How's this a ground-rule 2B? 'Aliens for sure'

Brewers' Robertson hits unusual ball off and over wall at Busch Stadium

April 11th, 2021

Late Saturday night, Daniel Robertson provided an answer to that nagging question from the Brewers’ 9-5 win over the Cardinals.

Aliens. It was definitely aliens.

Robertson’s line-drive double to left field in the eighth inning was one of several moments in Saturday’s game that left fans, broadcasters and viewers at home wondering, “What in the world?” Robertson’s hit off Cardinals left-hander Andrew Miller left the bat at 102.5 mph with a 33-degree launch angle, according to Statcast, and would have been a home run in seven ballparks, including American Family Field.

But not at Busch Stadium, where it hit the middle of the wall on the fly at a portion of the padded wall where there’s a cutout for a chain-link fence offering views out of the visitors' bullpen. The baseball caromed skyward, then, to everyone’s surprise, appeared to take a midair U-turn and go over the wall entirely.

That’s one magic baseball.

The umpires went to the headsets to review the play with MLB’s replay center in New York and came away with confirmation of the call on the field: Ground-rule double.

“Just as confused as everyone else,” Robertson wrote on Twitter on Saturday night. “Aliens for sure tho!”

It was so unusual that Brewers manager Craig Counsell brought a prop to his postgame news conference.

“I brought the ground rules here, because I knew guys would ask,” Counsell said on Zoom. “So, a big sheet here of the ground rules. Can you see them? There we go. A big, big sheet. First of all, I don't know how the ball went over the wall. That's probably first. But generally, the ground rules … essentially, it says, ‘Any batted ball in fair territory that strikes the facing of a lower wall then bounds over a higher wall is considered a dead ball.’ So, that's the rule. The umpires were very sure of it. And we asked for the review in New York and for them to check the ground rules on it. They did all that.

“I've never seen it. I'm not sure we'll ever see it again. I'm pretty sure we won't ever see it again.”

Peterson managing thumb issue
Jace Peterson, the veteran utility man who made a second straight start Sunday as the Brewers’ replacement for injured second baseman Kolten Wong, is managing his own medical matter.

Peterson missed time during Spring Training with an inflamed nerve in his left thumb and revealed that he traveled from the Brewers’ exhibition games in Arlington, Texas, to Los Angeles to undergo the same cryotherapy injections that have helped Ryan Braun and Lorenzo Cain in recent years.

“I think it's one of those things that as long as I can manage, it will be OK. Hopefully, no setbacks and just continue to get stronger,” Peterson said. “[Cryotherapy] is a little bit of a weird experience. The best way I can describe it is almost like a remote, and at the end of it, it's got three needles, almost like a tattoo gun-type of needle. They stick the spot and then they hold it for a minute and it just kind of freezes that nerve.

“There was some soreness for a few days after, and then from there, you lose sensation in the thumb. You still have all function and can move it and do everything you need to do with it, it just kind of really kills that nerve and you lose all sensation, really. It'll come back every once in a while, there are certain things that I can do to trigger it and I'll kind of feel a tingle, but it's been good so far.”

Hook on pitching staff: ‘We’re at Mile One’
Pitching coach Chris Hook made no apologies for the Brewers’ cautious approach with their promising starting pitchers so far this season. Entering Brett Anderson’s start on Sunday in the team’s ninth game of the season, only one Milwaukee starter had topped 90 pitches so far: Freddy Peralta on Tuesday against the Cubs in Chicago.

That’s no accident. Coming off last year’s shortened season, the Brewers are mindful of the stresses ahead for starting staffs.

“They’re feeling great. We’re at Mile One here,” Hook said. “Everything’s going really well that way. I think the other layer to this that we haven’t talked about is the additional outside stressor of fans, that extra pressure that we probably haven’t felt in a while. … That first kind of go-around, hey man, I’ve got that external pressure again, and that feels a little bit different.

“The ‘ups’ [getting up and down from inning to inning], too. In Spring Training, we build a base to try to get them to a certain level, and we know that base will get even stronger as we go through the season. So far, so good. Everybody feels good. We talked about this at the beginning of the spring, it’s the communication. We have an open relationship with these guys. I know them very well. I’ve had them for five or six years with some of these guys. We can just be honest. ‘Hey, how are you feeling?’ ‘I’m a little heavy right now.’ For whatever reason that is, we don’t know, it doesn’t matter. We just want to make sure we get through the season, and we will continue to build as we go along.”

Last call
• Fastball Freddy's nickname isn’t accurate anymore, as he’s throwing a high percentage of sliders now, plus a changeup and curveball. But Peralta said he likes the nickname and hopes it sticks, even if he mixes things up while facing the Cubs for the second time in six days on Monday night at American Family Field.

“I don’t know if they’ll keep calling me that, because now it’s different,” Peralta said. “I heard a couple days ago that people were talking that it’s not “Fastball Freddy” anymore. But I don’t know. I like “Fastball Freddy,” but I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

• The Brewers’ alternate training site in Appleton. Wis., opens Monday after the group played the past week at American Family Field in Milwaukee while the team was away. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, who are hosting “Camp Appleton” again this year, have been approved to host fans this spring and summer any day there is a workout or a scrimmage. Information is available on their website.