Term for a baseball pitch just thrown 'plainly?'

Is there a baseball term for a pitch that a pitcher just throws plainly and ordinarily - no curve or breaking, not particularly fast (not a fastball) or slow, not an eephus pitch - just a plain lazy pitch thrown squarely down the middle?

Such a pitch would be foolish to throw, of course, but I’m sure it happens every now and then. Any name for it?

“A meatball.”

Yeah, it may not really a particular pitch per se, so much as a mistake. What it exactly “is” would be a function of the pitcher’s grip, and what he had intended to throw.

Most likely, if it has no break to it, it’s just a crappy fastball, or maybe a “changeup.” It’s also possible that it would be a breaking ball that didn’t break, for whatever reason.

FWIW, this site has an explanation of the various pitches, and what they do.

“Batting practice” is what I call them. The hitters seem to agree, based on how far those pitches usually fly.

A “grooved pitch” or more colloquially, a “meatball” as noted above.

Yup. A “batting practice fastball” is a term I’ve heard. It’s closely related to the “hanging slider” in the sense that it’s not very fast (say mid-80s), catches the middle of the plate horizontally, and doesn’t have any break to it.

But the other posters are right that the failure mode is different for those two pitches. For the “BP fastball” it’s that the pitcher missed location and doesn’t have elite velocity. For the “hanging slider” the arm action and grip didn’t produce the correct spin to achieve the break (and they also probably missed location).

A home run. Are there any knuckleballers left in MLB?

A 70mph fastball is still a fastball.

According to the Wikipedia article on the knuckleball, no, unless you count a third baseman who pitched in a blowout this year:

Phil Hennigan, a relief pitcher for Cleveland in the early seventies, used to call this sort of pitch a “nudist ball,” because “it has absolutely nothing on it.”

What you’re describing is pretty much called a Changeup. A guy throwing high 90s, follows up with a ball in the low 80s and it could actually work well to get a strike.

When I played in high school, the coach told fielders to throw with the four seams because it would fly straighter to the first baseman etc.

Another term: gopher ball (the batter will “go fer” it because it’s easy to hit) https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:Glossary_of_baseball_jargon_(G)

This reminded me of a pitch that was even slower, the intention was to make the ball to get over the plate at a high angle. I still remember hearing the groans, laughs and curses from the crowd, but in an inning the last time the pitcher tried it, the batter swung mightily… and missed, that was the third strike and the third out.

I found it, it was LaRoche trowing the slow pitch in 1981.

Eephus pitch or Moonball?

One of the comments:

The moonball. Goes so high you can tie your shoelaces before your swing. THEN you swing and miss so hard at it that you have to tie them again.

I’d heard about Gorman Thomas facing the eephus. That was the fifth one in the at bat.

Bill Lee served an eephus to Tony Perez but didn’t fare as well.

IIRC Perez had identified something in Lee’s delivery that was different for that pitch, so he knew it was coming and could adjust his timing.

Gorman was (and is still) my favorite baseball player. I don’t think I saw that game in real time, but I remember seeing the highlights afterwards, and he was so mad at having been struck out with those pitches.

Oops, posted the wrong video clip:

Zach Greinke throws an eephus:

But, hey, why wouldn’t Greinke throw one?

Here’s an eephus pitch that Red Sox fans still remember.

Yes, he tossed his helmet into the air and smashed it with his bat.

LaRoche did pretty well with the pitch that year; I remember he also got Tony Armas. Eventually the batters changed their approach; settling for singles. Though some sportswriters called the pitch “La Lob”, LaRoche himself called it the eephus pitch.

If I remember right, Ted Williams credited his famous all-star game home run off Rip Sewell to some advice he’d got to run up on the pitch.

“A fastball that didn’t go very fast” is probably the most accurate term! :slight_smile: