Selasa, 28 Maret 2017

Opening Weekend Features Intriguing Match Ups To Start The 2017 MLB Season

The beginning of a new baseball season is needed each anticipation is added after the controversial presidential elections and a month-long winter months, Major League Baseball schedule maker has provided fans with some interesting match-ups in the series opener slate. This game including a battle between two old rivals to be broadcast on national television.

Although they will have an important game and not one of the match-up will be the first history as the series opener last year. For the first time the two clubs met in the World Series previously faced Opening Day in 2016, when the New York Mets play the Kansas City Royals at Kaufman Stadium.

The team that won the World Series last October, Chicago Cubs, did not have to open the 2017 season against the American League champion Cleveland Indians. North Siders, however, began to play their bitter rivals, the Cardinals.
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St. Louis Cubs battle on the first Sunday of the season, night games broadcast on ESPN. The game between the two top teams in the NL Central division will become more interesting in that the free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler left Chicago during the winter to be the leadoff hitter for the Cardinals.

Another exciting season opener has two teams of the National League West division, the Giants and Diamondbacks. The first game of the series hole Cy Young Award winner, as the left-hander Madison Bumgarner took the mound for San Francisco while right-hander Zack gets the start for Arizona Greineke.

Over in the American League, the most interesting appetizer is Baltimore. Orioles face the Blue Jays, who got rid of them in the eleventh inning Wild Card match ended without Baltimore manager Buck Schowalter take advantage of the All-Star closer Zach Britton.

Toronto then proceed to the next round only to be eliminated in five games in the championship series by the Indians, which itself has an interesting series to open the 2017 Pennant winners Cleveland contrary to the Rangers, a team that boasted the best record in the junior circuit last year.

One series between the league is on the slate for the first weekend in April, as the Pirates host last season's AL East champion Boston. It marked the second time in history that the Red Sox made a visit to Pittsburgh, unique stat if we assume the existence of a second long storied organization.

Kamis, 09 Februari 2017

Fastball 2016 Film Reviews, With Kevin Costner narrating

Fastballbsf.blogspot.com - Hank Aaron and Derek Jeter, with Kevin Costner narrating, lead a cast of baseball legends, scientists who explore the magic within the 396 milliseconds it takes a fastball to reach home plate, and decipher who threw the fastest pitch ever. 
Hasil gambar untuk fastball 2016 review

A baseball documentary for old-timers and young analytics acolytes alike, “Fastball” sets out, as its nominal goal, to deduce who threw history’s all-time fastest pitch. That intention, however, is merely the pretext for an alternately mythologizing and scientific inquiry into the art of pitching — a seemingly simple act that, over the course of baseball’s century-plus lifespan, has taken on legendary status. That’s especially true of those blessed with velocity at which to marvel — not always easy an easy task, at least for those ensconced in the batter’s box. With an all-star lineup of hall-of-famers waxing nostalgic and poetic about their time on the diamond, writer-director Jonathan Hock’s documentary has a thrilling pop that should help it strike a competitive chord with anyone even remotely enchanted by our national pastime.
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Narrated by Kevin Costner in a reverent “Field of Dreams”-style tone, Hock’s film divides itself into chapters, each of them focused on a famed fastballer, beginning with Rich “Goose” Gossage, the handlebar-mustached flamethrower whose enormous size and nasty attitude enhanced his ability to intimidate batters. Throughout “Fastball,” a pitcher’s physicality and demeanor are presented as equally key components of his fearsomeness, as was also true of St. Louis Cardinals great Bob Gibson. A towering African-American, Gibson derived his power from anger born from a lifetime of enduring racism, and scared opponents silly simply by squinting intensely at his catcher — a move that, he admits, was actually necessitated by his poor eyesight.

