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The curveball was huge and sloping, and with a 12-mph differential from the fastball.
  baseball:  a pitch thrown with a rotation that makes the ball curve

or more generally:  anything that behaves indirectly, erratically, or surprisingly
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The curveball is a type of pitch in baseball thrown with a grip and hand motion that induces extra rotation on the ball causing it to "break," to fly in a more exaggerated curve than would be expected. The pitch is slower than a fastball, and this difference in velocity also tends to disrupt the hitter’s timing. Good curveballs often seem to drop sharply with a sharp rotation as they reach the plate, making the batter swing above it. ...  (retrieved 6/08)
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  • The curveball was huge and sloping, and with a 12-mph differential from the fastball.
  • The Mud Hens had a roster slot, and the scout had a notion to fill it with the pitcher with the wicked curveball, name of Earl Grayson.
    Jerry Spinelli  --  Maniac Magee
  • When she said it, I thought we were heading into a discussion about the power of prayer and faith, but Jamie tossed yet another curveball at me.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  A Walk to Remember
  • Not toss each other aside because life threw a curveball their way, even if it was a major curve ball.
    Ellen Hopkins  --  Identical

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  • The day after Christmas, we were thrown a curveball: Coach Meyer resigned.
    Tim Tebow  --  Through My Eyes
  • It was a curveball that he didn’t think was gonna break into him so much, so he leaned in a bit too far.
    W. William Winokur  --  The Perfect Game
  • His wicked curveball attracted the major-league scouts, and the Washington Senators were interested in signing him but changed their minds.
    Christina Garcia  --  Dreaming in Cuban
  • His curveball wasn’t curving, his sinker wasn’t sinking, his knuckler wasn’t knuckling.
    Jerry Spinelli  --  Maniac Magee
  • Boh father and son wished Monterrey Industrial luck in the tournament and then walked away, wondering with what might have been had one curveball not curved so much.
    W. William Winokur  --  The Perfect Game
  • And now the stories were mixed with instruction: the grizzled, rickety coot showing the kid how to spray liners to the opposite field; how to get a jump on a long fly even before the batter hits it; how to throw the curveball.
    Jerry Spinelli  --  Maniac Magee

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  • He hung on for thirteen more years, a baseball junkie, winding up in some hot tamale league in Guanajuato, Mexico, until his curveball could no longer bend around so much as a chili pepper and his fastball was slower than a senorita’s answer.
    Jerry Spinelli  --  Maniac Magee
  • Norberto called for a curveball for the next batter, Leonard Tobey.
    W. William Winokur  --  The Perfect Game
  • Hundreds of flashbulbs fired as Angel’s curveball began to break about five feet from the plate.
    W. William Winokur  --  The Perfect Game
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Associated words [difficulty]:   curveball [7] , slider [9] , topspin [9] , slider [9]
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