Thursday, November 23, 2006
Daisuke Matsuzaka 'Gyro Ball' Now New 9th Planet
In a rebuff to the International Astronomical Union's downgrading of Pluto to sub-planetary status, The Far East Observatory Society has designated Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka's "gyro ball" as a replacement. The gyro ball is the smallest but trickiest of numerous celestial spheres that can be tracked on any given summer night in various orbital trajectories around the sun. It can often be observed with the naked eye just above the horizon of the pitching mound, and has been hailed as the most amazing solar system phenomenon since the "Steve Hamilton Floater," which slowly passes through the Earth's solar orbit only once every 275 years. The gyro ball bears a striking resemblance to a common fastball when first observed, but despite its swiftness uses undetectable backspin to break late like a slider, coming in on right-handed batters before diving away. Former major league infielder Bobby Valentine, now managing in Japan, blames the gyro ball for his inability to watch bullpen warmups, as he now suffers chronic vertigo as a result of just trying to follow it. Like the famed Shinto Pagodas and the omnipresent image of Mount Fuji, the gyro ball has become so emblematic in the Japanese national conscience that it has been depicted in red silouette at the center of the Japanese national flag. All bow.