Hock’s quest to locate the game’s mightiest throw begins with Walter Johnson, the early-20th-century Washington Senators pitcher who, during his heyday, was widely considered to have the fastest pitch in the world. His unofficial crown would be reconfirmed by a speed test executed via military equipment, and would last until the 1936 arrival in the big leagues of Bob Feller. With the Cleveland Indians, Feller (aka “the Heater From Van Meter”) not only became the gold standard for blazing four-seamers, but actively sought to evaluate his arm’s absolute athletic limits — culminating with another rudimentary speed-monitoring assessment that placed his pitch at a then-record 98.6 mph.

'Manchester by the Sea': An American Classic Like "On the Waterfront," "Ordinary People," and "American Beauty," "Manchester by the Sea" has the scope and impact of the great best picture winners.

Amid these history lessons, “Fastball” also profiles some of today’s most formidable starters and closers, including the Atlanta Braves’ Craig Kimbrel — the first man to ever lead the league in saves in each of his first four seasons — and the Cincinnati Reds’ Aroldis Chapman, who in 2010 notched the fastest verified MLB pitch, at a whopping 105.1 mph. Chapman’s achievement is, in and of itself, eye-opening. However, just as fascinating is the film’s suggestion (via a historian’s comments) that humanity has nearly reached its evolutionary ceiling with regards to throwing fast — how else to explain that, while Jesse Owens’ once-unbreakable track-and-field benchmarks are now routinely bested by high schoolers, MLBers are only, at their peak, equaling their famed predecessors?

In a roundtable chat between Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, George Brett, Al Kaline and the late Tony Gwynn, as well as in interviews with Hank Aaron, Derek Jeter, Wade Boggs, Bryce Harper and others, illustrious hitters make their picks for the fastest-throwing pitcher they ever encountered (no surprise that Sandy Koufax figures prominently in those discussions), and their anecdotes help steep the film in a lived-in sense of tradition. At the same time, however, Hock bolsters those legends’ accounts through scientific scrutiny, with physicists explaining the neuromechanical process required to hit a ball travelling at literal blink-and-you’ll-miss-it speeds, dispelling players’ commonly held belief that the greatest fastballs “rise” as they approach the plate — an effect born from the way batters visually perceive the ball — and synchronizing speed tests from different eras in order to identify the sport’s greatest flamethrower.

That investigation inevitably leads to Nolan Ryan, whose 27-year career with the New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros and Texas Rangers was marked by an astonishing seven no-hitters and 5,714 strikeouts. Ryan’s hard-throwing style is rightfully celebrated as being all the more remarkable because of his durability, with the pitcher only finally calling it quits when his elbow gave out, mid-game, at the age of 46. His amazing longevity stands in stark contrast to that of Steve Dalkowski, a ‘50s-‘60s minor leaguer (reportedly the inspiration for Tim Robbins’ “Bull Durham” character) whose fastball’s fabled speed was only matched by its wildness. A lack of control, along with an injury suffered just as he was gaining mastery over his gift, would halt Dalkowski’s career before it really began, and his story provides the film with a melancholy note about the terrible fragility of athletic skill.

Fastball” conveys its canny mathematical analysis with clean, clever graphical flourishes that smoothly align with Hock’s Ken Burns-ish nonfiction aesthetics. The result is a film that captures the underlying essence of baseball at the beginning of the 21st century: both humbly wistful and progressively cutting-edge.

