AP — When a piece of paper found its way to Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred’s desk this morning, he glanced at it like he would any other piece of paper. Nothing to see there. Just more busy work for his underpaid assistant, Waggins.
Something, however, whether it was coincidence, or divine intervention, or the giant red block letters that said “IMMEDIATE ATTENTION: ROB MANFRED”, prompted him to take a second look. As he looked more closely, his brow began to furrow. The piece of paper, which had at first seemed so innocent, proposed an abomination.
Underneath the giant red block letters was a message:
Dear Mr. Manfred,
We propose the spicing up of the game, due to take place on July the 16th, 2019, between the Oakland Athletics and the Seattle Mariners—
Manfred stopped as soon as he read “Mariners”. Mariners? Spice up? Sure, screw it, was probably his train of thought. He stamped the piece of paper with his big commissioner’s stamp that he uses to approve things that definitely exists.
So it was that the Office of the Commissioner officially approved Major League Baseball’s first ever 49-on-1 baseball game. The one? Omar Narváez, whose only crime was to exist as a competent baseball player for the Seattle Mariners.
The game went about as one would expect a 49-on-1 game would go. The first inning, which consisted of players on the same team facing one another, led the Mariners to score zero runs. The Mariners batters were, of course, attempting not to score. The Mariners pitchers, on the other hand, attempted to let the A’s score, but failed at that too. Because Mariners.
The second inning saw Narváez get his first at-bat. It was an admirable, if somewhat sad, thing to watch. Like the 300th Spartan fighting against the Greeks, he fearlessly lifted his bat off of his shoulder and whacked a dinger off of Daniel Mengden.
Omar comin'.#TrueToTheBlue x Omar Narváez pic.twitter.com/KaHPe5sEI6— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) July 17, 2019
Sadly for our lone hero, the Mariners finally began to succeed to helping the Athletics to score. They put Omar first into a 2-1 hole, and then a 5-1 hole. Finally, after eight long innings, it became a 9-1 hole.
As Omar stepped into the box in the ninth inning, he knocked his bat against the toe of each cleat. He reflected on the score. 9-1. He was no stranger to scores like this. Nor was he a stranger to uphill battles, fighting seemingly against each teammate.
He thought to himself. Maybe this was one battle he couldn’t win. Maybe it wasn’t possible to win a 49-to-1 game, no matter how bad 24 of those players were.
Maybe, though, he didn’t have to. In fifty years, when he was old and wrinkled, maybe Omar didn’t need wins. Maybe he just needed to be able to look into his severely bagged eyes in the mirror and be able to honestly tell himself that he tried.
Blake Treinen leaned back and launched a 98 MPH over the plate.
Omar stepped forward, carried his bat through the plate, and tried.
When the commissioner reads the tale of this game tomorrow, I hope he finds a message of hope and persistence. I hope he reads the tale of a brave little catcher that could.
Actually, screw it, I hope he gives serious thought to creating an English Premier League-style system of relegation, because that might be the only way to convince the Mariners’ deadbeat owner to eat some money to help the team win.