The radar-gun indicated a wicked, nasty fastball, akin to a 100 mph car pursuit on the 5 Freeway to commute from Santa Monica to Orange County.
That is, only if you are a local resident and pay your property taxes here in Southern California.
But in another town, such as Cincinnati, the speed and heat is relevant to the Reds’ hitless reliever Aroldis Chapman, a flame throwing Cuban star on the rise when Cincinnati is contending for a postseason berth.
And then, his impressive debut happened Tuesday by throwing a ball at 104 mph twice, a hard object that traveled faster than Usain Bolt. It’s almost an intriguing spectacle in a town embracing a 22-year old left-hander with the mental capacity and poise to amaze a crowd, crazed to witness a superjock here in the States, since abandoning his native country, Cuba. All eyes are turned directly towards the emergence of a growing legend. Before our very eyes, he has become the face of a burgeoning franchise to some degree.
When Cincinnati signed the Cuban defector to a six-year, $30.25 million deal last winter, general manager Walt Jocketty believed he had welcomed in the unique Cuban with gifted mechanics, command of the fastball, and location, which has improved his ability to retire and intimidate hitters in the batter’s box. Not only does he embody a sense of consciousness for a discounted franchise, he solidifies a convincing unit with postseason implications as a NL Central force.
More impressive, though, he’s having an immense impact on the Reds rehabilitating season by absolutely tossing the ball with exceptional speed, and he fanned the Brewers in a 1-2-3 order in a perfect seventh inning. He is a nightmare in the National League, a thrower with nasty stuff, very untouchable to whereas he greets hitters by employing the fastball and then waves good morning, good afternoon, and goodnight. It’s fair to nationally televise someone like Joey Votto or someone as lethal and masterful as Chapman.
Rarely do the Reds earn publicity or national attention, but things change as years progress, particularly when there is a star respectively flourishing in the Majors. A fastball everyone is raving about nearly dazzled the spectators for, ironically, his craft and astounding elements. It’s such a resilient, jaunty, and mesmerizing moment to witness an anonymous rookie morph into a propitious competitor.
Eventually, he’ll be a starter and virtually an icon. Eventually, he’ll win multiple Cy Young awards and be voted in as a participant for the All-Star Game. Watch and see.
The profoundly gifted star of the Cuban national team, formerly in the World Baseball Classic, intrigued scouts and executives, and because of his lack of maturity at one point, the dubious suspicion induced inconvenient assessments on the sudden transition to the majors.
In addition, he was always seen as the much-scrutinized pitcher and almost turned out to be a disappointment for the Reds, a team that overly spent on a pitcher who still needed some growth and discipline in the big leagues. But consider it a slow transition, because Chapman is gradually ripening as a hallowed and vital essential.
So, on the other hand, he’s savvy and has a powerful arm, capable of fanning any opposing batter. What is unique about Chapman is that he brings a sense of humanity to a town jovial of witnessing the future of Reds baseball, and the future of youth transforming the aspects of baseball, again uplifting thrills in what has been an uneventful sport.
This season alone, the immediate impact of rookies has modified the context of an indecisive sport, from Tampa Bay’s pitcher Jeremy Hellickson to the Yankees' Ivan Nova to Angels outfielder Peter Bourjos and Toronto’s catcher J.P. Arencibia.
At the moment, Chapman is making headlines for remarkable outings and delivering noteworthy numbers, which are heavily evident in a game obsessed with numbers more than the wins/loss column. The certainty amid such a slew of goodness is that Chapman transforms the culture, increasingly propelling the well-driven Reds to maintain the momentum and urge, while aiming to pull off the miracle in October and become the dynamic force of the annual fall classic. This is obviously a rival for a team of optimism and soundness by the contributions of the left-handed pitcher, precisely a valuable commodity and platoon.
Let’s believe in the hype and embrace Chapman’s proficiency at the toughest, tense, and pressured position in all of baseball, especially when the ball is possessed by the pitcher 90 percent of the time.
But as the season goes by, he lifts the Reds in a breathless inning to release signs of promise. He released signs of goodness, signs of aspiration, and signs of believability as the obscurity withdrew a bit, raising the stakes to the highest level in the midst of growing pains.
On a historical night, six of his fastballs averaged more than 100 miles per hour, incredibly topping Joel Zumaya for the fastest heaters thrown.
So far, Chapman has been flawless and promising, which illustrates hope for years to come, but also benefits the Reds during its current pennant race.
It isn’t often, particularly in a league when the majority of pitchers aren't fully developed and still need some improvement in their mechanics and velocity, that a radar-gun clocks at 104 miles per hour. It isn’t often, of course in this era, when a pitcher at such a young age dazzles a dormant, much-depleted ballpark unless he’s the sensational Stephen Strasburg.
But at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Chapman, on 11 pitches, threw seven fastballs. The final fastball to finish the inning clocked at 103.9, striking out Milwaukee’s catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
Not even a wild beast can run that fast. Not bad for a man who started the year at Triple A Louisville to retool his pitching deficiencies and countless woes. At one time, he struggled with command, unable to find the location and keep control of the hitless fastball he throws all so consistently.
As he emerges as a true icon, fans loudly sounded and stood to acknowledge Chapman with warm receptions when he trotted from the bullpen to take the mound for his relentless showpiece. It was electric and felt like a World Series. But it felt like the fans in attendance were roaring for Chapman, a man who is worth the adulation and hype ever since galvanizing the Majors.
Turns out, he’s the biggest steal in baseball. Turns out, he’s better than expected. Turns out, he’s worth the hype.