We can't quite call Billy Hamilton's offering on a Jeff Samardzija pitch a "swing," because it was more of a futile whiff.
The Reds took on the Cubs Friday afternoon in Chicago in a game that Cincinnati would ultimately win, 4-1. In the first inning, Reds speedster Hamilton decided to take a hack on a 3-2 pitch from Samardzija, leading to something so ridiculously awful that it's quickly taking the Internet by storm.
Samardzija is a nice pitcher, but on one special pitch he was a hurler who apparently owned the sickest pitch ever seen in MLB—at least that's what Hamilton must be thinking.
Now to be fair, it seems, at least from our vantage point, that Hamilton decided far too late to slap the ball the other way, something that would have allowed him to leg out a possible infield grounder.
That's not how this at-bat went; instead it illustrated how not to offer at a pitch.
Sports Illustrated's Jon Taylor has a far more pointed view of the outfielder:
The swing you see above on a Jeff Samardzija fastball, the kind of swing that looks less like the concerted effort of a big league hitter to make contact and more like the desperate efforts of a man who is clearly overwhelmed by everything around him. It’s really more of an axe chop, as Hamilton apparently decided that this whole swinging the bat horizontally thing is for the birds, and that vertical swings are the wave of the future.
Hamilton has had a rough go of things despite flashing speed every chance he gets in the early season. He owns a .176 average with a .222 OBP. In 47 at-bats, he already has 11 strikeouts and just three walks.
For his part, he was upbeat following the game, via John Fay of Cincinnati.com: "You're not going to get a hit every day. But as long as I come to field every day getting better, it's a good thing. The hits aren't coming, but I still feel like I'm doing things to help the team win. Defense, get the guy over."
This is just one swing in what really is a promising talent's career. While hilarious, we aren't about to seriously question Hamilton on this hack alone.
He managed to go 1-for-4 on the day and steal a base for the Reds. The sample size is small, but a fine stint in 2013 coupled with otherworldly speed is enough to give the 23-year-old a pass.
It makes sense that he would experience growing pains at the outset. We are just grateful those pains were captured on video for all to enjoy.
Hamilton bounced back for the game and should do so for the season. However, we would prefer that he learn to take a pitch rather than flail at it like he is playing an MLB version of whack-a-mole.
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