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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Brandon Belt sets MLB record, sees 21 pitches in AB before lining out

The sequence was Foul-Ball-Swinging Strike-Foul-Foul-Ball-Foul-Foul-Ball-Foul-Foul-Foul-Foul-Foul-Foul-Foul-Foul-Foul-Foul-Foul-Lineout.

There were also 4 pickoff throws to first during the plate appearance.

Nasty Nate Posted: April 24, 2018 at 02:29 PM | 40 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brandon belt

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   1. Swedish Chef Posted: April 24, 2018 at 09:24 AM (#5658888)
Comment
   2. Swedish Chef Posted: April 24, 2018 at 09:31 AM (#5658897)
I was just curious if this buried story would show up in the sidebar if I commented.
   3. BDC Posted: April 24, 2018 at 09:36 AM (#5658901)
Rob Manfred now considering new rule: any AB that goes more than five pitches will immediately be decided by rock/paper/scissors.
   4. SoSH U at work Posted: April 24, 2018 at 10:52 AM (#5658952)
If I'm not mistaken, it's only an MLB record in the sense that for much of MLB's history, we don't know how many pitches a lot of plate appearances lasted. Old Aches and Pains might have longer times at bat, for example.

Still very cool, particularly combined with lengthy PAs in his next two trips to the plate.
   5. Rally Posted: April 24, 2018 at 10:52 AM (#5658953)
It's a record since 1988, when pitch records were first kept. Probably not an all-time record but I have not yet found any evidence to back up that assumption.

Looking at the walk/strikeout records of guys like Max Bishop, or one of the Eddies, or John McGraw. Going way back to when you needed 9 balls for a walk (sounds very difficult), a 21 pitch PA was probably not that unusual.
   6. Endless Trash Posted: April 24, 2018 at 11:03 AM (#5658963)
Yeah but in those days a 21 pitch at bat probably took 2 minutes.

Wow, a 13 minute at bat. Manfred is going to lose his mind.
   7. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 24, 2018 at 11:08 AM (#5658969)
I recall reading that there was a 24-pitch Luis Aparicio at-bat. Unless it was Appling and I have my Ap_____ names mixed up.

Maybe it was Bob Apodaca.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 24, 2018 at 11:38 AM (#5659003)
Wow, a 13 minute at bat. Manfred is going to lose his mind.

As well he should. 21 pitches should take at most 7 minutes. 20 seconds between pitches is more than ample.
   9. Man o' Schwar Posted: April 24, 2018 at 11:40 AM (#5659006)
I caught part of PTI yesterday, and Wilbon was outraged by this AB, calling it symptomatic of everything that's wrong with baseball today. It was the strangest possible take.

Ridiculous. I love long at bats. I can still remember someone on the Dodgers going about 15 pitches deep against the Cubs awhile back, then smoking a double down the line. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.
   10. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 24, 2018 at 11:49 AM (#5659018)
Yeah - seems highly unlikely it's actually the record, just the only verifiable record.

If I'm not mistaken, it's only an MLB record in the sense that for much of MLB's history, we don't know how many pitches a lot of plate appearances lasted. Old Aches and Pains might have longer times at bat, for example.


I have a very, very vague recollection from some forgotten baseball book about a possibly apocryphal tale about... someone... purposely fouling off a bunch of pitches over a dispute with a skinflint owner who complained about the cost of lost baseballs.

I always had it in my mind that it was Appling/Comiskey - but a quick check of timelines leads me to believe I'm not remembering correctly, as Appling overlapped with Comiskey only during his first two abbreviated seasons. Might be Aparicio and one of the latter day Comsikeys - but that overlap is relatively small (~3 years or so, I think), too.

EDIT: To clarify - Charles Comiskey died in 1931 and I think his widow took team ownership for a while, and then eventually, sons... but I think the Comiskey ownership between Charles and the last of them before selling (1959, I think?) was relatively caretakerish.
   11. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: April 24, 2018 at 11:58 AM (#5659024)
Dave Smith's year with the Chicks was before they started keeping track, but I'll bet he has the record.
   12. Stormy JE Posted: April 24, 2018 at 12:01 PM (#5659031)
I caught part of PTI yesterday,
Why?
   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 24, 2018 at 12:04 PM (#5659033)
I dunno, I'm torn on this sort of thing (and I know I'm probably in a very small minority around here). I do think, in principle, there should be some "sh*t or get off the pot" limit, where a batter shouldn't be allowed to keep flicking foul balls until he gets the pitch he wants. After all, that's what the strike zone is for in the first place, so the batter can't say "not that one, not that one, not that one..." endlessly. But, the last thing the game needs at this point is more strikeouts, so I don't think I would support any limit that would make a meaningful difference. The number of grossly extended at-bats is small enough that it's not really an issue anyway. Better to enact the pitch clock and compress all ABs.
   14. stig-tossled,hornswoggled gef the talking mongoose Posted: April 24, 2018 at 12:04 PM (#5659035)
I caught part of PTI yesterday,

Why?