Sabtu, 10 September 2016

‘Fastball’ Review: Experts Throw Some Heat by Sheri Linden

“Fastball,” a fascinating and downright lovable documentary feature by Jonathan Hock, starts with an eternal question. No, not whether Batman or Superman would win in a fight—this week’s failed blockbuster should put that one to rest—but who in the history of major league baseball has thrown the fastest fastball. To provide an answer (and yes, a definitive answer is provided) the film starts with a group of charmingly garrulous hall-of-famers, including Johnny Bench, Al Kaline, Tony Gwynn and Joe Morgan; adds individual interviews with fellow luminaries like Hank Aaron and Derek Jeter, and with such legendary pitchers as Goose Gossage (“I loved being a power pitcher—if I could change one thing in my whole career I wouldn’t change a single thing”) and the singular, inexplicable, near-indestructible Nolan Ryan.
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In what has become a data-driven game, no data about pitching speeds were available until 1912, when investigators using a primitive but ingenious machine clocked Walter “Big Train” Johnson at 122 feet per second (or 83.2 miles per hour, a unit of speed that wasn’t used at the time) and declared him the fastest pitcher ever. Bob Feller threw a ball faster than a cop on a motorcycle in 1939; his speed was judged, approximately, to be over 100 mph; a later test with more accurate equipment put it at 98.6 mph. With the advent of radar guns in the 1970s, established speeds climbed steadily toward 100 mph and slightly beyond. Given that a 100 mph pitch reaches the plate in 396 milliseconds, faster than the blink of an eye, it’s remarkable that a batter can hit one, but “Fastball” abounds with vivid descriptions of what it’s like to try. (According to Ty Cobb, Johnson’s fastball hissed as it came by like a big train.)

As if all of that isn’t interesting enough to baseball fans, “Fastball” enlists the services of a physicist to illuminate what happens in the course of a pitch, and exactly how fast it happened in the past. This leads to upward adjustments of earlier stats that represented the speed of the ball at or near home plate, rather than at what has become the standard measurement of 50 feet from the plate. Thus Bob Feller’s 98.6 mph becomes 107.6 mph. And the fastest speed ever? In 1974 an infrared device that was a precursor to the radar gun measured one of Mr. Ryan’s pitches at a record-breaking 100.8 mph. Adjusted thusly, that becomes 108.5 mph, a speed as unthinkable as it is unhittable.

“Fastball” is narrated by Kevin Costner, and it’s hard to separate his voice here from what he said and how he sounded as the catcher Crash Davis in “Bull Durham,” the best baseball movie ever. Why try, though?

Jumat, 09 September 2016

Blink and you’ll miss it: Fastball will change the way you watch the game

They say baseball is a game of inches, but it’s also measured in milliseconds — the 450 it takes for a 90-mile-an-hour fastball to cover the distance from pitcher to plate, vs. the 396 for a hundred-miler. For the batter, that’s the difference between barely hittable and didn’t-even-see-it.

Just in time for baseball season — the Jays’ first game is April 3 in Tampa — Jonathan Hock’s gripping documentary drills deep into the lore, legend and science behind the fastball. Perhaps the most startling statistic: in a century that has seen athletes break records in speed, endurance and distance, the fastest pitch hasn’t changed much.

Archival footage mixed with modern interviews, and narrated by (who else?) Kevin Costner, takes viewers from Walter Johnson’s 122 feet-per-second pitches — the first to be scientifically measured, in 1912 — through Bob Feller (in the 1940s he threw pitches opposite a speeding police motorcycle) to Nolan Ryan, whose 27 seasons broke all kinds of records, including speed. The very last professional fastball he threw, at the age of 46, was clocked at 98 mph.

Along the way are interviews with such phenoms as Bob “Hoot” Gibson, whose earned-run-average in 1968 was a record-setting 1.12; Cuba’s Aroldis Chapman, who once registered 105 on the radar gun; and Steve Dalkowski, whose bullet pitches were hampered by a lack of accuracy.

The film also examines the physics and neurology behind the great match-ups. PhD Gregg Franklin tackles the belief among ballplayers that a fastball will actually rise on its way to the plate. Not true, he says; it’s an optical illusion created because the ball’s great speed, plus some lift from backspin, causes it to drop less than our brains expect.

Whether you believe that or not – many players swear by what they perceive, physics be damned – Fastball will change the way you watch the game, without ever diminishing the sport’s mystery and grandeur. 3.5 stars

Fastball opens March 25 at the Carlton in Toronto, and on demand.
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Kamis, 08 September 2016

Film Review: Fastball by Frank Lovece

Specialty Releases - If a curve ball, a knuckleball or a slider are show horses, the fastball is a thoroughbred. It's the epitome of beautiful simplicity, and of simple beauty, as it races 60 feet and six inches from the pitcher's mound to home plate—at its best, too fast for the brain to fully comprehend, where a batter's instinct and muscle memory alone must suffice.

