Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Witnessing not-so-greatness

It's hot. Not as hot here as in many places in the country right now but hot enough whereas I am up at five in the morning because the heat is too uncomfortable for sleeping.

I'm not the only one struggling with the heat, though. Last night, while watching the hometown Oneonta Outlaws of the New York Collegiate Baseball League take on the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs, I witnessed something that has only occurred once in major league history and that was 120 years ago.

Aaron Stull of Newport, North Carolina took the mound for the Outlaws last night. He looked a little shaky early on. He retired the first batter he faced, walked the second, surrendered a single, threw a wild pitch after getting the second out and stranded both runners with the third fly out of the inning.

In the second inning, everything fell apart for him. He had trouble gripping the ball, presumably from sweat, and he uncorked five wild pitches in the inning. Lest you think he is naturally wild, Stull had thrown one wild pitch in his previous three starts.

Native Delawarean Bert Cunningham holds the major league record with five wild pitches in an inning when he pitched for Buffalo of the Players League in 1890.

Amazingly, the Outlaws battled back to win the game. It was truly one of the more bizarre games I have ever seen and one of the reasons why baseball is such a great sport. You never know what you're going to see or who will accomplish what. There was no reason to think Stull was going to struggle like he did. The guy is his high school's all-time leading passer in football. He grew up on the coast of North Carolina. For whatever reason, he struggled last night. And despite his struggles, his teammates battled back and won the game.

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