Jeff Sullivan · April 18, 2014 at 10:58 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

The Mariners lost another heartbreaker Friday. In the aftermath, the thing a lot of people want to talk about is the latest case of the new transfer rule rearing its controversial, impossibly stupid head. I don’t know why — it was pretty obvious to me that Kyle Seager didn’t catch the throw from Yoervis Medina at all. Of course everybody was safe on the play; why would you expect anything otherwise?


Incidentally, I’m not sure what the Marlins were doing. If that play is called in a not-stupid way, the Marlins lose the lead baserunner. But if that play goes as intended, the Marlins move runners up to second and third with one out. That would bring up Giancarlo Stanton, who is the team’s good hitter, but then Stanton would just be walked intentionally to bring up Garrett Jones, who is not the team’s good hitter. By bunting in front of Stanton, the Marlins were effectively taking the bat out of the hands of both Stanton and Marcell Ozuna. But Stanton still got to swing away in the end, because the play didn’t go as intended for either party.

And so Giancarlo Stanton faced Yoervis Medina with nobody out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game. Medina was up against it, through only partial fault of his own. He allowed a leadoff single, but then Justin Smoak messed up a sacrifice bunt, and then Kyle Seager messed up didn’t mess up? technically messed up a sacrifice bunt. At that point the Mariners were a long shot, and the story was almost certain to be the reviewed play at third no matter what. But I do think something has to be said about just how terrible a decisive pitch Medina threw. The ninth inning featured controversy and misplays and heroics from a predictable source, but it also featured one of the Mariners’ worst pitches of the young season.

Medina got ahead. He got ahead, and he got to two strikes. Getting that far was kind of a miracle — at 1-and-1, Stanton swung right through an elevated breaking ball. He wasn’t tricked; he just swung under the ball, but he swung very comfortably. Stanton was on the pitch. If the pitch were to be thrown again, it would have to be thrown low and away, in an area where the worst-case scenario would be a called ball. Medina needed a strikeout, and strikeouts come from breaking balls out of the zone.

The problem is…well, let me tell you a little story. When I was young, in elementary school, we took a family trip to Europe and at one point we stayed with friends of a relative in a rural town in France. One afternoon my brother and I were out front in the yard, playing whatever we were playing, when a car pulled up and the passenger window rolled down. I walked over and, in French, I presume the driver asked for directions. I presume that because, after a brief pause, the driver subsequently asked in English for directions. Let me just make sure you’re getting this — I was a boy, and I obviously wasn’t in a familiar setting, because I was in a country that speaks a language I couldn’t speak. The driver requested my help anyway. I must have looked like a reliable child.

Two facts:

(1) I definitely didn’t know where the thing was that he wanted to get to.

(2) I definitely wasn’t going to not give him directions.

I thought for a moment and then very confidently instructed the man to go this way, then this way, then this other way, and then that way for a little bit before hanging a final turn. I didn’t want to seem like a know-nothing idiot, so I acted like a know-something idiot, and the driver thanked me, rolled up the window, and drove off. My brother and I resumed playing, and now that I think about it, I think we were playing with walkie-talkies and laser toy guns. I don’t know if the driver ever reached his destination. I don’t know where I led him to. For all I know he’s still there, driving around, lost, considerably older, and slightly less trusting of the area youth. I’m pretty sure I was too young to have the capacity to feel guilt. I just wanted to be a helpful boy.

To bring this back to the Mariners, Yoervis Medina is me, and the baseball is a lost driver in rural France, asking an American boy on vacation for directions. Medina knows he can’t direct the baseball properly, but he also knows he has to direct it somewhere, lest he look like a fool. No man wants to look a fool, and no developing man wants to look a fool, so a man gives directions, even if he doesn’t know quite where he is himself. The result is that Medina’s baseballs take a lot of turns, but it’s always a mystery where they end up. He just sends the baseballs on their way, and once the baseball is out of Medina’s hand, the baseball is…out of Medina’s hands. He has no command, and sometimes that means he throws terrible balls, and sometimes that means he throws terrible strikes, even with the count 1-and-2 against one of the best players in the league in a necessary strikeout situation. It’s a credit to Medina’s raw stuff he’s even a little effective. It’s no mystery why he isn’t more effective.

