POSITION PLAYERS PITCHING ALERT: four innings, three players, two games, no mercy
It started innocently enough, a few intrepid fielders braving both professional hitters and the wrath of the Internet to take the mound and eat some innings for their teams. We laughed, we GIF'd. What a novelty, we said. What a joy. (One even threw a warmup pitch to the backstop, just to throw us off.)
And then it happened: two games, three position players, four innings of position players pitching -- the soft-tossing revolution had begun. These are dispatches from the front lines.
They came in the night, before we even knew what hit us. Jeff Francoeur -- a man who knows a thing or two about stealth -- led the charge during Tuesday night's Phillies-Orioles game, and he showed no mercy. Poor Nolan Reimold was so stunned he couldn't even swing the bat:
And Francoeur was hardly done, throwing two full innings. How brutal was his devastation? According to Statcast data, the first pitch he threw had a perceived velocity of 89.23, faster than the four-seamers of 16 actual pitchers this season.
But that was only the beginning, as the Nationals-Rays game would soon become the second theater of the Fielder Uprising. Seeking to escalate the conflict, Tampa trotted out not one but two position players to pitch, as infielders Jake Elmore and Nick Franklin quickly set about their assault of the Nats lineup.
In a world ruled only by chaos, where fielders can simply choose to become pitchers, who will stand up and be the hero the world so desperately needs? Washington catcher Wilson Ramos, that's who. At our darkest hour, he singlehandedly beat back the position player menace, launching dingers off of Elmore in the eighth and Franklin in the ninth:
Improbably, baseball survived the night, thanks to the heroics of the game's biggest Phish enthusiast. But we must stand vigilant, for soon another round of blowouts will be upon us, and the position players will be back with a vengeance. May these words echo through the generations, serving as motivation to us all:
Wilson Ramos on his approach on two HRs off position players: "If you go back to the dugout with a strikeout, everybody will laugh at you."- Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) June 17, 2015