In 2016, Edgar Michelangeli hit a game winning home run in the ninth inning vs. North Carolina State. The Wolfpack pitcher missed his 91 mph fastball up and in and Michelangeli deposited the luscious offering deep into the night sky.
Sure the home run was impressive but what proceeded to happen after the ball was jettisoned into the cheap seats was legendary. Or was it lunacy?
Baseball is in a confusing conundrum. In one corner you have the purists. The “he does it the right way” brigade who pound on their chest and proudly promote the philosophical old school anytime they find something unconventional or counter cultural.
In the other corner you have the up-and-coming brash and bold baseballer with fire in his belly and bolts of lighting emanating radiantly from his bat. If he hits a home run, he is going to let you know about it. Why shouldn’t he?
That corner is backed by a new school of thought and ideology. The fans of fun want the game of baseball to provide excitement while injecting those must see moments deep within their veins.
Tim Anderson is the short stop for the Chicago White Sox. If you want to consider a modern day poster child for the pimps of pomposity start here. If there is someone wanting to vigorously tear down the veil of purism in today’s game, it’s him.
“Ear hole him.” That’s what the purist and the ego fragile pitcher policemen will default to anytime they feel a hitter has crossed the line. And like predictable clockwork, Anderson would get hit by a pitch the next time he dug in. The purists devilishly smile at the outcome. “Serves him right.”
So what to do? I can just share my own personal testimony of what it actually feels like to hit that kind of home run. I was a 23rd rounder for the Texas Ranger organization and just had set my school’s record for home runs the year before. I know a little about the subject matter.
It was a 3-0 count and the coach gave the universal sign for green light. He simply turned his back on me. That was essentially his cue to tell me I don’t want to see what you’re about to do. The purist wants you to take a pitch. (It was up in the zone and definitely would have been a walk) The pimps want you to swing for the fence.
I did the later. One of the farthest balls I ever hit in my life. The tall tales-man in me is going to emphatically tell you that ball STILL has not landed yet. You hear nothing in that moment. You feel nothing. Hitting a baseball is simply the hardest thing to do in sports. Hitting a no-doubt-about-it home run is even harder. It is perfection when you do.
So of course I celebrated it. Of course I pimped it. Michelangeli’s game winning bomb should have been celebrated too. That was a walk off bomb and laughably the pitcher had the audacity to point up at the ball like it was even remotely playable.
That pimp walk at the 50 second mark though.. ♂️ ♂️ ♂️ https://t.co/6G8u7OeL8x— rOmaN (@Romancane) March 18, 2020
Unless your left fielder had a jet pack up his ass their is no way in Zeus’s butt hole he was EVER going to come down with that ball. So cue Michelangeli while he whips this out. The pimp stick. It’s his time now.
The reality is and forever will be that the pitcher is going to get the batter out more times then not. The odds are stacked highly in the pitcher’s favor. Round bat vs. round ball and eight fielders behind him who, the higher up you go, play defense like possessed warrior poets.
So I think the batter has the moral obligation to humble the pitcher in return when he can. Come on! You know how many times I struck out on an off speed pitch and looked like a discombobulated new born baby deer? You stared me down and made sure, that even without words, your inner persona called me a peasant.
That is why I will always side with the pimps. The purists will always sensationalize the few times us hitters get a hold of one. But they turn a blind eye every time a pitcher stares you down or fist pumps when he gets out of a jam.
I hit that home run. I watched it, flipped my bat high and proud and my pace would have made a snail blush. The next time up? Yup. They hit me with the pitch. I guess I violated some code of ethics page that was established when the charleston was still a popular dance.
You know what is popular now though? Slow trots and watch. Bat flips and tricks. Let it go purists. Just tell your pitcher to get me out the next time. He probably will.