That's not baseball lore between aficionados on a sultry summer's day. That's science. There's a 50-millisecond difference, explains Carnegie Mellon University cognition scientist Dr. Timothy Verstynen, between a 92-miles-per-hour fastball and a 100-miles-per-hour fastball, "an eternity in this kind of [brain] process." Each takes less than half a second to reach the plate, but at the slower speed your brain gets 25 times the amount of information needed to make a decision of when and where to swing the bat. "It's getting close to that range of where it's physiologically impossible," says Verstynen, "to actually plan a voluntary action…"

And with Fastball, produced in association with Major League Baseball, your brain may well get 25 times the amount of information as in many other documentaries. Narrated by Field of Dreams and Bull Durham star Kevin Costner and divided into more than a dozen fascinating chapters, it chases down one of baseball's primal questions: Who is the faster thrower, alive or dead? The filmmakers examine that question with the help of both Hall of Famers and modern-day stars, from Hank Aaron and Johnny Bench to Brandon Phillips and Justin Verlander, plus the legendarily tragic Steve Dalkowski, a smattering of scientists, and NBC Sports columnist Joe Posnanski, author of The Soul of Baseball. The result is a lively solemnity—don't you love how baseball can give you things like that?—that doesn't disappoint and even gives an answer using that thing baseball lovers love best: numbers.

The quest for the number attached to the fastest fastball began with the celebrated 1907-27 Washington Senators hurler Walter Johnson—nicknamed “The Big Train,” it is said, because Ty Cobb compared the sound of his fastball to that of a train whizzing by. Posnanski believes Johnson, the dominant pitcher of his era, changed the game by making the fastball larger than life. And fittingly, he was the first to have his fastball's speed measured scientifically, with Remington Arms, experienced in calculating munitions speed, clocking Johnson at 122 feet per second, or 83.2 mph. That doesn't sound massively impressive until physicist Dr. Gregg Franklin explains that the speed was measured at a spot that would be behind home plate, and not 50 feet in front of home, where such measurements are taken today. Since a ball slows down as it travels, Franklin computes Johnson's fastball as 93.8 mph by today's standard.

We see newsreel clips of 1930s-to-1950s legend Bob Feller, “The Heater from Van Meter,” throwing a pitch faster than a cop racing full-speed on a motorcycle—what measurements today would calculate as a blazingly hot, almost impossible to comprehend 107.6 mph, probably the second-fastest throw in the history of the human race except for... well, no spoilers.

Segments also are devoted to Aroldis Chapman, Bob Gibson, Goose Gossage, Craig Kimbrel, Nolan Ryan, the late Sandy Koufax and, most heartbreakingly, Steve Dalkowski, in the chapter "The Fastest That Never Was." A minor-league legend who threw so hard he once split a catcher's shin guard, he partly inspired both Bull Durham's Nuke LaLoosh and writer George Plimpton's Sidd Finch.

"He was a legend and you'd hear all these stories about him," Ryan recalls. Dalkowski unfortunately had as little vertical control over the ball as he had abundance of heat, but he persevered—and in 1962 remarkably struck out 104 batters while walking only 11. When word came out he was being called to the majors, the baseball-card company Topps included him on a 1962 rookie all-stars card. But on March 23, 1963, in a pre-season exhibition game for the Baltimore Orioles, with two out in the third inning, Dalkowski came off the mound to field a bunt and felt a pop in his elbow. That was it. He was sent back to the minors to recuperate, but the injury—and longstanding alcoholism the documentary whitewashes—would end his career. Interviewed here, in his mid-70s, Dalkowski can barely say a word, can perhaps barely comprehend. But it is poignant, not exploitative, and for everything he lost, he seems gratified to be remembered.

