Is That a Balk?
Check out the video of Japanese hurler Ryota Igarashi posted by Matt Cerrone at MetsBlog:
OK, watch it again.
One more time, please.
Is it me, or is “Gimme Three Steps” by Lynyrd Skynyrd running through Igarashi’s head when he comes to the set from the stretch position?
All that footwork ain’t gonna fly come game time. He’s balking, and umpires will call it. I vaguely remember other Japanese imports having similar hitches and hesitations in their motion, which caused problems in their MLB rookie seasons. Apparently the rules are a little different in NPB.
I don’t bring this up to be negative, but in the hopes that someone (Dan Warthen) takes note and adjusts his routine accordingly now rather than later. Left uncorrected all spring, it could turn out to be a major issue.
By the way, big kudos to Matt Cerrone for his massive, multi-channel, multimedia coverage of spring training. He’s like James Brown — the hardest-working man in the Mets blogosphere.