KISSIN COUSIN, CO – The first Asian player in MLB happened all the way back in 1964, when Masanori Murakami threw one scoreless inning against the Mets. Since then, the growth of the game in Asia has led to numerous household names, the World Baseball Classic, and even pitches that defy physics aka the gyro ball. One thing remains the same today as it was in 1964; Learning English is very hard for people who speak non-romance languages. Therefore the likes of Hiroki Kuroda, Hideki Matsuyama, Masahiro Tanaka, Yu Darvish, Chan Ho Park, Koji Uehara, Hideo Nomo, and Kwang Hyun Kim all have one thing in common: they require a translator. This innocuous detail and expected behavior, threw the first leg of the Cards/Mets doubleheader on Wednesday into a tailspin.
Top of the fourth. Kwang Hyun Kim is on the bump for the Cards. He walks two to start the frame. To the mound go the infielders. Then inexplicably, Kim’s translator runs out to the mound for the meeting. Kim then walks the bases full and Mike Maddux goes out to the mound. What happens next? The umpire asserted that Maddux’s visit constituted a second mound visit and that KK must leave the game because the translator went to the mound.
Then all hell broke loose. Major League Baseball lost its mind trying not to “commit a racism” live on TV, as the Cardinals asserted that the translator is not a coach, and thus, it wasn’t a mound visit. The game came to a grinding halt while the umpires got on the horn with someone in the #MLB office. That person must have had to make a phone call. Then that person likely called Rob Manfred. The delay felt like ten minutes. Ultimately and inexplicably, Kim was allowed to stay in the game! MLB made a conscious decision live on TV to bend to potential political and social media pressure that would have followed forcing a minority player off the field. Never mind the fact that there have been players using translators for decades and the precedent is that if ANYONE crosses the white lines from the dugout then a mound visit is attributed to that team. There was no need for the umpire to call anyone. There was no reason for top league officials to call top league officials. Simply uphold the rules of the game as they have been played for over one hundred and fifty years.
The translator screwed up. In baseball, as in life, it seems through political correctness we as a society are absolving all manners of responsibility. Why is it that there can no longer be consequences for one’s actions? Why is it that no justice is better than some justice so long as the no justice option placates armchair activists?
In this miscarriage of baseball justice the Mets got hosed. They didn’t break the rules. They simply played the game. When the Cardinals broke the rules they were rewarded. Instead of a cold reliever having eight tosses on the mound to enter into a bases juiced no-out scenario, the Mets were forced to face Kim which inevitably didn’t work out for the Less-Than-Amazins.
The top of the fourth felt like it was a game in and of itself. In a way this frame is the perfect metaphor for the Mets as a whole. It was long, controversial, boring, painful, unjust and in the end, the Mets can only blame their own ineptitude at the plate for the loss.
Yesterday, the Mets won but the ineptitude at the plate continued. The Cardinals issued eleven walks. ELEVEN. The Mets scored ONLY ONE earned run and won 4-1 on three walked in runs. The Mets left 15 men on base. FIFTEEN! The 4-1 game lasted nearly four hours. Even in victory the Mets are boring, painful, unjust (they nearly blew the game), and woefully bad at the plate.
I personally am glad the Cards don’t have to play the Mets 18 times a year because I don’t think I could stomach that much bad baseball. Ike Davis was more interesting by himself than any aspect of the 2021 Mets.
Feel free to comment below and come back tomorrow for Short [Fuse] Matt, whose Mets are killing him by death of a thousand stranded runners.