Biographers differ on Leopold Mozart’s quality as a father, but they all agree on one thing: he was convinced that his son, Wolfgang Amadeus, was nothing less than proof of the divine. Convinced that his son was a “miracle which God let be born in Salzburg,” Leopold took his six-year-old son on a grinding tour of Europe. And although a profit motive surely factored into the decision as well, the authoritative Grove Dictionary says his main motivation was proselytizational: “The recognition of this ‘miracle’ must have struck Leopold with the force of a divine revelation and he felt his responsibility to be not merely a father’s and teacher’s but a missionary’s as well.” Leopold, it seems, believed he had an obligation to his god to share the miracle of Wolfgang’s talent with the world.
Which brings me to Ty France. The Seattle Mariners are stuck off in a far corner of the country, often playing games that begin after the majority of the country has gone to bed. It’s hard for the team or its players to attract notice. Sometimes, with the supernatural talent of a Griffey or an Ichiro or a Julio, they can break through anyway. But as it took a voracious campaign from his fans to get Edgar elected to the Hall of Fame, the team and its boosters have had an absurd uphill battle to get Ty France into this year’s All-Star game. But just before today’s game, it happened.
The whole squad was fired up when Ty was named an All-Star ⭐ pic.twitter.com/TT3tO6bcQm— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) July 17, 2022
The rest of the world will get to see the miracle of Ty France’s talent in Los Angeles on Tuesday. And in the fifth inning today, he showed just what that talent looks like, launching a ball 432 feet.
He's an All-Star doing All-Star things ⭐ pic.twitter.com/hon5G2zf9d— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) July 17, 2022
Zoot alours! Today, it’s Ty France’s world, and we’re all just living in it.
But Ty France is just one of the many Mariners miracles, so many of which have been on display throughout this incredible win streak, which continued this afternoon. Take Chris Flexen, for example. With Tuesday’s game rained out, Flex had to pitch Game One of the makeup double header on Wednesday, which meant that he had to go on short rest today. Knowing this, I spent some time last night thinking about how I’d write about the end of the winning streak. Silly me.
Flex admirably tossed 76 pitches today, only running into trouble in the third. In the top half of the inning, Marcus Semien and Corey Seager turned a double play, but they must have been munching on Tide Pods as their pregame snack because they ran all the way to the dugout before being told that those were only the first two outs of the inning. But when the bottom half of the inning finally came, it became clear why they were so eager to get it started, with Semien homering and Seager following it up with a single. That got Flex the hook, but 3.2 innings of one-run ball from the team’s worst starter working on short rest against a decent offense counts as a miracle in my book.
The bullpen ably finished out the game, including a particularly nasty sixth inning from Penn Murfee, striking out three and getting whiffs on three of his five sliders.
The word "filth" gets thrown around pretty often with regard to sliders these days. But it's a worthy descriptor of a pitch like this pic.twitter.com/H8CulPaZGc— Action Zach (@RealZachMason) July 17, 2022
If that pitch doesn’t have something divine behind it, I don’t know what does. And the world is finally watching.
The defense played it’s part too, with a diving catch from Winker for the first out of the afternoon, and several balls held just inside the confines of Globe Life Field. The No Fly Zone has expanded.
Today, Ty France is an All-Star, but one of these days, Cal Raleigh will be too. Even though he’d normally have Sunday off after playing both Friday and Saturday, Scott knew the offense needs him too badly. And so indeed, he hit the ball over 100 mph three times today, including the defining hit of the game.
The extra effort gets Cal a Beef Boy Sun Hat Award for notable contribution, his third, which makes him the first-half leader. Mazel tov, Big Dumper. Looking at the Sun Hat record book for the first half, it turns out that when it comes to Ty France erasure, I’M PART OF THE PROBLEM. So let me to retroactively correct that and give France the Award for the April 24 game against the Royals. After all, he went three-for-five with a walk and a home run, bringing him to seven RBI on the series, and inspiring this all-timer from Slurvey in the comments: “France and executing royals name a more iconic duo.”
And can we take a moment of gladness that the extra coverage that the win streak has earned the team has gotten Sam Haggerty a little more love? Our Swaggy Ham has been the quiet hero of this series. OK, the inside-the-park home run was pretty loud. But then he followed up stealing third base in the 10th inning yesterday with a three-hit day today. And once again it was his baserunning that most impressed, as shown by this read of a Julio Rodriguez fly ball.
Sam Haggerty baserunning appreciation tweet pic.twitter.com/BtjFWvnkua— Action Zach (@RealZachMason) July 17, 2022
Notice the hesitation at just the right moment to make sure he could get back to first if the ball had been caught before turning on the nitrous so hard he almost passed Frazier. And it bears mentioning that this seventh-inning two-RBI double from Julio is what put the game out of reach at 6-1, because of course this game had a major highlight from Julio. Of course it did. Like Fernando Tatís Jr. and riding motorcycles, he can’t help himself. That came on top of his leading off the game with a single and reaching base by getting hit by a pitch for the second time this series, as the Rangers clearly try to give Corey Seager the edge in tomorrow’s Home Run Derby. But you can’t hold Julio down.
When people talk about the joy with which Julio plays the game, this is what they're talking about pic.twitter.com/EZZiv8H6FZ— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 17, 2022
With Julio having put the game out of reach, the Mariners won their 14th in a row. That miracle run should be enough for them to take up a meaningful share of the national baseball media’s discussion during the All-Star break. The Mariners finally getting some attention? How divine.