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Zych I: Streets of Emerald

By: Nathan Bishop

At Home
You are Tony Zych, Seattle Mariners relief pitcher. You wake up in your 
one-bedroom condo in Kirkland. You work out, and have lunch. It is now 1 PM, 
and you have a game at 7:10 PM.

>go to Safeco Field

How do you want to travel?

>take light rail

You don't have that. 

>drive car

Lake Washington
You enter your F-350 Diesel and head west. Do you cross Lake Washington 
on the I-90 or Highway 520 Bridge?

>take 520 Bridge 

The 520 Bridge is closed for construction. 

>I-90

I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that.

>take I-90 Bridge

Clubhouse
There was an accident on the Bridge on Mercer Island, doubling your usual
commute time. You are frustrated, and a little hungry, but in the clubhouse 
at Safeco Field. 

>shoot some pool

I don’t see any “some” here.

>shoot pool

You walk over to teammate Mitch Haniger, who is organizing socks by thread 
count, and challenge him to a game of pool. Haniger accepts and, being 
excellent at pool, you defeat him. He doesn’t seem upset, and goes back 
to his socks.

>lift weights

You do some light leg lifting. You avoid the squat rack because Dan Altavilla,
in lieu of paying exorbitant Seattle rent, has turned it into his home. 
He was demoted to Tacoma weeks ago, and the whole situation is awkward. 

>be a good teammate

You talk to backup catcher Carlos Ruiz about his horses, and take care
to inquire about Solera, who had been having digestive issues recently. 

***Catcher-Pitcher Chemistry increased***

>walk to bullpen

Home Team Bullpen
You sit on the bench as you watch the Mariners play the Angels. It is sunny,
but the crowd is sparse. 

>chew seeds

You chew some seeds.

>chew seeds

You chew some seeds.

>chew seeds

You chew some seeds, and see a Nelson Cruz home run flying directly at you.

>catch ball

You reach out, the ball bounces off your glove and falls to the ground. 
You feel embarrassed, and your teammates give you a hard time, but you have to
 pretend to be happy because the home run gives your team the lead.

***Loss of Self-Esteem***

Top of the 7th
The score is 5-3 Mariners, and James Paxton is in a jam. The bullpen phone rings,
telling you to warm up.

>play catch

You play catch, keeping an eye on the score, and game situation. Paxton strikes
out Kole Calhoun, ending the threat. You sit back down.

>chew seeds

You chew some seeds.

Top of the 12th
The game is tied at 5-5, and you are being called in to pitch to Mike Trout. 

>s

You run to the mound. There is one runner on, and one out. The count is 2-1.

>throw fastball

You throw a fastball that misses low and outside. 

The count is 3-1.

>step off mound

You step off the mound, and take two deep breaths, trying to calm your nerves.

>spit seed

You spit a seed. The crowd murmurs with low anxiety.

>throw slider

You throw a slider down, but in the middle of the plate. Mike Trout hits it into
the batter’s eye in center field for a home run. 7-5 Angels. 

>throw fastball

You do not have that.

Mike Trout continues to circle the bases. The crowd is booing.

>wait

Mike Trout continues to circle the bases. 

Manager Scott Servais steps out of the dugout, grimacing, and calls for 
Emilio Pagan to enter.

***Although the game will continue for the Mariners, your game is over***


A Telephone Conversation With The AA Reliever Listed Last On That Huge Multi-Team Blockbuster That Will Finally Put Your Team in the World Series

By: Matt Ellis

Hi, Dad. No, yes, everything’s fine, yeah, I’m alright. Me? Oh, taquitos. Yes Dad….I know, Dad, Dad…sure. Well what did you expect? I didn’t get back to the apartment until nine, do you know what they have us doing after the…sure, sure. Yeah…nothing much, just packing.

No, no, still in Texas, just about five hours down the highway. Big state, huh? Right…blue, I think…looks a little better than that gaudy yellow crap I’ve been wearing over here though. Yeah, it’s fine, just cleats and an undershirt, shouldn’t be too terrible. No, the other guys are all in Triple-A. Just one, we were in Arizona together.

Who? Wait, didn’t you see it on TV? Yeah…he’s a pretty huge deal, I think they think this puts them into the playoffs or something. Not sure. Oh, no I’ve never met him…I know, right? Yeah, his contract is up this November, so who knows what happens after this. Yeah, he’ll be there for like a few months, probably just staying at the Four Seasons, hahaha. Yeah…oh by the way, I’m in Oklahoma this weekend, can you have Chris drop my apartment keys in the mailbox? Uh huh, the one with the #2 painted on the side. Well, my new lease starts up right away, and this was the only way I could get the first month discounted. Two years. I know, Dad. Oh, I think it’s going to be at least another season.

Oh…no, I don’t know about that…just keep working, I guess. What? I don’t have time to watch TV, Dad, no, I didn’t hear. I told them, it’s just sore…oh please, you try throwing a baseball 88 miles an hour that often and see how you feel. I don’t know…yeah, I think they have some vets, supposedly they’ve been needing some lefties so this could be good. Not sure…there were a few people watching in Tulsa last week, I think.

