Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and baseball fans in general are well aware of Jon Lester's struggles with throwing to first base. You can also add golf fans to that list, because the word used to describe those struggles is one no golfer ever wants to hear .. the y-, y-, y-, YIPS (GASP). If you're not up to speed, here are a few of his worst offenses:
Yikes. Those are scarier looking than that amphibious creature from "The Shape of Water". To be fair though, Lester has picked off a few guys even with some ugly throws, mostly because they are baiting him to with massive leads:
This excellent Sports Illustrated piece written by Stephanie Apstein last May will lead you to believe that Lester beat the yips, but they never go away, evidenced by the fact Lester told reporters on Sunday that he is working on intentionally bouncing passes to first base. Or, as he calls it, the "Jordan-to-Pippen" bounce pass, which is a nice touch, and will get Cubs fans thinking of the good old days of the dominant Chicago Bulls as Lester skips balls to first base all season like he's skimming rocks at the pond. Let's see how it's going for him so far in Spring Training:
Not great, Bob!
So it's not exactly in Jordan-to-Pippen form quite yet, but don't worry, Lester says this miscue occurred because Anthony Rizzo wasn't at first base in the Cubs game against the Diamondbacks. Minor leaguer Efren Navarro just wasn't ready.
"I feel bad for the guy today," Lester said. "He had no idea what's going on. He's never been a part of it. With Rizz, probably the surprise wouldn't have been there."
Ok then. We wish Lester well this year, because no one should ever have to deal with the yips. In the meantime, he has a lot of MJ-Pippen highlights to watch.