Pardon me, Mr. Rowand, while I digress for those who don't play the game. We need to talk about spin. The fastball is thrown with backspin, and the curve is thrown with overspin. The axis of spin is therefore roughly perpendicular to the path of the pitch. At this point, let's define the concept of a pole of a spinning object. A pole is the intersection of the axis of spin and the surface of the object. Objects near the pole of a spinning object move more slowly (in a translational sense) than those far from the poles (near the "equator") and hence these polar objects appear almost motionless. Since the axis of spin is perpendicular to the direction of the pitch, the "semi-motionless" poles of the fastball and curve are not visible to the batter.
Mr. Rowand, I sympathize. Pitch recognition is one of the toughest skills to master in all of sports. If I could have done it better, my life would be different. I admire that you have come so far in MLB without doing a very good job at it. Perhaps your vision is not what it was. But we know Mr. Bochy has great faith in you, and is going to play you against the Red Sox. We certainly want you to justify his confidence. So just case you don't know how to recognize the slider, with a sense of humility I pass along this tip.
Now, let's get to that nasty slider, Mr. Rowand. As you know, that pitch is thrown with the arm motion of a fastball, but with sidespin, like a football. Another way of saying that is that the axis of spin runs pretty much along the direction of the pitch, and so there is a pole visible from the batter's perspective. That 'stationary' pole appears as a dot to the educated, attentive, and optically well-endowed hitter. I'm pretty sure you must have known that at some point, and were able to pick it up. I don't know what has changed recently. But if you don't pick up the dot, then the slider looks for all the world like a crappy fastball down the middle, instead of a devious attempt to make you look ridiculous by swinging at a pitch eight inches off the plate and in the dirt.
So, Mr. Rowand, I want you to visit your ophthalmologist, your sports psychologist, and your batting coach, and start
poopin picking up the dot...smack the livin' crap out of it.