Jesse Owens' track records are now the stuff of high-school runners. The human body's capacity for athleticism improves over generations. Yet the record for the fastest fastball has remained for decades, and it's tempting to imagine it might never be topped. To which any diehard can only reply, "Wait'll next year.”

Click here for cast and crew information.

Review Fastball (10/10) by Tony Medley

Runtime 84 minutes. OK for children. This is a fascinating movie, especially for someone who played baseball at some time in their lifetime. I was a pitcher outfielder in high school. We had a lousy team. In my senior year, I got the start against Mater Dei, a longtime established school, who was led by the player who was the CIF player the year that year, pitcher Tony Ankerson.

Ankerson had a fastball between 85 and 90 miles an hour and pitched no-hitters virtually every time out. I batted second in the lineup. Our first hitter popped out. I came up and worked the count to 3-2. I didn’t know if Ankerson had a curveball (I, myself, didn’t have a fastball and threw nothing but curves and knucklers which nobody in high school at that time had ever seen so I was effective), but I hadn’t seen one yet and I figured he was coming with yet another fastball. I was right and I swung. Even though the guy was lightning fast, I was a little early but I really hit it solidly, over the left fielder’s head for home run, the only home run Ankerson allowed that year.

The result of this was that I really thought that anybody can hit a fastball (I got a single later in the game), no matter how fast. But this film changed my mind because great players, like George Brett, tell what it’s like to go up against a 100 mph fastball. They say that it’s a lot different than going up against a 92 mph fastball.

The film goes into a lot of fascinating science, pointing out that the difference between a 92 mile-per-hour fastball and a 100 mph fastball is 4 feet or 50 milliseconds and that is a huge difference when the ball is only traveling less than 60 feet.

But there’s really more to this movie than that. Lots of players are interviewed. One, New York Yankee fire-balling  reliever Goose Gossage said he was never more scared than in the 1978 playoff game against the Red Sox. He said he was shaking as he trotted onto the field (he got Hall of Fame Red Sox outfielder Carl Yastremski to pop out to end the game and send the Yankees to the World Series). But he then showed his supreme confidence in himself, saying, “If I could change one thing in my career, I wouldn’t change a single thing, even the balls that went for home runs.”

Ty Cobb said about Walter Johnson, “He threw the ball so hard it hissed as it came by.”

The film tries to determine who is the fastest pitcher of all time, narrowing it down to Walter Johnson, Bob Feller, Nolan Ryan, and present day Cincinnati Reds Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman. It also tells the fascinating story of Steve Dalkowski, whom everyone agrees was the faster pitcher of all time. Steve couldn't get the ball over the plate so never pitched in the big leagues, but there's more to his story than that.

They were all clocked, even Johnson, and the film analyses the clocking and comes up with the fastest. Far be it from me to be a spoiler!

I’ve seen lots of baseball clips but there are clips in this film I’ve never seen, including some fine clips of the legendary Johnson.

This is a film that no baseball fan should miss. (Available on Amazon Video).

Rabu, 07 September 2016

Film Review: ‘Fastball’

free full movie downloads “Fastball” conveys its canny mathematical analysis with clean, clever graphical flourishes that smoothly align with Hock’s Ken Burns-ish nonfiction aesthetics. The result is a film that captures the underlying essence of baseball at the beginning of the 21st century: both humbly wistful and progressively cutting-edge. Jonathan Hock's doc features an all-star lineup of hall-of-famers waxing nostalgic and poetic about their time on the diamond.

A baseball documentary for old-timers and young analytics acolytes alike, “Fastball” sets out, as its nominal goal, to deduce who threw history’s all-time fastest pitch. That intention, however, is merely the pretext for an alternately mythologizing and scientific inquiry into the art of pitching — a seemingly simple act that, over the course of baseball’s century-plus lifespan, has taken on legendary status. That’s especially true of those blessed with velocity at which to marvel — not always easy an easy task, at least for those ensconced in the batter’s box. With an all-star lineup of hall-of-famers waxing nostalgic and poetic about their time on the diamond, writer-director Jonathan Hock’s documentary has a thrilling pop that should help it strike a competitive chord with anyone even remotely enchanted by our national pastime.

