never ceases to amaze when a person knocks the bag with enough force that, if there was another digit on the display, the haymaker would’ve registered somewhere in the 1,500s.
I don’t know what it is about looking at a radar gun that’s so impressive, but it’s baffling how mesmerizing it is. And it feels like MLB has finally figured that out.
Whether the technology isn’t available, or baseball’s marketing gurus thought that sepia-toned photos of mitts and bats would suffice, it was a smart move to contextualize the impressiveness of baseball players’ athletic feats.
May I present to you Oneil Cruz, a Brock Samson-ian rookie for the Pittsburgh Pirates who broke the record for hardest hit baseball ever recorded Wednesday with another Cruz Missile.
Are you fucking kidding me? One-hundred and twenty-two point four miles per hour? Have you ever been in a Dodge Stratus when it topped 100 MPH? The car is rattling so much you think every bolt is going to unscrew and you’re going to be left skidding across I-70 on a frame.
Rip Cruz all you want for not sprinting out of the box. Either he thought the baseball was leaving the park, was going to ricochet off the wall and bounce back to home plate before he made a turn at first base, or was going to collapse a support beam at PNC Park.
The second piece of statisical evidence comes from Reds outfielder Aristides Aquino, who, at 6-foot-4, wasn’t tall enough for J.T. Realmuto’s double off the wall at Citizens Bank Park, but responded by firing a 99 MPH throw from deep right field to nab Rhys Hopkins at home.
Gunning down a base runner at home from just in front of the warning track is always impressive. That said, it becomes infinitely more spectacular when you learn he threw the ball at a speed that would make veteran pitchers jealous.
Humans are simple animals. We need to see the meter hit 999 before we’re dazzled. Pull at the nostalgia strings all you want, nothing is as effective as a radar gun.
“You’re born, you take shit. You get out in the world, you take more shit. You climb a little higher, you take less shit. Till one day you’re up in the rarefied atmosphere and you’ve forgotten what shit even looks like.” — Eddie Temple, Layer Cake
The PGA Tour is upping its payouts in response to the LIV Tour poaching players, and as much as I despise Phil Mickelson and his band of possessed elephants, they enacted change. It came at the cost of their integrity and legacy, and even though PGA commissioner Jay Monahan had a cheek full of feces, if you’ve ever seen Layer Cake, you know everyone dies.