Baseball Prospectus: A Fond Farewell To The Fake To Third

As you might have heard, or as you might not have heard, Major League Baseball is thinking about doing something. Right now, they're thinking about doing something! There's a move some right-handed pitchers try where they fake a pick-off attempt to third base, then wheel around and make a pick-off attempt to first base. It's one of several parts of the game that serve little purpose but to delay it, and MLB is thinking about making that move a balk. This is big news that isn't really big news because if that move were to disappear, it would probably take people a while to notice.

Anyhow, over at Baseball Prospectus, Ben Lindbergh extends a fond farewell to the move, assuming that it will soon be a thing of the past. A lot of the content at BP is hidden behind a pay wall, but this article isn't, and you should read it, because it's free and thorough and highly entertaining. An excerpt:

Here's a demonstration of what the FTTTTF usually looks like, courtesy of Shawn Camp:


Let's break down the steps:

  1. Lift leg up slowly, like a dog about to urinate on a fire hydrant.
  2. Telegraph step toward third base as obviously as possible. Bonus points for slow-motion mouthing "I'mm-goingg-to-throww-to-thirdddd" while you do this.
  3. Remember not to throw to third!
  4. Whip around to see if you fooled the runner on first. Low expectations are the key to avoiding disappointment.
  5. If you fooled the runner on first, try not to look as surprised as he is. Throw to first and accept the out nonchalantly, as if you haven't been imagining this moment since Little League.
  6. If you didn't fool the runner on first, make it clear to everyone that you weren't really trying to, anyway. Stretch, adjust your cup, and hope no one noticed.

Lindbergh is a treasure, and this article is a treasure, and I already know you guys like animated .gifs because you guys read Baseball Nation and Baseball Nation is like 70 percent animated .gifs. Get to reading, and then pour one out for the ol' fake-to-third-throw-to-first move. It might be early, but then it's Friday, and besides you're pouring it out, not drinking it. We'll miss you, horrible pick-off move that's stupid.

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