The Week In Worst: When Baseball Goes Wrong

NEW YORK, NY: David Wright #5 of the New York Mets scores on an error by Aramis Ramirez #16 of the Milwaukee Brewers (not pictured) at CitiField in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Mets defeated the Brewers 3-1. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Continuing a recurring weekly series, in which we review the worst pitches, swings, and defensive plays in recent baseball action.

Hi friends, welcome again to The Week In Worst. Used to be that maybe the hardest part of this was figuring out a way to kick it off. Trying to find a good introductory paragraph or two before moving on to the .gifs. Then one night while I was doing the dishes, I realized that none of you are reading this for the introductory paragraph. You're here for the .gifs, and odds are you've already scrolled down to the .gifs and aren't reading a word of what I'm writing right now. I can probably get away with putting whatever I want in this section, so here's a selection of dialogue from Aces: Iron Eagle III:

Tee Vee: /sees the bell has killed Escovez
Tee Vee: Nice hat.

For those who might be new or who might have forgotten, this is a series dedicated to bad pitches, swings, and defensive plays. The bad pitches and swings are identified mathematically. The bad defensive plays are identified subjectively. Because I don't watch every pitch of every game, I can never be sure if I've identified the worst defensive play of the week, but I always give it a good shot. Please feel free to leave similar or worse defensive plays in the comments below.

To the .gifs. The baseball considered: Sunday, May 13 through Saturday, May 19. By the way, next week The Week In Worst will be on a one-week vacation because I'll be on a one-week vacation. We'll be back the Monday after that, covering the previous two weeks. We will let no worst go unrecognized.

Worst Pitch (Location)

Kyle Drabek

May 16

61.4 inches from center of zone


Watching the .gif, it's interesting that every single person does something after the pitch is thrown. Catcher J.P. Arencibia pops his glove and reaches for his mask. Batter Curtis Granderson does a little move and then retrieves the baseball. The umpire confidently reaches for a new baseball out of his pocket and prepares to throw it to the mound. Pitcher Kyle Drabek adjusts himself to make it appear as if maybe he was bothered by his uniform. There's a really terrible pitch, and then there's activity, because everybody's so embarrassed about it they don't want to call attention to it. They all could've stood there, just looking at the baseball and hammering home that Drabek really f***ed up. But this is about downplaying the terribleness of the pitch and getting to the next one.

Perhaps you'd like to see that in slower motion:


I used to know cricket. In cricket, as a bowler (pitcher), you're supposed to try to knock a thing off of a thing. If you throw the ball directly at the thing, on the fly, the batsman will almost certainly put it in play. So the trick is to bounce the ball and try to confuse the batsman with spin and an unpredictable hop. Here it's like Drabek was trying to knock off Arencibia's mask, but he knew he couldn't throw the ball directly at Arencibia's mask because then Arencibia would block it. So Drabek bounced the ball and wound up with a direct hit. I don't know why Kyle Drabek would be trying to knock off his own catcher's mask but I don't really know how else to explain Kyle Drabek's extraordinarily low rate of strikes.

Here's a telling screenshot:


I did not modify this. This is a screenshot of Kyle Drabek throwing a pitch to Curtis Granderson. Nowhere in this screenshot is the baseball. That is how bad of a pitch this was.


Granderson: And now it's all the way over there!
Arecibia: Haha!

Worst Pitch (Result)

Jake Peavy

Miguel Cabrera

May 15

447-foot homer


I mean, come on, Jake Peavy, you're facing Miguel Cabrera. Even in a blowout game, you're kidding yourself if you think you can sneak that kind of crap by Miguel Cabrera. He's one of the very best hitters in the world. I know, technically even Brent Morel is one of the very best hitters in the world, but Miguel Cabrera is one of the very very best. One of the best, I don't know, five? Ten? Three? You can't get away with a pitch like-


Welp, all right, but you did miss your locati-



Huh. Jake Peavy, you are included in this week's The Week In Worst. I don't really know why. I mean, I know why, but I don't know how you got here. Miguel Cabrera is so good he has broken The Week In Worst. More like The Week In Best! Yeah! Okay moving on.

Worst Swing

Jordany Valdespin

May 15

42.7 inches from center of zone


Announcer 1: Interestingly, Valdespin was not his last name at birth.
Announcer 2: Oh yeah?
Announcer 1: Yeah, he changed it to Valdespin after becoming a baseball player.
Announcer 2: Is that so?
Announcer 1: He thought it would be more fitting.
Announcer 2: Why Valdespin, of all things?
Announcer 1: Just watch him take a hack and you'll see.
Announcer 2: /watches
Announcer 1: /watches
Valdespin: /swings at Axford pitch
Announcer 2:
Announcer 1:
Announcer 2:
Okay, but I don't get the "Valde-" part.
Announcer 1: That's because I was messing with you.
Announcer 2: What
Announcer 1: That spin was a coincidence.
Announcer 1: Why would he change his last name?
Announcer 1: You are the dumbest.
Announcer 2: You are the meanest!


Interestingly, the worst swing last time was by Starlin Castro, against John Axford. So that's two weeks in a row John Axford has induced the worst swing in baseball. One of those worst swings did not allow a run to score. Congratulations, John Axford.

Worst Defensive Play

Aramis Ramirez

May 14


Whenever a baseball fan sees that a runner is caught in a pickle, the fan automatically assumes that the runner will be out. And, most of the time, the runner will be out. But what the average baseball fan doesn't appreciate is that a proper pickle is complicated, defensively. You have to be able to throw the ball accurately on the move. You have to be able to run quickly. You have to know when to bluff and when to throw to the defender ahead of the runner. You have to know when to chase a runner to the lead base, and when to chase the runner to the previous base. You have to know how to cycle so that defenders are always in position. And you have to be able to not just drop the baseball like a big stupid idiot.


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