Bring in the Lefty: The Five Best Mound Visits of All Time (Satire)
Undoubtedly the most interesting part of any baseball game, the visit to the mound is as integral to baseball as the mound itself. Originating in 1975 when rebel catcher Johnny Bench of the Cincinnati Reds trotted out to have a quick chat with pitcher Rawly Eastwick, the visit to the mound has polarized the sport of baseball.
Critics of the mound visit claim it slows down a game known for its brisk and efficient pace, while those who approve of its place in baseball say it's a great chance to share stories from the dugout as well as a great chance to rehash the events of the previous night's festivities.
While both sides continue to voice their strong feelings about the issue, no one can deny that mound visits are necessary for pitching changes and strategic mid-inning conversations.
Ahead are the top-five mound visits of all time, encompassing an era in which some of baseball's greatest action took place on a medium-sized hill of generously packed dirt.
Second Inning Blues and Missing Sunglasses
Now known as the longest mound visit of all time, Yankees skipper Joe Girardi approached the mound simply to ask pitcher Chien-Mien Wang if he had seen his sunglasses anywhere. Wang, without the help of an interpreter, thought Girardi was pulling him from the game and argued, in his native Korean, that he should stay in, as it was only the second inning.
Girardi mistook Wang's argument as a gesture to purchase him a new pair of sunglasses because he must have misplaced the original pair somewhere. