Our beloved Will Smith, not long for our favorite baseball team, was the sole representative of said team in the 90th All-Star Game that just concluded on the Fox Television Network. The American League won 4-3, their seventh consecutive win in the exhibition series, with Clayton Kershaw, officially, receiving the loss. The National League mounted a late rally but just came up short.
It was a 3-1 game in the bottom of the seventh inning when Smith came into the game with two outs. Joey Gallo was the batter up and got a fastball on the first pitch:
Thanks to modern technology, I was able to freeze frame the Fox strike zone box to illustrate just exactly where Will Smith’s pitch crossed the plate (allegedly) to help explain just exactly how Joey Gallo was able to annihilate it.
Nothing like a blurry freeze frame of streaming video to help illustrate a point, but it’s clear enough, and so there you go: it was, allegedly, right down the middle. I say allegedly because these strike zone boxes are not 100% accurate, but given what happened to Smith’s fastball, it’s safe to say he threw it in a bad spot.
Here’s a slightly sharper but much smaller picture to show you where Yasmani Grandal setup pre-pitch (just focus on the yellow dot:
That’s below Gallo’s knees and outside the strike zone in the opposite batter’s box.
So, there you have it. Will Smith came into the game and missed badly with location on the very first pitch. It gave the outlets a lot of replays for some reason:
And this nugget of ignominy for Smith:
Highest Exit Velo (hit) in ASG (since 2015)— Richard Justice (@richardjustice) July 10, 2019
111.5 mph -- Joey Gallo, 2019 (HR)
110.8 mph -- Kris Bryant, 2016 (HR)
110.2 mph -- Gary Sanchez, 2019 (2B)
110.0 mph -- Eric Hosmer, 2016 (single)
108.9 mph -- J.D. Martinez, 2018 (single)@statcast
Anyway, he threw two more pitches and got out of the inning and it’s an exhibition, too, so it’s not worth getting actually mad about, but if there are people bummed about this just remember: if Smith hadn’t given up that home run, the game might’ve gone into extra innings. Did we really need a 4-hour All-Star Game?
I’m not one of the fans who remembers every Giants meltdown in an All-Star Game, but Giants pitchers have, traditionally, not been great when they’ve played. Matt Cain’s 2012 start wherein he pitched two scoreless innings is basically the lone exception.
Ah. Someone showed Will Smith the “Giants pitching meltdowns in the All-Star Game” Wikipedia page.— Grant Brisbee (@GrantBrisbee) July 10, 2019
Atlee Hammaker.— Sal Castaneda (@sal_castaneda) July 10, 2019
Atlee Hammaker. Rick Reuschel. Shawn Estes. Will Smith. Can @SFGiants please establish an All Star Game quarantine for their pitchers?— Raphael Seth (@NBCRaphael) July 10, 2019
Here’s that Hammaker appearance:
Today In 1983: California #Angels star Fred Lynn hits the first ever grand slam in an All-Star Game vs. Giants pitcher Atlee Hammaker! (Comiskey Park, Chicago) #ASG #MLB #Historypic.twitter.com/adRjmMhev8— Baseball by BSmile (@BSmile) July 6, 2019
My memory is much clearer on Robb Nen blowing the save in the 2002 All-Star Game... you know, the one that ended in the tie. The Giants were at least partially responsible for altering baseball history!
Come home, Will Smith, so we can enjoy maybe a couple of more perfect saves from you before you’re traded.
One final note about the All-Star Game: it revealed what’s perhaps obvious to most of you but points I feel are worth mentioning in the wake of the final out:
- The quality of major league talent is overwhelmingly great.
- The quality of major league personalities is exceptional, meaning the game can be easily marketed.
- C.C. Sabathia’s appearance as “pitching coach” for a mound visit was an inspired bit of entertainment to the point that it’s clear there are people within the game who are thinking outside the box, which means...
- The national broadcasters are doing as much to destroy the game of baseball as YouTube or whatever other demographic boogeyperson you might conjure. For now, let’s just start and end with this:
Christian Yelich reacts to Tom Verducci comparing his numbers to PED users pic.twitter.com/krvh49NS4k— The Render (@TheRenderMedia) July 10, 2019
If they don’t hate the game, it’s hard to find articles of evidence to back them up on it.
- Maybe the players shouldn’t be mic’d up for every game, but on the other hand... why not?