There is not a single thing more insulting than having your time wasted. What Roberto Osuna did to Carlos Correa was akin to a hate crime.
The 9th inning of a baseball game is not the time for dawdling or experimentation. It’s the arguably the 3rd or 4th most important moment of a baseball game (I know I won’t be ruffling any feathers by saying that the ceremonial opening pitch which gives a platform to the less athletic to participate in the game is number one). However, it seems that some flout the relative importance of these moments.
While Correa is on the record saying he was upset with the amount of time it took Osuna to throw to first after the ground-ball, there is a much more potent reason. Osuna lapping up the glory was merely a coup de gras. I will say what Carlos was afraid to: cut fastballs have no place in baseball.
Carlos was justifiably upset by the cutter Osuna threw him with a full count. Put yourself in Carla’s position, he just watched his teammates, and best friends dispatched in a time-effective, if not abrupt fashion – why now, must Osuna make him wait? The answer is more disturbing than you might expect.
Osuna incorporated a cutter into his (Trigger-warning) “arsenal” this offseason. It has been a good pitch for him. However, it must be noted he has several other just as qualified pitches – some of which are faster on the radar. If I understand Cargo correctly, the appropriate protocol where there are two outs in the 9th is to throw pitches that arrive at the plate more quickly. Osuna’s fastball hovers at 95 mph, whereas his cutter is around 90-92. Those are 3-5 mph’s quicker Carlos could have been relieved of his duties. What is the explanation for this? It’s right in front of us. Osuna wanted to make Carlos suffer. He waited until the count became full and then, and only then, did he throw his slower cutter. This was a deliberate act designed to inflict the maximum amount of embarrassment and degradation to Carlos.
It has become apparent that breaking pitch enthusiasts have no regard for the time of fans or players alike. Did you know a vast amount of breaking balls end outside of the strike zone? That is clear evidence of an epidemic of time-wasting. How can we, or Karlos expect to be home at a reasonable hour if every third pitch is not in a favorable location? Moreover, by deliberately throwing slower, breaking pitches, we discriminate against those who struggle to hit them. I believe some of the greatest baseball minds said it best when they labeled this behavior as “throwing junk.” Junk, of course, is synonymous with clutter, refuse and, yes, even hogwash. We are in serious jeopardy of returning to the days of the spitball or Greg Maddux. Every time we see an eephus lazily careening to the plate at 60mph, we should acknowledge what it is: an act of discrimination.
As a progressive baseball team, the Blue Jays cannot stand for this kind of discriminatory pitching. Osuna should have thrown a fastball directly at the plate – the quickest path. Supporters of baseball’s breaking pitches will disagree with this. They will say this opens up “chances” for the other team. Well to that I say: isn’t that what baseball is all about? Besides, without “chances” in life, we wouldn’t have cars or the internet. Players deserve opportunities. Therefore, we need to be more supportive and inclusive of those who are incapable of hitting a pitch that cuts or breaks. This is a progressive league people, get used to it. Hopefully, Carlos is more appreciative when Stroman quick-pitches him with two strikes this weekend. I cannot think of better, or more deserved an apology.
But all apologies aside, one thing is clear: we can no longer give a mound to hate pitching.