Inside Baseball’s Dangerous Obsession With the 100-MPH Fastball is a great article about the allure of triple-digit velocity. Maxim’s not always known for their sports coverage, but this is a pretty interesting piece. This sample points out how we baseball fans just love that 100-MPH mark:
“The game was a blowout by the time Rondon entered, in the bottom of the 8th. Then the 6’3”, 275-pound Venezuelan right-hander did his thing. His first pitch raced past the batter at a speed clocked at 102 mph. Fans perked up. He fired off three more that reached 101 mph, striking out two batters. As he swaggered off the field, the crowd rose for a standing ovation. Rondon’s takeaway: “When I don’t throw 100, the people are normal,” he says, speaking Spanish through a translator. “That gives me a little more motivation to throw harder.” A year later, he debuted with the Detroit Tigers, and a major league–leading 25.57 percent of his pitches were at triple-digit velocity. He topped out at 102.8 mph.
The speed made Rondon a star, because baseball lusts for the 100-mph arm. It is seductive. All pitchers want it. Scouts flock by the hundreds to small towns based on rumors of it. Coaches are willing to work with even the most undisciplined players who have it. Executives dream about developing it. And spectators and players alike lose their minds whenever they see it.”
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