Fan Mail Friday, May 22nd

What pitches do you throw? At what speeds do you throw them? (I know you say you throw in the 70s, but does that mean you have a change up that’s in the 60s or even the 50s?) Which do you think is your best pitch?
Adam S., Arlington, VA

I have 4 pitches:  A Fastball, Slider, Change Up, and Rise Ball.  My Fastball and my Rise Ball are the same velocity and any give day will vary from 74 to 79mph, the Slider is typically 61 to 65 mph.  My Change Up is typically 70mph.

If you were wondering why I capitalized Fastball, Slider, Change Up, and Rise Ball I will now tell you.  It is because they are all biblically good.  You asked which one is my best pitch; I will give you some feedback and let you decide what you think.  One National League GM I contacted the other day had this to say when asked about my Rise Ball.  “His what?  Never heard of that…No, well, no never heard of a Rise Ball OR capitalizing pitches.”  He later added, “Or him [lowercase, of course].”  An American League Assistant GM and director of player development had this to say about my Fastball.  “Right now, and I’m not going with projection here, but right now as we speak his movement is as good as Chris Hayes’ in his prime and his command is up there with the likes of the Chris Hayeses in this game.  His velocity has consistently been clocked in the top 12 on his current team’s pitching staff.”

Tough decision so far, huh?  My Change Up requires an advanced degree in Physics to fully understand and I don’t have one of those, so I don’t even get it.  My Slider breaks at such an angle that when it is viewed from a center field-mounted camera, it appears to not break at all and is often mistaken for a Change Up or a little leaguer throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.  There it is.  You have the facts, I’ll let you decide which one is best.  
I would guess I’ve throw 80% Fastballs so far this year.  So if my actions speak to my favorite, you might have your answer there.  My Fastball has top spin and therefore has a ton of sink, so it induces contact on the ground.  In the occasion I need a strike out or a pop up, I will resort to my other Offerings more, but typically I’m looking for early weak contact on my Fastball.

It says in the Morning News this morning that you helped the Naturals out with a jam…what kind of jam was it? I like grape…
Larry H., Bentonville, AR

Larry, I’m gonna have to join the grape train with you.  I’d have to say it’s the best go-to flavor.  There may be days where you just want that extra kick strawberry or raspberry can give you, but if I was on a “desserted” island, I would want it covered in grape.

That being said, unfortunately for me, the other night the Naturals were working on a Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and had it all wrong.  Fortunately for them, I was able to come to the rescue and set things straight.  My wife’s grandmother makes her own Strawberry Rhubarb Jam from scratch, so I was able to get a hold of her and get the recipe.  I swear, it seemed like I left the room for all of 5 minutes and came back to find a absolute pectin catastrophe, but in the end I was able to save the day and make it all work out.  I’m glad the Morning News is finally covering our team’s culinary exploits.  We find it greatly improves our chemistry skills if we get together in the morning and work on making some type of bread adornment.  Next week we are going to get into nut butters, so hopefully the paper keeps up the coverage.

I’m really glad you’re blogging.  This is stellar writing.  Did you study creative writing or journalism or some such?  If you’re not already thinking about / writing a novel — or at least a few short stories — you really should.  Not just flashes of brilliance — your long entries are well-crafted.
Jonathan G., Cincinnati, OH

I’m really glad you’re reading.  This is stellar judgment.  Did you study literary criticism or theory or some such?  If you’re not already thinking about / buying my novel – or at least a few short stories – you really should pre-order it.  Not just flashes of good taste here – you’re long question is well-taken.

At Northwestern I was a computer science major, which made me part of the Tech Department, which meant it was against the rules for me to use a written word in any form in any of my assignments.  I wrote hundreds of thousands of lines of computer code and designed my fair share of circuits and robotic cars.  But the only writing I did was on proofs, theorems, and in solving differential equations and that was all in Greek letters.

My sister studied Creative Writing at Oberlin College which is one of the top Liberal Arts colleges in the country.  She now works as an editor at a Nationally Published Research Journal.  I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.  Or is it “an” Holiday Inn Express?  Damn English.  Got to go email my sis another question.

Going to Northwestern University a school with many current minor leagues do you still keep in touch with you former teammates such as George Kontos, Mark Ori, and J.A Happ?
DaNilo, V., White Plains, NY

I do keep up with those guys a decent amount.  We all still live around Chicago during the off season and typically work out together, so there’s a bond in the winter months.  During the year we keep in touch sporadically.  Ori is in the Texas League and I recently crowned him the best player in the Texas League in a previous Fan Mail Friday.

Happ is on TV and actually a few weeks ago was pitching when Rollins made a web gem on a slow roller.  Baseball Tonight showed the #3 web gem of the night and I saw Happ pitching and thought it was going to be him making the play because he’s a ridiculous athlete, but alas, he wasn’t quick enough to get over to the ball.  Maybe the WS ring slowed him down.  I sent him a text giving him a hard time for not making the play and suggesting he finally take that thing off.  If you’d like find out more about how Northwestern Grads are taking over professional baseball from the inside, check out this article Rany Jazayerli wrote about me this off season.  It’s probably much funnier now that my reference is in blockbuster-hit-movie form instead of just a book like it was at the time of the article’s publication.  Ironic, I know, but what can you say, Disco is way ahead of the times.

If you were knighted (like Sidney Ponson) would you make everyone call you Sir Disco Hayes?
Tim R., Kansas City, MO

I’ve looked into this because I think it’s a great point you bring up.  You’re right, it is only a matter of time before I am rightfully honored by a country, or a land, or by a people.  Can you say “a people”?  Yes, cause I just did.  In my research, I looked into what is a proper way to address a Knight and found some interesting info.  Much to my surprise, though, being a Knight really isn’t that cool (sorry Sir Sidney).  There’s about 15 levels of cool in the Royal sense and Knight is scraping bottom.  I mean, if becoming a Knight is really only one level cooler than being me right now, I could take it or leave it.  If James Dean didn’t need to be Sir James, why would Disco need “Sir Disco”?

Here’s the breakdown in lessening order of royalty: Emperor, King, Prince, Duke, Baron, Marquess, Earl, Viscount
, Baronet, and last and least, Knight.  Though Baronet probably sounds most dangerous and Marquess is the least known so perhaps has the highest level of intrigue (“His Marquessness Disco Hayes of Melbourne” has quite a ring to it), I think I’m looking at worst case scenario accepting Duke status.  If Canada or Wales or somewhere comes calling and wants to Dukify me, I think I would say yes under the explicit condition Dick Vitale will not be doing color commentary on my life from that point forward.

When it’s all said and done, this all comes down to marketing and a Google search of “Sir Disco” reveals no results that would be able to hold a candle to me.  To prepare for future world fame and royalty bestowed upon me, I also checked and “Lord Disco” and “His Disconess” are also relatively easy Google targets as well.


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