Detectives believe alcohol was involved.
   15. flournoy Posted: April 24, 2018 at 12:39 PM (#5659066)
If I'm not mistaken, it's only an MLB record in the sense that for much of MLB's history, we don't know how many pitches a lot of plate appearances lasted. Old Aches and Pains might have longer times at bat, for example.


To be technical, achievements that were not recorded are not given consideration as "records," by definition. So this is a record.
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: April 24, 2018 at 12:44 PM (#5659071)


To be technical, achievements that were not recorded are not given consideration as "records," by definition. So this is a record.

"Record" has more than one definition!
   17. Mefisto Posted: April 24, 2018 at 02:16 PM (#5659160)
Belt has a long way to go before he catches The Kid Who Batted 1.000.
   18. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: April 24, 2018 at 02:17 PM (#5659162)
Belt has a long way to go before he catches The Kid Who Batted 1.000.


Dave King!!
   19. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 24, 2018 at 02:20 PM (#5659169)
I do think, in principle, there should be some "sh*t or get off the pot" limit, where a batter shouldn't be allowed to keep flicking foul balls until he gets the pitch he wants. After all, that's what the strike zone is for in the first place, so the batter can't say "not that one, not that one, not that one..." endlessly.

I don't think MLBers can so easily foul pitches off, as you seem to think.

Belt did a great job staying alive, and it was an impressive at bat.
   20. bunyon Posted: April 24, 2018 at 02:38 PM (#5659194)
Yeah, fouling off pitches is not a skill. As far as I know, only one batter in MLB history has been reputed to have been able to foul off pitches at will and that is probably half myth. Otherwise, you would see batters doing this all the time instead of striking out in four pitches like so many do today.

36.4 seconds per pitch. Waaaaaaay too long.
   21. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 24, 2018 at 02:43 PM (#5659204)
Yeah, fouling off pitches is not a skill. As far as I know, only one batter in MLB history has been reputed to have been able to foul off pitches at will and that is probably half myth. Otherwise, you would see batters doing this all the time instead of striking out in four pitches like so many do today.
Eh, not all of them all of the time, of course, but it seems like a lot of them can do it intentionally at least some of the time. I would argue that the strikeouts may well decrease if players decided to try to foul off more pitches rather than going for hard contact - not that that would necessarily be beneficial for them.
   22. sotapop Posted: April 24, 2018 at 03:04 PM (#5659223)
Joe Pos wrote about the Appling legend yesterday. TL; DR: inconclusive. But it's a fun read, with lots of great stories and accounts of big-name pitchers cursing out Appling for trying to wear them out.
   23. Howie Menckel Posted: April 24, 2018 at 03:26 PM (#5659244)
Richie Ashburn also was known as a foul-ball baller
"Fouling off 10 in a row was not an uncommon feat for Richie...

"On August 17, 1957 Ashburn and the Phils were hosting the New York Giants and Richie hit a foul ball into the stands and unfortunately, it struck the face of Alice Roth, wife of the sports editor for the Philadelphia Bulletin Earl Roth, who was there with her two grandsons. The foul ball broke Mrs. Roth’s nose and there was blood everywhere. Play on the field stopped as even the players watched the commotion in the stands as medical personnel rushed to her aid.

Dazed and shocked Roth was put on a stretcher as play resumed and Richie took his place in the batter’s box. On the very first pitch to Ashburn, he again fouled it off into the stands hitting Alice Roth on her knee as she was carried off on the stretcher."
   24. Ziggy's screen name Posted: April 24, 2018 at 03:33 PM (#5659249)
Long at bats are fun! They're not a problem. Long games are fun too! Also not a problem. It would be great to see your team win an 18 inning marathon by having tomorrow's starting pitcher (pinch hitting for today's last reliever), lining a walk-off double into the gap after a 36 pitch at bat.