This is the first time Medina’s slider has been taken deep in the majors. It deserved it. Looking at Stanton’s player card, the slider was thrown to an area where Stanton’s slugged…oh, .856, all right. What Medina couldn’t have done was just stand there, on the mound, never throwing. What Medina ultimately did was the worst. Maybe the literal worst. So that’s something, that he accomplished.


















13 Responses to “Enhance”

  1. Westside guy on April 19th, 2014 12:16 am

    I was semi-expecting, on the most zoomed in image, to see a very scared face on the ball.

    I really don’t understand why the Marlins had Ozuna bunt, unless maybe it’s because the Marlins are the most dysfunctional organization in baseball, from top to bottom, and they felt they had a standard to live up to.

  2. smb on April 19th, 2014 1:09 am

    “I don’t know if the driver ever reached his destination. I don’t know where I led him to. For all I know he’s still there, driving around, lost, considerably older, and slightly less trusting of the area youth.”

    Getting me to laugh at anything after that botched coathanger job is no mean feat…you are the best, Mr. Sullivan.

  3. Ride the Apocalypse on April 19th, 2014 4:14 am

    Jeff, that man was clearly a witch doctor who put a curse on your favorite team because you gave him bad directions.

  4. Microsoft Zunino on April 19th, 2014 4:27 am

    To be fair, didn’t Medina hit his spot pretty well on that pitch? Zunino’s glove barely moves at all.

  5. maqman on April 19th, 2014 6:21 am

    Do you realize how many electrons you uselessly misemployed in all of those images after the original one? Some of them could have been meant to light a red traffic signal to stop a big rig before it crashed into a school bus loaded with deprived children in Beverly Hills. Talk about over consumption! One of those kids could have been the first human being able to have an intelligent conversation with a volcano. Volcanos (the big dirt pile ones, not the Cuban pitcher) are not going to appreciate this one bit.

  6. Eastside Suds on April 19th, 2014 9:46 am

    That wasn’t a Medina slider. That was a shitty, early released, hit the fuck out of me, middle of the zone, belt high, end the game in grand fashion slurve! Horrible!!

  7. 11records on April 19th, 2014 10:02 am

    Here’s a question I never thought I’d be asking about baseball….

    What needs to take place in game action for it to become too late to replay a call? The fish had plenty of time to review that play because Lloyd came out to the mound. What if Medina had gone straight back to the mound, reset and made a quick pic off throw to first base? Obviously accounting for the fact that Stanton would need to step into the box…

  8. jak924 on April 19th, 2014 11:44 am

    Mariners. Lose. Again. This smells familiar.

  9. Brent on April 19th, 2014 12:11 pm

    That Seager play is like a touchdown in football. If the offensive player crosses the goaline with possession, the touchdown isn’t reversed when he spikes the ball. Seager caught the ball securely with his foot on the base, establishing force out. How is he now safe when Seager drops the ball transferring? Such a flawed, unnecessary rule. Just doesn’t pass the logic test. Nothing is being proved on the transfer except that he can’t make the throw he now wants to make.

  10. yougottalovetheseguys on April 19th, 2014 1:04 pm

    I wish we could use that enhance feature not just on the screen, but also on the team.

  11. PackBob on April 19th, 2014 2:03 pm

    A cosmic adjustment of the universe to itself with a baseball game the vehicle.

  12. MrZDevotee on April 19th, 2014 3:23 pm

    Agreed. The outfield version is even worse, when the OF catches the ball on the run, and takes 4 or 5 steps to stop his momentum and redirect himself towards the infield– but even THEN if he reaches in and mishandles/drops the ball with his throwing hand, the call is now it WASN’T a catch.

    Which is doubly bad because as we’ve seen twice already, the baserunners have no idea what to do, and the umps can’t make a decisive call that helps them with their baserunning, ’cause they’re confused as well.

    Just a mess/zoo out there at times… 18 confused players and 5 more confused umps.

    Baseball. Yay.

  13. Henry Jasen on April 20th, 2014 8:26 am

    That was a pretty good slider. It was aimed at Stanton’s hip and broke all the way to middle of the plate. What I don’t understand is why Zunino showed the target at just inside the middle of the plate.

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