The very same day staff writer Zach Mason published his “Stop hitting Ty France” piece, Hector Neris and the Houston Astros decided they would do that very thing. The gall, the utter disrespect—how dare they expose themselves as non-LL readers?
Of course, it wasn’t just a whoopsie HBP because Ty likes to crowd the plate. No, this was a first pitch thrown behind France by Neris, who at that point had walked 4 batters all season (a data point Scott Servais was keen to throw in during his post-game presser).
I’m going to skip the rest of the fracas and red-assery because I’m sure someone else will do a much better job of breaking it all down than I can right now. All I know is that there was one person involved in all of this who felt the energy between these two teams and knew exactly what he was going to do with it.
Julio. Rodríguez.— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) June 7, 2022
That's it. That's the tweet. pic.twitter.com/qJ9tS6zl4T
Julio has been no stranger to the opposite field so far in 2022, and he loaded up on the first pitch he saw from Neris and put a mighty swing on it. He didn’t quite barrel it up, but got enough for an exit velocity of 102 MPH and deposited that ball into the right field seats with a vengeance-tinged 360-foot dinger.
I mean, truly the best possible outcome given the situation. The Astros threw at France, who is currently in 5th place in hits in the AL, the benches cleared and angry, awkward vibes were abundant. The environment was hostile. Who steps in to immediately make the Astros pay for their arrogance? None other than the Mariners’ top prospect and budding star center fielder, Julio Rodríguez. Some of the most instant gratification we can experience as baseball fans. That’s rising to meet the moment in a way we are not used to seeing that often, as Mariners fans.
Once again I/we must ask: is everyone appreciating Julio Rodríguez enough right now? Are you not entertained? This is the magic we’ve been waiting for, for so very long.
Part of me (the washed, 38-year-old father of two part) bemoans the fact that this happened during a Monday night road game that started at 5 PM in Seattle. Can you imagine this happening at T-Mobile Park on a Friday or Saturday night? After all that bench clearing nonsense? My goodness, just absolute SCENES. Some of those poor ushers would never recover.
But, like i just said above, we need to appreciate these moments as they come. I will gladly take sticking it to the Astros in their home stadium and sending all those fans home with a bad taste in their mouths. We don’t get to choose the timing of momentous occasions in baseball fandom, and rarely do we have control over any such things in life. They happen with or without us.
I’m with the Mariners. I’m with Julio. No matter what.