Does Gregg Zaun Need A Subscription To Playboy?
The series opener between the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates last night was quite eventful. The Brewers’ offense exploded for 17 runs and has now outscored the Pirates 53-4 in four games between the two clubs this season. Not a good run differential, -49, for the Pirates there, huh?
The embarrassing performance from Buc hurlers—the staff ERA now sits at 7.74, more than a full run higher than the next-worst team in the majors—will surely grab the headlines. But there were two other interesting occurrences in the game as well.
The first noteworthy incident was quite scary actually, and hopefully it will prompt the league to do something about it. As the AP (via Craig Calcaterra) reports, a young boy was struck in the head with a shattered maple bat.
A young fan was hit in the head by a broken bat during Monday night's game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers, but appeared to be OK.
A Brewers spokesman said the boy was checked out at first aid and was fine.
In the bottom of the fourth, Alcides Escobar's bat shattered when he grounded out to end the inning. A sharp piece of the barrel flew into the Miller Park stands about 10 rows behind the Pirates' on-deck circle, careering off several fans and hitting the boy in the head.
As Calcaterra discusses in his post, MLB needs to act on this issue before a fan or player gets killed. Change generally occurs after a major accident, but, in these types of matters, it is better to be proactive than to wait before it is too late.
On a less serious note, it is also worth mentioning the strange throwing problems that plagued Brewers catcher Gregg Zaun early in the game. Zaun, who made up for his throwing gaffes by delivering one of the strongest offensive games of his life (four hits, five RBIs, which were both career highs), seemingly forgot how to throw the ball back to the pitcher for an inning there.
From the MLB.com game recap:
Two of his returns in that first frame sailed over Gallardo's head, and Zaun pounded a third throw into the ground, eliciting some groans from the crowd. Zaun's next throw was a fastball that hit Gallardo right in his glove, and the smattering of boos turned into a loud cheer.
"It was embarrassing, and I was starting to wonder myself," Zaun said. "But I couldn't raise my arm."
The legal team at MLB Advanced Media is like a team of content protection ninjas, so unfortunately the video is not on YouTube yet. And, if it were, it would surely be taken down within hours. But, luckily for you, Brewers.com has video of the gaffe.
Click here to access the clip.
When watching this last night, I could not stop thinking of the movie Major League II and catcher Rube Baker’s throwing issues in the film. Rube, of course, had an excellent arm when it came to throwing the ball down to first, second and third base, yet he could not lob it back successfully to the pitcher. In order to avoid being sent back down to Omaha (and he did not even live there), he was forced to tackle the issue head on. He did so by memorizing and then reciting Playboy articles—he preferred them to the pictures—during actual at-bats, which helped fix the problem and proved to be a distraction to opposing hitters.
If you recall, it was Jake Taylor, the Indians’ wise veteran starting catcher, who offered the Playboy advice to young Rube. Here is their exchange from the film.
Jake Taylor: Rube, you look at Playboy all the time, dont you?
Rube Baker: I dont just look at it. I read the articles.
Jake Taylor: Sure you do.
Rube Baker: I do. I especially like it when they mention the girls interests, like Betsy loves surfing.
Jake Taylor: You even memorize them?
Rube Baker: Yep. I guess I do.
Jake Taylor: Bingo.
Unfortunately, I could not find any clips of Rube’s throwing problems online, so the video of Rube offering his own advice—and Charlie Sheen might have been better off remembering that—below will have to do for now. Rube was famous for his quotes, even inpsiring the Facebook group, "All I need to know in life, I learned from Rube Baker."
As far as Zaun is concerned, Milwaukee fans can only hope that he finds his own way of coping with the problems—which could be the result of a recent injury sustained during a home plate collision with the Washington Nationals’ Ian Desmond—if they continue to be an issue.
On one final note. I found it interesting that the broadcaster during the Brewers game last night, Bob Uecker, was also a major character in the Major League series.
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