I’m fine, really!…Yeah, I’m looking forward to getting there. Hey, I’ll get you a hat from The Lexington. Oh, it’s an old aircraft carrier and a museum or something. I don’t know, they told me that’s the big thing there. No, you don’t have to give up your Rangers hat. It’s just a hat, Dad.

I know, I was proud too, but this is how it goes. No, I try not to think about it too much. Yeah, I’m sure you can get your flight changed.

Dad, look, I have to go to bed, the bus leaves at 6 in the morning. No, I don’t have time to watch it, I’m an hour ahead of you, remember?

Alright Dad, tell mom I said hi. You too.


40 Under 40: Baseball-Hitting Talents

By: Jason Wojciechowski

© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This list is inherently objective. The criteria used to generate these rankings are as follows: Is the player a good hitter of baseballs, and is the person under 40 years old? Do they get on base? Do they hit with power? How much value do they add with their bat on a per-plate-appearance basis?

You'll notice there are more than 40 players on the list. That's because I grouped certain players together in more or less arbitrary fashion and then justified it post hoc so I could have a longer list.

Without further ado:

40. Trey Mancini, Gerardo Parra, Mark Reynolds: All good hitters under 40 who I associate with the Orioles even though Parra only played 55 games for that team.

39. Matt Adams, Jesus Aguilar: These are large men who hit the ball well and are under 40.

38. Nolan Arenado: Good hitter, not yet 40. Also good at defense.

37. Travis Shaw, Brandon Belt, Matt Carpenter: Good hitters under 40 who play first base, except for Shaw, who plays third base.

36. Domingo Santana: Good hitter, well under 40.

35. Jedd Gyorko: Has hit the ball well this year. He's under 40.

34. Aaron Altherr, Eric Hosmer: Good hitters, under 40, and their last names kind of rhyme.

33. Anthony Rizzo: Good hitter, under 40, beefy.

32. Aaron Hicks: Has good numbers hitting, hasn't turned 40.

31. Tyler Flowers: Catcher who has hit this year, under 40.

30. Adam Duvall, Lucas Duda, Jay Bruce: Guys with key U's in their names who are good at hitting. Not one is 40 yet.

29. Lonnie Chisenhall: Under 40, good hitter.

28. Steven Souza, Justin Smoak: Good hitters, under 40, have O_ names.

27. Zack Cozart, Nelson Cruz: A couple of key Z's here, if you will, and if you won't, still two good hitters under 40.

26. Jake Lamb, Jose Ramirez: Good hitters, not quite 40; one's a Lamb and the other's face is so mean all the time he'd terrify a lamb.

25. Corey Dickerson: Hits well, isn't 40.

24. Eric Thames: Great story, hits well, isn't 40.

23. Kris Bryant, Chris Taylor: Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, both both resulted in good hitters under 40.

22. George Springer: Houston Astro who hits well and isn't 40.

21. Andrew McCutchen: Has bounced back to hitting well, in part because he isn't 40.

20. Logan Morrison: Finally living up to his promise with the bat, in part because he isn't 40.

19. Alex Avila: I had no idea he'd make this list. He should be 40, but isn't.

18. Tommy Pham: Hits very well, is under 40.

17. Corey Seager: Feels like he's under 20, and definitely is good at hitting.

16. Marwin Gonzalez, Ryan Zimmerman: Two good hitters under 40 who are only missing an X between them for some end-of-alphabet chicanery.

15. Scooter Gennett: Hit those four dongers Mark Whiten-style, and is not yet 40.

14. Charlie Blackmon: Beardo who nevertheless hits, and is under 40.

13. Jose Altuve, Justin Bour: More opposite in size than even Altuve-Judge, by my way of reckoning, but they still add up to two good hitters under 40.

12. Carlos Correa: He's hurt now, but he'd still outhit you, and he's under 40.

11. Daniel Murphy: Has taken his hitting to a new level in Washington, and won't be 40 for a while.

10. Marcell Ozuna: Underappreciated for a long time despite being a good hitter under 40.

9. Buster Posey: Still not close to 40, still one of the good hitters.

8. Eric Sogard: The true face of MLB is a good hitter under 40.

7. Michael Conforto, J.D. Martinez: Two outfielders who are under 40 and hit well.

6. Giancarlo Stanton: An under-40 giant in a man's game who is, of course, a good hitter.

5. Cody Bellinger, Paul Goldschmidt: Neither is 40, both hit very well.

4. Anthony Rendon, Bryce Harper: A couple of Nats teammates under 40 who are good at hitting.

3. Aaron Judge, Joey Votto: Their excellence is shaped in opposite fashion (extreme power vs. extreme OBP) but the result in each case is an under-40 good hitter.

2. Justin Turner, Freddie Freeman: These two are grouped because I ran out of numbers. They're both under 40 and both good at hitting.

1. Mike Trout: Will probably be under 40 and a good hitter forever.

Just Missed: Jake Marisnick (not as good a hitter); Carlos Beltran (over 40, bad hitter).