Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Johan Santana Tussles With 'Fan'

Spectators were fanning themselves amidst the 95 degree gametime heat at CitiField last night (would it be too confusing to say "fans" were "fanning" themselves?), and Mets ace Johan Santana was fanning Reds--he K'd five different batters on the night.

More importantly, what Santana wasn't fanning was his mitt. Santana had suffered through a mini slump that leveled his record at a very pedestrian 5-5, presumably due in part to the lefty tipping his pitches.

Reports David Waldstein of the NY Times:

Several veteran Mets noticed that Santana was fanning his glove as he switched to a changeup grip. Santana assumed that if his teammates saw it, so too did the Twins, his former team, who battered him for five runs last Saturday.

Opposing players had spotted a tell, in poker parlance, in Santana: spreading his glove wide in front of him, like a preening peacock, before throwing his changeup. Adds Waldstein last week:

Santana, who gave up at least four runs in each of his last four starts, spent the past week working on keeping his glove at his waist when he gets in the set position before throwing a pitch.

That is the same position his hands were in when he threw 19 consecutive scoreless innings in late May and early June. But since then, his hands have drifted up toward his chest. There, it becomes more evident to hitters if he widens his glove while changing grips on his pitches.

Of course, the more common usage for "fanning" in baseball is striking a batter out, an homage to the children-on-the-sandlot taunt of "feel the breeze!" after a kid swings and misses. It's a flexible word: a pitcher fans a batter, and a batter fans against a pitcher. It's the same verb for both players, yet both players go through very different actions in the process.

Santana appears to have his fanning woes worked out, which should mean he'll be fanning more batters in his future starts.

We can't confirm that it was Dakota Fanning giving the finger to fans from a CitiField luxury box last night.

Maybe the jock-talk outlet The FAN has details.



Tim said...

Nice Bat Chat. I'm a fan of this one — yes, I said it!

Tommy T. said...


Tommy T. said...

If he keeps pitching like this there will be fan-demonium at citi field!!...... Did I spell that right? Fan?