Japan's first female professional baseball player

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Japan's first female professional baseball player

Postby Bill Glasheen » Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:32 am

Actually this makes sense. Throwing a knuckleball isn't about speed so much. It's learning to throw an aerodynamically unstable pitch by removing the ball rotation. Instability = unpredictability. The best knuckleballers can make their own catchers look bad.

A "great" knuckballer can also mix his trademark pitch up with some fastballs and other pitches of various speeds. But Tim Wakefield's fastball these days is maybe 80 mph at best.

Any comments on why she throws a "sidearm" knuckleball? ;)

- Bill
Japan's first female professional baseball player makes debut

OSAKA, Japan (AP) -- Japan's first female professional baseball player made her debut Friday, striking out one batter in the ninth inning.

Eri Yoshida, a 17-year-old who throws a sidearm knuckleball, took the mound during Kobe 9 Cruise's 5-0 season-opening win over the Osaka Gold Villicanes in the newly formed Kansai Independent League.

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The 5-foot, 114-pounder walked the first batter leading off the inning on four pitches and allowed a stolen base before striking out the next batter swinging at Osaka Dome. She was then replaced after facing two batters.

"I wasn't thinking about anything other than just going out there and giving it my all," said Yoshida, who is hoping to stick with the Kobe team. "I think this was a bad result but the stadium is great and the fans were really cheering me on. I want to be able to pitch more innings and become a pitcher who can be relied upon."

Yoshida created a stir when she signed a contract in December. Some speculated the move was more of a publicity stunt to generate interest in the new league. There were 11,592 fans in the 45,000-seat stadium Friday.

Yoshida started playing baseball when she was in second grade and hopes to emulate Boston Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

Until now, no woman had played against men in Japan. A women's professional baseball federation was established in 1950 but it stopped after two seasons.

The Cruise and the other three teams in the Kansai league are more like farm teams and are a far cry from Japan's mainstream pro teams.
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Postby Shana Moore » Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:37 pm

I have a guess...could it be that she gets more oomph or torque by throwing it side armed? It allows her to put more of her lower body strength into the pitch, than otherwise?
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Postby Shana Moore » Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:00 am

I picked Bill's brain tonight, and the answer has to do with the pectoral muscle...anyone want to pick up from here?
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Postby Gene DeMambro » Sun Apr 19, 2009 1:55 am

I would guess it's an anatomical difference between men and women. The obvious answer would be the present of more breast tissue in women, but knowing Bill it probably isn't as simple as that. But then again, she probably doesn't have as much muscle mass as Tim Wakefield, Charlie Hough, Tom Candiotti or any of the other great knuckleballers from the annals of Major League Baseball.

Fancy way of saying no clue!

That being said, and from a true blue baseball fan (that's me), I say:
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Postby chef » Mon Apr 20, 2009 6:56 pm

Is it because most other balls thrown require more arm strength and men, given larger muscle mass and more strength can power the it more...so Yoshida being a woman with a lower center of gravity can get more power with her hip movement to power the momentum verses arm strength on a knuckle ball?

Vicki
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Postby Bill Glasheen » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:42 pm

Vicki

First... a knuckleball doesn't need speed, although it doesn't hurt.

Second... Pound for pound, women do pretty well against men vis-à-vis leg strength. But testosterone differentiates men from women with upper body strength.

Good mechanics in throwing requires one to use whole body power, starting with the core muscles. But the delivery of the energy wave in a throw is out the arm, where women tend not to be as strong. So it may make sense to consider that a woman might want to tap into the strength of the powerful pectoralis muscles in the chest, causing her to throw more sidearm.

It's just a guess.

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Postby chef » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:53 pm

It will be interesting to see how she does...many guys are saying "no way" from some of the blogs I have seen.

I re-iterate YOU GO, GIRL!

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