Plus Paul Simon, the Braves’ organist trolling, and everything else you missed in baseball this week.
Welcome to Mound Visits, your weekly recap of the best things you might have missed in baseball every week. This week brings us Bartolo Colon’s invincible stomach, the Braves’ organist trolling, and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. messing with Baseball Twitter.
Carson Smith Is a human “Wanna get away?” commercial
It’s probably time for Red Sox reliever Carson Smith to pick a TV series he’s been meaning to catch up on, hunker down, and shut his phone off for a few days. Smith was put on the 10-day DL this week after he injured his pitching shoulder by throwing his glove in an angry fit after letting up a late-innings home run during Monday night’s game against the A’s.
After the injury — which is pretty funny if you divorce it from the fact he’s, ya know, hurt — he then blamed the Red Sox for pitching him too much and said it was “fatigue.” Apparently, Smith spent his free time this week shopping for a new ergonomically-designed shovel so he could dig a hole as efficiently as possible, then just keep digging every chance he got.
Dear Yankees, please meet your new seventh inning stretch entertainment
One of the best things in all of pop culture right now is Jennifer Lopez’s commitment to never, not once, be anything less than completely over the top in public. Usually, her performances are not sports related. But this week was Upfronts over in television land, the week when networks highlight their new and returning series for advertisers in the hopes of attracting ad money for next season.
NBC was promoting Lopez’s series World of Dance, and in support of their publicity efforts she took the stage for a sparkly, choreographed performance in a sequined and stylized baseball uniform with Alex Rodriguez’s former number splashed on the front. This might be the best-ever celebrity version of wearing your boyfriend’s varsity jacket.
All hail the Instagram troll king (baseball division)
Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. had a big week. He had a great game for the Fisher Cats on Wednesday, the push for him being called up got more emphatic, and he captured Baseball Twitter’s heart for good by being an expert troll. Vlad decided to post a picture of him at JFK and geotag it as such, convincing all of Baseball Twitter that he was in New York with the Blue Jays ahead of their Toronto series.
Eventually people realized it was a duplicate photo and he was joking. For a second there though, Baseball Twitter morphed into College Football Twitter as far as tracking people at airports then jumping to conclusions in all-caps Twitter declarations.
The Fisher Cats capitalized on the goof with their lineup announcement the next day, as a cherry on top of the Guerrero sundae.
Cubba Cubba Yeah
This week in extremely topical not at all out-of-date references, the Cubs re-made the Superbad intro with silhouettes of their infamous bullpen dancing.
This looks like it took a ton of effort and it entertained the internet for an hour. Seeing as the Cubs’ usual content strategy involves letting John Madden speak without a filter, this is a fun outcome. Next thing planned better be an on-the-scene video of Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo shopping for a comforter at the mall.
Go, Go Gadget stomach!
At first it looked like a nut shot, but on replay it’s obvious he got it square in the gut.
He was fine though, because apparently his stomach is Flubber. Afterwards, he said,
“It hit me more on the side than in the middle. I have a lot of big belly, so I can take it.”
If absolutely no other positives came of it, thank the heavens that his career lasted long enough that we got that gem of a soundbite from him.
Bartolo’s stomach, basically:
[Steel Guitar Riff] We’re Going To Bounceland
Listen, I love Paul Simon. Despite his faults, I love him and his music. The third time I saw Billy Joel (yes, third, and I can feel your judgement through this computer) he brought out Paul Simon to duet on “The Boxer” and I almost cried. So yeah, big Paul Simon fan.
With all that said, even Paul Simon shouldn’t get a first pitch do-over. Ya bounced it, Paul! You’ve gotta live with that!
— MLB (@MLB) May 18, 2018
He didn’t even do that much better the second time! He bounced it again! Sure, if I were as rich and revered as Paul Simon I’d probably ask for the ball back too. That shoulder has been through a lot of years and probably doesn’t have the strength it used to. But a first pitch re-try is for like, The Pope or Air Bud. Except that Air Bud wouldn’t need a second try.
Stephen Piscotty had a week
A’s outfielder Stephen Piscotty returned to the A’s this week after being on the bereavement list following the death of his mother last weekend. Returning to work — professional athlete or not — after a loss like that is never easy and his first games back on the field had moments equally emotional and wild.
On Tuesday, he hit a home run in his first at-bat after returning, and patted his chest when he crossed home plate in tribute to his mom.
— Oakland Athletics ⚾️ (@Athletics) May 16, 2018
Then, the next night, he made one of the best (if not the best) catches of the season where he ended up in the Fenway stands but held on.
Piscotty makes incredible catch in the stands. pic.twitter.com/iW3u9AKDoN
— A’s on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) May 17, 2018
Both great baseball moments for entirely different reasons.
The Braves’ organist had JOKES
Over the offseason, Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber lost a lot of weight. He looks good, and currently has above-career-average offensive numbers so the trimness looks to be helping his performance at least slightly.
On Wednesday night, the Braves’ organist chose a special song for each Cubs player (“There Are Worse Things I Could Do” for Anthony Rizzo because of Grease, for example) and their choice for Schwarber was possibly the best joke of them all. He was serenaded with “Creep (Half the Man I Used To Be)” by Stone Temple Pilots. Bravo, Braves.
Have a favorite moment from this week? Tweet them at me and I’ll include them in next week’s Mound Visits.