Russell Martin ... it just seems so strange to me that in a game as ancient as baseball, players can still do things that stun you. I mean, shouldn't we have seen it all by now? ... [I]n freaking baseball, a 19th century game Civil War soldiers would teach to townspeople between bloody battles, Russell Martin in 2015 does something that left me feeling a word I've never once used before because it never quite fit: gobsmacked. Yeah, I was gobsmacked. Martin catches the ball, briefly checks the runner at third. Meanwhile Shin-Soo Choo is standing in the box because that's baseball custom now, and he's holding out his bat because that's what he does for some reason.Michael Schur:
Martin then casually throws the ball back to the pitcher ... only it HITS THE BAT of Shin-Soo Choo and rolls away. Rougned Odor races home. Gobsmacked.
Because: NOBODY HAS EVER SEEN THIS BEFORE. One-hundred-fifty years of baseball, we've seen throws kill birds, we've seen relievers brought to the plate in little cars shaped like baseball caps, we've seen a pitcher throw a no-hitter on LSD, we've seen a 3-foot-7 person draw a walk, we've seen closers choke stars, but WE'VE NEVER SEEN THIS BEFORE. And if someone is now emailing in to list off the times it's happened before, I would advise: I HAVE MORE CAPITAL LETTERS THAN YOU DO.
I understand there are traditionalists and purists and whatever-ists who think that flipping a bat after you hit a home run is bad form, or disrespectful, or something. I disagree. I think it's awesome, frankly, and if you can't enjoy Joey Bats, who had that crazy itinerant baseball life and then found a home in Toronto, and who is the soul and beating heart of this team — a team which hasn't been in the postseason in 22 years and which has brought sports life and sports relevance back to one of the world's great cities — and whose team went down 0-2 at home to a clearly inferior team and then stormed back on the road and gutted out two big wins and then went back to Toronto, fell behind early, scratched their way back to even, then went down by a run on one of the weirdest plays in postseason history, then loaded the bases on three errors and had a guy forced at home and then only scored one run and had a guy thrown out at second on a single to the outfield ... if you can't enjoy Joey Bats flipping his bat towards his own dugout in a badass and life-affirming and glorious and barbaric yawp of baseball excellence after hitting a home run in that situation, then I feel bad for you. ...
We're fine with outward displays in every other sport. Why do we ask baseball players to bury their emotions like students in a seminary?