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A study of strikeouts and strikeout faces

Did you notice that baseball players make silly faces when the strike out? Here are some of them.

SB Nation's GIF Tournament V

This didn't even make the cut - credit
This didn't even make the cut - credit
Denis Poroy

A while back, there was an installment of Fun With the Photo Tool that looked at Alex Rodriguez's silly face. Specifically, the faces he made after a strikeout. It's fun because no one sticks up for him, which is an important consideration when you're a coward like me.

A-Rod commandeered that post, though. It was supposed to be about strikeout pictures in general, but one player kept dominating the photo feed. There was no going back.

Several months later, it's time to revisit the original idea: Let's search through the SB Nation photo tool for results for the term "strikes out." There are thousands of them, and they give us a pretty good idea of what happens when a baseball misses a bat.

This is the anatomy of a strikeout:


Choose a path. There are four. You must choose. Let's explore the visual evidence of these outcomes ...

Impossible contortions

When a player strikes out, he contorts like a freak and makes a face like someone who just stepped on a Hot Wheel in the middle of the night.

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

How is that possible? What sort of Penrose triangle is that? Is he okay? Is that a left-handed batter or a right-handed batter? Is that Jose Altuve? Why does his shoulder come up to the catcher's head? Were there bees? There were probably bees.


Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

I think one of those bees stung Carlos Ruiz in the bottom. But he just missed this pitch. Right in his wheelhouse. Boy, if he could have had this one back ...


Chris Trotman/Getty Images



Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Rest in peace, Munenori Kawasaki. You were eaten by bees.


Jason Miller/Getty Images

Again, it takes Marilyn vos Savant to tell you if that's a left-handed hitter or right-handed hitter if you don't know #28 on the White Sox at first glance. It turns out strikeouts are a way to appreciate homers -- and singles, and doubles, and ... -- if you have the right picture. How hard of a swing does it take for a player to get a hit? That hard of a swing.

And that's the end of the contortion secti ...


Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Dammit, Norichika, go away. You had your moment in the sun. We're working here.


Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Norichika, stop being attention-grabby. This is not about you.


Mark Hirsch/Getty Images

NORICHIKA. Stop this. We need to move on.


The natural reaction to strikeouts is anger. Just ask Mike Trout.


That's 80-grade strikeout face. Of course it is. He's Mike Trout. He's 80-grade everything. He's an 80-grade Magic: The Gathering player, too, but he chooses not to be an ass about it at your tournaments.


Mike Stobe/Getty Images

It looks like David Wright just died from bees, but he really just shattered his bat on the ground hard enough to break it.


Rob Carr/Getty Images

Do you remember the first time you ever saw someone break a bat over their knee? Do you remember even acknowledging it? Chili Davis was the first one I saw, with the Giants. Bo Jackson did a famous one that introduced the idea to children around the country. It's freaky.

And I need to practice because I have two daughters. The cleaning-the-shotgun bit is old, and the suitors will probably be better armed. But if I'm hitting whiskey tumblers with a fungo bat and breaking the bat over my knee when he gets there, well, I'll probably make more of an impression.


Elsa/Getty Images

These are the cool cats, the ones who know it's just a game, baby. Odds that Jeter made a mock "pew pew pew" sound with his bat-gun as he winked? Even.

It's alright, everyone. He'll get his hits, baby, don't worry. He knows.


Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Phillips is just licking his chin to get the adhesive working.


Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

There it goes.






Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It's been about eight hours since I found these two pictures of Tyler Flowers, and I still can't decide which one I like better. In the first one, he's threatening the umpire with his powers. In the second one, he's stunned that the umpire called his bluff. You still struck out, Tyler. You still struck out.


David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

I won't subject you to it, but Nick Swisher is a king of disbelief face. There were dozens of examples from which to choose. But I chose this one because it's silly. Someone turned Nick Swisher off. He's powered down, and his gear is comically strewn about like he's Charlie Brown after a line drive up the middle.


Joe Robbins/Getty Images


Brett Wallace

Subtitle for this section: mild disappointment.

Screen_shot_2014-03-13_at_4 Screen_shot_2014-03-13_at_4

It's not that he doesn't care. It's that he's unknowingly blessed with the best mild-disappointment-strikeout face in baseball.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Second best. But Wallace wins on quantity, if not quality. He is a strikeout-face hero.