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Sunday Morning Musings

Sunday Morning Musings: The Holy Curveball (8.19.2018)

This week’s musings can only focus on the absurd stories in baseball. We have crazy pitches, indecent exposure, and a nun. Those last two aren’t connected.

Didi Gregorius by Arturo Pardavila III is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sunday Morning Musings: The Holy Curveball (8.19.2018)

Estimated Reading Time: 10 Minutes

Goooooooood morning, everyone! We’re back for some musings this Sunday morning, and we have some doozies! It’s a baseball-only kind of week, because there were just that many awesome things. We’re looking at some hair-brained decisions, fantastically weird statistics, a whole lot of pitching, and a nun with a killer pitch. Let’s start with the nun.

Damn, Sister!

Everyone, meet Sister Mary Jo Sobieck, of Marian Catholic High School. She threw out the first pitch at a White Sox game vs. the Kansas City Royals. Look, I’m not trying to tell anyone what to do, but I am saying that there are a bunch of bullpens *cough* Padres *cough* that could use a strong closer. Sister Mary Jo should be a strong candidate for a 9th inning put away. How strong a candidate? Look at this beauty of a 12-6 curveball.

Not only did she paint the corner with a nasty curve, she walked off the field, called someone out by point, and gave them a “raise the roof.” The White Sox are 24.5 games away from first place in their division. Sounds like they should give Sister Mary Jo a call.

Balk-Off single to win the game

I have so many feelings about the ending to the Mariners/Dodgers game the other night, but I think you have to watch this video to understand them.

Dylon Floro just made an unnecessarily huge blunder. That is so clearly a balk, my mother could have seen it. (My mother was blind, to be clear.) When it’s the 10th inning, and you’ve allowed bases loaded, you don’t get to balk. You just don’t. That is a severe lapse in mental awareness. 

There’s one part of this video that I wish was in here. Nellie Cruz apparently screams “balk” whenever he sees odd movement on the mound. “He’s been doing it as long as I’ve known Nelson,” White Sox manager Scott Servais said. “He screams balk every opportunity he can. And tonight he finally got it right. That’s Nellie’s thing. He’ll yell it when he’s on the bases, in the dugout or even in the batter’s box any time the pitcher does anything looks a little different.” Apparently, he’s also always wrong.

But as Cruz pointed out, “I was right tonight.”

How’s about a third strike walk-off victory…for the batter?

You may remember the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers from our Tip of the Cap series. (Also if you haven’t, you should be reading our weekly Tip of the Cap series and buying your caps accordingly.) They were the ones who created this absolute travesty of a cap.

Last week the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers took on the Burlington Bees. Let me paint the picture for you. Bottom of the 9th, bases loaded, two outs, two strikes, Rattlers down by 2. Bees reliever James Ziemba throws a pitch, that Rattlers batter Nic Pierre swung at…and missed. Three strikes. Game over, Bees win.

Right? Now let’s watch the tape.

WRONG. Because Ziemba’s pitch was solidly wild and couldn’t be corralled by the catcher Keinner Pina. But he has one chance to fix this mistake, he can throw it to first, and get Pierre out. Game over. But no. Pina throws wild to first, and the rest is history. Three runs score, the Rattlers win on a walk-off strikeout.

If you’re really excited by announcer Chris Mehring’s call on this video, he’s here to give you a little insight.

Minor League Baseball is insane.

The Umpire with the Reflexes

I love a good bat flip. Over the years they’ve become so routine on home runs that unless someone’s form is perfect, they’re not very interesting. Until Manny Gonzalez.


Oh right, you thought I was talking about a hitter. Nah, we’re talking umpires, baby. Nick Castellanos for the Detroit Tigers rocketed a home run against the Minnesota Twins. He then proceeded to have a really stupid bat flip. You’ll see on the gif in a second, it has no form, and it looks ridiculous. But then in comes Manny Gonzalez to save the day. 

What I also love is when he caught this bat, the ball had not yet left the field, which means Manny was solely watching the bat, and didn’t follow the ball at all. There was also a man on first, which means based on the hit, Manny may have been worried a base runner was going to end up on the third base line, and clearing the bat out of the way.

Whatever the reason, you’re a legend, Manny. Never change.

