Something about the Indians caught my eye this weekend.
No, it wasn’t the offense scoring 300 runs against the Orioles, nor was it Shane Bieber revealing himself to be the reincarnation of Bob Feller.
It was finger guns.
You see, the offense finally picked up for the Indians this weekend, and when offenses pick up, that usually means more doubles. And for the Indians, that means finger guns.
I first noticed Oscar Mercado shakily firing off a few pews into the dugout after his first major-league hit, and then I saw Mike Freeman put his own spin on it a couple innings later. Then I thought to myself — wait, are there more finger guns that we haven’t noticed?
Turns out there are. I checked the tape of every double and/or triple the Indians hit this season and found that, dating back to the first sighting on April 27, there were at least 12 confirmed finger gun pewfests, and one that likely happened but the camera cut away too quickly.
Because this is a baseball blog, and finger guns are clearly baseball things, the only logical next step would be to calculate how quickly each finger gunner drew their finger guns, and who had the faster pews this side of the Mississippi.
Before getting into specifics, here are my findings.
Indians Fastest Finger Gunners
I used Baseball Savant’s wonderful search tool to find every Indians player that hit a triple or double since Opening Day this season. Technically, I could have checked singles as well, but finger gunning on a single is kind of lame, and I’m only one person. Besides, I did check quite a few and I don’t believe the Indians actually do it on singles. So doubles and triples it is.
After quickly discovering that Baseball Savant’s video clips cut off well before any potential finger gunning could take place, I fired up MLB.tv and manually tracked down each double or triple and recorded them as 30 fps GIFs. From there, I could analyze the pews frame by frame to get a few (relatively) precise measurements.
Draw time was calculated by counting the first frame when it was a clear a finger gun was coming — you know, that “I’m about to pew the shit out of this place” look, or when holster slappers like Kevin Plawecki first make contact with their legs in preparation of a pew — to the frame prior to their first pew. As I recorded the GIFs at 30 fps, it was a simple as calculating that number of frames (from first thought of a finger gun, to full finger gun extension) and multiplying it by 0.033, roughly a third of a second, or the amount of time between frames in a 30 fps recording.
The raw pew counts themselves are only counted when the finger gun in question recoils. Oscar Mercado made this extremely easy because he really gets into his finger guns, and it was easy to tell what was clearly a pew and what wasn’t. Jason Kipnis on the other hand, often is out there for the intimidation factor. He wants you to know those fingers are dangerous, but he rarely fires, and thus it’s hard to know if a pew actually went off or if he was just letting you know danger is a’comin’. Same goes for Plawecki.
The exception to the recoil rule was Jordan Luplow, who made clear mouth sound effects for his pews. Maybe his finger guns are weighted better and don’t recoil, I don’t know. But clearly a pew took place.
Calculating pewspeed was a little more difficult, but knowing how many pews were shot off in any given amount of frames, I could get a rough estimate of how many they could do in a solid second of constant, full-effort finger gunning. That is to say I didn’t count the single pewers like Kip and Plawecki because who is to say if they have slow finger guns or just wanted to fire once? Admittedly, there is a lot of room for error here because I’d have to take into account the frames per second of the television broadcast, etc to get a totally accurate pewspeed, but I feel we’re close enough for counting the imaginary shots from finger guns.
Using those metrics — and bonus points for looking cool, because come on this is finger gunning after all, you have to look cool — here is the definitive ranking of Indians finger guns in 2019.
#1 - Oscar Mercado, May 18, 2019
Mercado was a little slow on the draw here, taking almost a full half-second to get his duke blasters up. But it was by far the fastest fingers yet. And besides, the context of it being his first major league game has to help. He came out guns blazing in more ways than one. I also appreciated how he wasn’t sure if he should smile, clap, or do what after he fired off a few pews. It’s very relatable.
#2 - Jordan Luplow, May 3, 2019
It might seem a little short-sighted to immediately ditch all the metrics in favor of the eye test in this list, but Luplow’s deliberate draw, audible “pewwsshhh” and individual holster is too great to deny. The beginning of the draw was not picked up by the field camera, so it’s impossible to know how fast he drew, but it probably wasn’t that fast. This finger gunning was all about sending a message.
#3 - Kevin Plawecki, April 27, 2019
The one that started it all, and by far the quickest draw of the bunch. Plawdog isn’t messing around here. He, along with Kipnis, often prefer a slap-draw style technique, and they fire — or prepare to fire — with both finger guns at once, as opposed to alternating pews.
#4 - Carlos Santana, May 16, 2019
We don’t get a glimpse of the draw here, but Carlos Santana’s cool and calm pewing is a thing of beauty.
#5 - Jason Kipnis, May 4, 2019
“What’s that? Just checking my sock—PUT ‘EM UP MISTER.” The camera cut away before we saw any pews, but it’s safe to assume Kipnis didn’t need to if he didn’t want to. The pure speed and determination is enough to deter any would-be ne’er-do-well.
#6 - Oscar Mercado, May 19, 2019
Nobody pews faster that Oscar The Kid. Look out fellas. After his debut, he was confident enough to do it back-pedaling.
#7 - Jason Kipnis, May 7, 2019
One of the few times Jason Kipnis has ever pewed with his legendary finger gun. This is a rare GIF.
#8 - Jason Kipnis, May 7, 2019
This one’s a bit unusual since we don’t see the finger guns themselves, but you can see in the split-second before the camera cuts away, he is going after those holsters like nobodies business. There is so much passion in that partial holster grab. I have a feeling we missed an all-timer here.
#9 - Mike Freeman, May 19, 2019
Cool, calm, collected, finger pewin’.
#10 - Jason Kipnis, May 11, 2019
#11 - Jason Kipnis, May 6, 2019
#12 - Kevin Plawecki, May 10, 2019
#13 - Francisco Lindor, May 16, 2019
Last but not least, we missed almost all of this one, but slow-mo gave us a glimpse of the ending.