Narrated by Kevin Costner in a reverent “Field of Dreams”-style tone, Hock’s film divides itself into chapters, each of them focused on a famed fastballer, beginning with Rich “Goose” Gossage, the handlebar-mustached flamethrower whose enormous size and nasty attitude enhanced his ability to intimidate batters. Throughout “Fastball,” a pitcher’s physicality and demeanor are presented as equally key components of his fearsomeness, as was also true of St. Louis Cardinals great Bob Gibson. A towering African-American, Gibson derived his power from anger born from a lifetime of enduring racism, and scared opponents silly simply by squinting intensely at his catcher — a move that, he admits, was actually necessitated by his poor eyesight.

Hock’s quest to locate the game’s mightiest throw begins with Walter Johnson, the early-20th-century Washington Senators pitcher who, during his heyday, was widely considered to have the fastest pitch in the world. His unofficial crown would be reconfirmed by a speed test executed via military equipment, and would last until the 1936 arrival in the big leagues of Bob Feller. With the Cleveland Indians, Feller (aka “the Heater From Van Meter”) not only became the gold standard for blazing four-seamers, but actively sought to evaluate his arm’s absolute athletic limits — culminating with another rudimentary speed-monitoring assessment that placed his pitch at a then-record 98.6 mph.

Amid these history lessons, “Fastball” also profiles some of today’s most formidable starters and closers, including the Atlanta Braves’ Craig Kimbrel — the first man to ever lead the league in saves in each of his first four seasons — and the Cincinnati Reds’ Aroldis Chapman, who in 2010 notched the fastest verified MLB pitch, at a whopping 105.1 mph. Chapman’s achievement is, in and of itself, eye-opening. However, just as fascinating is the film’s suggestion (via a historian’s comments) that humanity has nearly reached its evolutionary ceiling with regards to throwing fast — how else to explain that, while Jesse Owens’ once-unbreakable track-and-field benchmarks are now routinely bested by high schoolers, MLBers are only, at their peak, equaling their famed predecessors?

In a roundtable chat between Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, George Brett, Al Kaline and the late Tony Gwynn, as well as in interviews with Hank Aaron, Derek Jeter, Wade Boggs, Bryce Harper and others, illustrious hitters make their picks for the fastest-throwing pitcher they ever encountered (no surprise that Sandy Koufax figures prominently in those discussions), and their anecdotes help steep the film in a lived-in sense of tradition. At the same time, however, Hock bolsters those legends’ accounts through scientific scrutiny, with physicists explaining the neuromechanical process required to hit a ball travelling at literal blink-and-you’ll-miss-it speeds, dispelling players’ commonly held belief that the greatest fastballs “rise” as they approach the plate — an effect born from the way batters visually perceive the ball — and synchronizing speed tests from different eras in order to identify the sport’s greatest flamethrower.

That investigation inevitably leads to Nolan Ryan, whose 27-year career with the New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros and Texas Rangers was marked by an astonishing seven no-hitters and 5,714 strikeouts. Ryan’s hard-throwing style is rightfully celebrated as being all the more remarkable because of his durability, with the pitcher only finally calling it quits when his elbow gave out, mid-game, at the age of 46. His amazing longevity stands in stark contrast to that of Steve Dalkowski, a ‘50s-‘60s minor leaguer (reportedly the inspiration for Tim Robbins’ “Bull Durham” character) whose fastball’s fabled speed was only matched by its wildness. A lack of control, along with an injury suffered just as he was gaining mastery over his gift, would halt Dalkowski’s career before it really began, and his story provides the film with a melancholy note about the terrible fragility of athletic skill.