Scott Kingery, Making History

Okay that doesn’t really rhyme, but I had fun writing it. Let’s talk about the Phillies for a second. During a double header against the New York Mets, the Phillies did something truly strange, and made history for it. In the 5th inning, after awful error-filled baseball, they were down 11 runs. Rather than say “let’s grit it out, we can bring it back!” Manager Gabe Kapler made the decision to let position players finish out the game. 

Yep. Position players. Roman Quinn (Outfield) pitched 1 2/3rds innings, giving up 7 hits and 6 runs. Scott Kingery (Infield) allowed 2 runs and 4 hits. Over the 16 pitches that he threw, Kingery’s lobs were so slow that the stadium’s radar gun didn’t register them. 

The final score?  24-4. Jose Bautista took advantage, setting a career high with 7 RBIs. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler defended his decision to have position players take the mound after the first game.

“You guys are going to spin this however you want, but the fact of the matter is, in the fifth inning when we’re down 11 runs, we started to prepare for the second game,” he said. “We used strategy to best position the Phillies to win baseball games. We’re going to continue to do that. My job is to protect the Phillies. That’s it. That’s what I did.

“Our best relievers are not excited about coming into those kind of games, those lopsided games. On the flip side, a couple position players enjoyed it. A 24-4 game and a 5-4 game both count as a loss. And so our strategy is to be best positioned to win the next baseball game. If we end up using Luis (Garcia) or (Victor) Arano, they’re going to be less effective in the second game. [Quinn and Kingery] got through it safely. We’re in a much better position to win Game 2 as a result.”

Gabe Kepler to NBC Sports

And as it turns out, he was right. The Phillies won the second game 9-6, including a home run from batting practice coach Scott Kingery, making him the first player in 50 years to pitch in the first game of a doubleheader, and homer in the second.

Spain’s bringing in ringers

As Katie Pierce’s excellent piece says, The Boys of Summer are Back.

The Little League World Series has been going strong. Spain, however, walked in with a 30 year old man with 3 kids and a mortgage. 

That dude looks like a linebacker for the Wildcats, not an eighth grader! Look at him on the field

I can’t stop focusing on the difference in their feet size. I also can’t decide if this is a disadvantage, he must be so much easier to tag out than anyone else on the field. But he can probably also crush a ball 450 feet.

I was a kid who grew early, I’m just shy of 6 feet tall and I’ve been this height since I was in 8th grade. So I get it. I was also gangly, because it took a while for me to grow into my absurd build. This kid is already there. AND HE’S 12! Did I mention that? I turned 14 the summer after my 8th grade year. Good lord.

Final roundup

I think we can all agree it’s been a really weird week in baseball, given the topics above. There are a bunch of things I left out, though, like how J.D. Martinez is en route to the triple crown, and yet Mookie will still be the MVP

Or how about this statistic, that Didi Gregorius has never hit a home run to Left:


Or how about the fact that the cubs turned 7 double plays the other night against the pirates, tying the all-time record.

We could potentially talk about this legend:

Or the fact that the trade that landed Chris Sale in Boston has turned out to be one of the most strike-filled transactions in history. 

But to close it all out, we’re going to talk about a story that just boggles my mind:

Moon over Floyd

This will go down as the strangest story I’ve found in a while, and it starts with a headline.

So what’s the story? Well the story goes like this.

Debbie L. McCulley, wife of Glenvar High School junior varsity Highlanders softball coach Mark McCulley, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure after a May softball game between her husband’s team and the Floyd County Buffalos. The arrest warrant says that McCulley “stood on or close to the pitchers mound and pulled down her pants with her right hand to expose her right butt cheek.”

According to McCulley, after the 6-5 loss, her husband went to confront the Floyd County coach. In her words she thought he “was going to be attacked so she was trying to get the attention off of him.” So she did the only thing you do in that situation, show some cheek. The case has been stayed for 6 months, after which it will most likely be dropped. Debbie McCulley is banned from Floyd County sporting events.

My question is, how was this the decision? How does your brain work that you think “Quick, moon a crowd of children to make this escalating situation better?!” I have no idea, but Debbie McCulley is officially a legend. 

Ned is an Actor and award-winning Content Creator based out of Brooklyn, New York. Currently you can hear him as a voice actor on the podcast Encounter Party!, and as the host of the podcast At the Table: A Play Reading Series. Originally from Portland, Maine, Ned is an avid follower of all things New England, be it sports teams, breweries, seafood, or Cumby's. He spends most of his free time playing board games, listening to podcasts, and gawking at dogs on the street. You can learn more on his website,

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