A Japanese Pacific League baseball game Sunday briefly morphed into slow-pitch softball, thanks to Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters pitcher Kazuhito Tadano.
Tadano, who appeared in 15 games for the Cleveland Indians from 2004 to 2005, reached deep into his bag of tricks during an outing against the Hanshin Tigers to pull out one of the most impressive Eephus pitches we’ve ever seen.
The ball left Tadano’s hand and reached the peak of its arc roughly 20 feet above the turf before falling directly into the catcher’s mitt for what appeared to be a perfect strike.
The umpire apparently saw it differently, instead calling it a ball. All the batter — first baseman Mauro Gomez, a familiar face to Boston Red Sox fans — could do was shake his head and laugh.
It takes some serious confidence to pull out a pitch like this at any time, but it was especially bold for someone in Tadano’s situation. The right-hander was making his season debut Sunday, and the Eephus came on just his fourth pitch.
Hat tip to Reddit