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Out of Right Field: The M’s silver lining last night in K.C.? No one was hurt

The Mariners lost and won last night against the Royals. How’s that? Well, they lost the game, 10-0, which is the first part of that statement.

But no one was hurt. As far as we know. Not even Taylor Motter, just up from Tacoma and sporting the best hairstyle this side of the Mets’ pitching staff.

And we used the term “pitching staff” on purpose.

See, Motter pitched last night. Well, to put it more accurately, he threw off the mound last night.

The Mariners were not going to win, down 9-0 when he took the mound for the eighth. They had just two hits, the first a can-you-believe-it infield single by Daniel Vogelbach, not the fleetest of players. So using a position player to eat an inning was probably a good call.

Except there is always the dread that said position player, trying to hard to impress his pitching brethren, will suffer some sort of injury. You know, a strained lat or a UCL or something we never even knew existed 20 years ago.

But Motter made it through OK. Then again, it’s hard to get hurt when your “fastball” tops out at about 82 miles per hour. The official play-by-play kept calling it a changeup, which would be funny if you have never been in that position.

I have. And it’s not a lot of fun.

One college summer I was playing on a good team in Southern California, catching all the time, hitting pretty well, enjoying myself. Then one day we found ourselves playing a game at LaVerne College, as it was known then. A bandbox. The left-field fence was about 20 feet past third base. Our pitching staff was getting shellacked, with one guy hitting a couple of dingers and talking about it from the dugout and at the plate.

He ticked me off. So I volunteered to throw the final inning. Guess who led off? Yep, Mr. Loudmouth. I’m not proud to say but I had a plan. I was going to nail him. I rocked back, lunged forward and threw my best “fastball” right at his hip. Except it slipped and was headed for his head. In the half-hour it took to get to the plate, I had this vision of hitting him just above the eye, knocking him unconscious and ruining his career.

No worries. I had forgotten how slow the ball was traveling. He just ducked underneath it, looked at me and laughed. I mean really laughed. At home plate. In front of the tens of people in attendance.

The next pitch he launched into orbit. And talked about it all the way around the bases.

At least no one got hurt.


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