[http://active.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/57141246.jpg]American baseball fans are preparing to finally get a closer look at the "gyroball," a pitch that may or may not really exist, but one that has been steadily gaining notoriety over the past year.
Five years ago, computer scientist Ryutaro Himeno was testing super-computers by modeling the fluid dynamics of airflow around baseballs. As detailed in the books he has helped write, a gyroball calls for a complex flip of the fingers during release, ending with the thumb pointed down. At its most effective, the pitch breaks horizontally as it nears the batter, as though shrugging off gravity.
It's one thing to hypothesize a new pitch. It's another to throw one. Japanese pitching phenomenon Daisuke, who led Japan to the World Baseball Classic championship in March, says he's thrown gyroballs. "I have done it in a game," Matsuzaka told Yahoo Sports. "But not too much. Sometimes accidentally." Fans may get a chance to decide for themselves, as Matsuzaka will finally join the major leagues next season.
Could this be the the first new pitch to be introduced to the sport of baseball in nearly four decades or is it just wishful thinking?
(Photo provided by Getty Images, taken by Jed Jacobsohn)