Of all the unusual pitches that you will see from time to time, the eephus is the most rare and extraordinary. It’s been making a bit of a comeback thanks to Yu Darvish, who is not afraid to break it out once in a while.
The thing that makes the eephus so great is that it confuses everybody–well except the pitcher. The umpire has no idea what to do in most cases because they aren’t used to seeing it, so they almost always just call it a ball. The batter just kind of stands there, frozen with indecision over whether they should take a hack at it or not. Even the catcher is a bit confused, not knowing when or where he should catch the ball in order to get the strike.
Well yesterday, a pitcher in the Japanese league broke out the eephus, and brought out all of those reactions. His name is Kazuhito Tadano, and he actually used to pitch in the MLB for the Cleveland Indians. Though I wouldn’t expect any of you to remember that, because I had no idea and only figured that out when I looked him up.
Now he’s back in his native Japan and pitching for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. As they took on the Hanshin Tigers, Tadano unleashed the eephus, sending the ball sky-high and dropping it right into his catchers mit.
It was called a ball, but the pitch was still insane. Tadano had to throw it with just the right amount of arc and speed to get it to come down right into the catcher’s glove. I wish more pitchers would take up the eephus. It’s so much fun to watch when it’s broken out once in a while.