Biographers disagree about 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 a proof of the divine. Convinced that his son was a “miracle born of God in Salzburg,” Leopold took his six-year-old son on a grueling tour of Europe. And while there was certainly a profit motive in the decision, the authoritative Grove Dictionary says that his primary motivation was missionary: “The realization of this ‘miracle’ must have struck Leopold with the power of divine revelation, and he felt responsible for it not only that a father and teacher, but also that of a missionary.” Leopold, it seems, believed he had an obligation to his God to share the wonder of Wolfgang’s talent with the world.
Which brings me to Ty France. Stuck in a remote corner of the country, the Seattle Mariners often play games that start after most of the country has gone to bed. It’s hard for the team or their players to attract attention. Sometimes, with the supernatural talent of a Griffey or Ichiro or Julio, they can still break through. But since it took an insatiable campaign from his fans to get Edgar inducted into the Hall of Fame, the team and its boosters had an absurdly uphill battle to get Ty France into this year’s All-Star Game. But just before today’s game it happened.
The rest of the world will see the wonder of Ty France’s talent in Los Angeles on Tuesday. And in the fifth inning today, he showed what that talent looks like by throwing a ball 432 feet.
Zoot Alours! Today it’s the world of Ty France and we all just live in it.
But Ty France is just one of the many Mariners wonders, so many of whom have been on display during that incredible winning streak that continued this afternoon. Take Chris Flexen for example. Because Tuesday’s game was rainy, Flex had to line up Wednesday’s Game One of the makeup double header, which meant he had to take a short break today. Knowing this, I spent some time last night thinking about how I would write about ending the winning streak. Silly me.
Flex pitched an admirable 76 pitches today and didn’t get into trouble until the third. In the top half of the inning, Marcus Semien and Corey Seager hit a double play, but they must have been eating Tide Pods as their pregame snack because they ran all the way to the dugout before being told these were just the first two outs of the innings. But when the bottom half of the inning finally came, it became clear why they were so eager to get started, with Semien homering and Seager following with a single. That got Flex hooked, but 3.2 innings of a one-run ball from the team’s worst starter working on a short break against a decent offense counts like a miracle in my book.
The bullpen finished the game well, including a particularly nasty sixth inning from Penn Murfee, where he penned three and caught three of his five checkers.
The word “dirt” comes up pretty often when it comes to sliders these days. But it’s a worthy description for a pitch like this pic.twitter.com/H8CulPaZGc
— Action Zach (@RealZachMason) July 17, 2022
If there’s nothing divine behind that pitch, I don’t know what is. And the world is finally watching.
Defense also played a role, with a jump catch by Winker on the first afternoon of the afternoon and several balls held just inside the confines of Globe Life Field. The no-fly zone has been expanded.
Ty France is an All-Star today, but one day Cal Raleigh will be too. Although he usually had Sunday off after playing both Friday and Saturday, Scott knew the offense needed him too much. And so today he hit the ball three times in excess of 160 km/h, including the decisive goal of the game.
The extra effort earns Cal a Beef Boy Sun Hat Award for his notable contribution, his third, making him the first-half leader at three. Mazel tov, Big Dumper. If you look at Sun Hat’s record book for the first half, it turns out I’m part of the problem when it comes to Ty France’s deletion. Let me correct that retrospectively 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, taking 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 delight that the extra coverage the winning streak has brought the team has brought a little more love to Sam Haggerty? Our Swaggy Ham was the unsung hero of this series. OK, the home run in the park was pretty loud. But then he let steal third base in the 10th inning yesterday and a three-hit day today. And once again, it was his base running that impressed the most, as evidenced by this reading of a flyball by Julio Rodriguez.
Notice the hesitation in only the right moment to ensure he could get back to first if the ball had been caught before turning on the nitrous so hard he nearly passed Frazier. And it has to be mentioned that that seventh inning with two RBI doubles from Julio put the game out of reach at 6-1, as of course that game had a big highlight from Julio. Of course it did. Like Fernando Tatís Jr. and motorcycling, he can’t help it. On top of that, he led the game from a single and reaching base by being hit by a pitch for the second time in the series as Rangers are clearly looking to give Corey Seager an advantage in tomorrow’s Home Run Derby. But you can’t hold Julio down.
After Julio put the game out of reach, the Mariners won their 14th straight. That miracle run should be enough for them to have a significant share of the national baseball media discussion during the All-Star break. Are the Mariners finally getting some attention? How divine.