The problem is SLOW at bats and SLOW games.
   25. Rally Posted: April 24, 2018 at 04:00 PM (#5659271)
The number of grossly extended at-bats is small enough that it's not really an issue anyway. Better to enact the pitch clock and compress all ABs.


Yeah, it's a rare occurrence so why get bothered about it? Players do not have the ability to foul balls off at will. If they tried to do it most would have been off by an inch somewhere in those last 11 pitches, and an inch difference from a foul ball is a strikeout. If they were so good they would never be off by an inch, then they are good enough to put a ball in the strike zone into play, and hard, when they want to. So why not just do that?

I once had a very long AB, probably 15-16 pitches, against a knuckleballer. I was not trying to. I could hit the thing, just not squarely so it was one foul after another. I think I eventually struck out.
   26. Batman Posted: April 24, 2018 at 04:14 PM (#5659289)
Ridiculous. I love long at bats. I can still remember someone on the Dodgers going about 15 pitches deep against the Cubs awhile back, then smoking a double down the line. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.
It sounds like Alex Cora's at bat, except better than you remember. He saw 18 pitches and hit 14 foul balls before he homered instead of doubling.
   27. Bhaakon Posted: April 24, 2018 at 07:10 PM (#5659459)
Players do not have the ability to foul balls off at will.


I'm pretty sure they could foul off balls at a fairly high success rate if they wanted to. Not enough to produce 20 pitch at bats at will, but enough to make some kind of measurable difference if they focused on it. They just don't because of some combination of unwritten rules and it being a bad strategy.
   28. eric Posted: April 24, 2018 at 07:52 PM (#5659490)
A player being able to hit foul balls at will means that a player has either a) strong directional ability, or, b) a way to specify exactly which part of the bat the ball hits.

I doubt either is true. If a player had that strong of directional ability, why not just hit it towards the gap? And if a player could really be that precise with which part of the bat makes contact with the ball (allowing him to foul it back) why not just hit line drives at will?

I think players can influence the direction of the ball--starting early or late, inside-outing the ball--but not with the precision to say that the ball will be hit squarely, but foul, and into the stands so as to not get caught.

I think the reason some high-contact guys get labeled as someone who can foul balls off at will is simply because they are better at making contact. So if they miss, they miss by less and the result is a foul. A Joey Gallo is more likely to swing and miss, resulting in a strike 3. A Wade Boggs is more likely to miss by less, and result in a foul, extending the AB, giving more opportunity for more fouls and longer ABs...and the illusion that he can do so "at will" when they cluster together.
   29. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 24, 2018 at 07:54 PM (#5659491)
"On August 17, 1957 Ashburn and the Phils were hosting the New York Giants and Richie hit a foul ball into the stands and unfortunately, it struck the face of Alice Roth, wife of the sports editor for the Philadelphia Bulletin Earl Roth, who was there with her two grandsons. The foul ball broke Mrs. Roth’s nose and there was blood everywhere. Play on the field stopped as even the players watched the commotion in the stands as medical personnel rushed to her aid.

Dazed and shocked Roth was put on a stretcher as play resumed and Richie took his place in the batter’s box. On the very first pitch to Ashburn, he again fouled it off into the stands hitting Alice Roth on her knee as she was carried off on the stretcher."


On of my favorite, if not THE favorite baseball story of all time.
   30. Howie Menckel Posted: April 24, 2018 at 08:17 PM (#5659503)
yeah, I've posted it before, and love it as well (no offense to Mrs. Roth)

my embellishment would be Ashburn looking back, leaving the batter's box, and defiantly waving his fist and yelling "... AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON!"

   31. cardsfanboy Posted: April 24, 2018 at 08:32 PM (#5659515)
I doubt either is true. If a player had that strong of directional ability, why not just hit it towards the gap? And if a player could really be that precise with which part of the bat makes contact with the ball (allowing him to foul it back) why not just hit line drives at will?


I think that a player hitting a foul ball at will means that the guy is swinging at the pitch and it's not a good enough pitch to do anything with, and he's still able to make contact with the ball enough to get a foul ball. And yes this is absolutely about contact hitters.

A player being able to hit foul balls at will means that a player has either a) strong directional ability, or, b) a way to specify exactly which part of the bat the ball hits.


I don't think either of those has anything to do with ability to foul at will. Foul at will means that they started their swing, realized that what they thought it was going to be, ended up being something different, and are able to make enough of an adjustment to their swing to make weak contact.
   32. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: April 24, 2018 at 08:42 PM (#5659520)
Is there anything else in major North American sports like this? That is, where the lack of time limit can allow a certain play/possession/matchup to go on indefinitely?

Probably the only thing I can think of is tennis, where:

1) A service game could go deuce/ad/deuce/ad forever, theoretically.
2) A fifth-set tiebreak at Wimbledon, where the winner must win by two games - there is no 5th-set tiebreaker. In 2010, the longest match ever player was a first-rounder that went (I am not making this up): 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68!

A golf tournament could go on forever, too, I suppose, but it seems the variability, luck, etc. of the sport avoid absurd results...
   33. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 24, 2018 at 08:58 PM (#5659532)
I'm pretty sure they could foul off balls at a fairly high success rate if they wanted to.
Well, one of them could at least.
   34. Howie Menckel Posted: April 24, 2018 at 09:10 PM (#5659544)
the longest sudden-death PGA Tour playoff is 11 holes.

the U.S. Open just this year abandoned its 18-hole Monday playoff in favor of a two-hole playoff (and sudden death if needed). the other three majors already have given up that ghost.
   35. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 24, 2018 at 09:14 PM (#5659550)
Joe Pos wrote about the Appling legend yesterday. TL; DR: inconclusive. But it's a fun read, with lots of great stories and accounts of big-name pitchers cursing out Appling for trying to wear them out.


Ah-ha!

Given memory issues I admitted to in the strangely cross-breeding Pujols thread - I was right!

It was Appling who was trying to stick it to skin-flintery owners... I just lept a bit much on the specifics.

There are numerous versions of this story, but the best one seems to be that Appling had a couple of buddies in town, and he asked the team secretary for a couple of extra tickets. It’s unclear why the secretary didn’t deliver — maybe he forgot — but for whatever reason Appling had to buy the tickets himself.

“I’ll tell you what,” a grumpy Appling said to his teammates during batting practice, “SOMEBODY is going to pay for those tickets.”

And that day, Luke Appling fouled 24 pitches into the stands — a not insubstantial $30 outlay for the club.

Myth meter: Probably something like this happened.
One of the constant themes of the foul ball stories in those days* was that the balls themselves were expensive; at least a buck a ball. Appling’s career was lfilled with stories about White Sox owner Lou Comiskey begging Appling to please stop fouling so many balls into the stands; he was going to make the team go broke. One story from 1940 suggests that he fouled off $2,310 worth of foul balls per year (roughly 15 fouls a day) — that’s $38,773 in today’s dollars.*
   36. Hysterical & Useless Posted: April 25, 2018 at 09:12 AM (#5659742)
Belt has a long way to go before he catches The Kid Who Batted 1.000.


I loved that book!

The problem is SLOW at bats and SLOW games.


Egg-zackly.

Probably the only thing I can think of is tennis, where:


any single point can (theoretically) last forever. Same would be true of any ball sport where one player/side initiates the point and play continues until the ball is unable to be properly returned. In tennis, long points are fairly common if both players have good accuracy but little power. But "long" would be a minute or so, not thirteen. Even a weakly struck tennis ball takes less than 30 seconds to get from one end of the court to the other.
   37. drdr Posted: April 26, 2018 at 10:07 AM (#5660890)
Playoff hockey sudden death overtime has been known to last more than the first part of the game.
   38. Baldrick Posted: April 26, 2018 at 11:00 AM (#5660953)
any single point can (theoretically) last forever. Same would be true of any ball sport where one player/side initiates the point and play continues until the ball is unable to be properly returned. In tennis, long points are fairly common if both players have good accuracy but little power. But "long" would be a minute or so, not thirteen. Even a weakly struck tennis ball takes less than 30 seconds to get from one end of the court to the other.

"Twenty-five years ago, on Sept. 24, 1984, Nelson and Jean Hepner, who were ranked No. 93 and No. 172 in the world, engaged in a 29-minute, 643-shot rally that remains the longest point played in a professional tennis match."
   39. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 26, 2018 at 01:21 PM (#5661131)

There was the Syracuse/UConn Big East tournament game a few years ago that went to 6 OTs. It was the second longest college basketball game ever played.
   40. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: April 27, 2018 at 11:14 AM (#5661574)
Jayson Stark reports that thanks to Belt's heroics, the Angels pitcher threw 49 pitches in that half-inning without giving up a run. Something called Sports Info Solutions has been tracking this for 17 years (only 17 years?) and the previous record was 41 in 2014. Split between Steve Delabar and Aaron Loup.

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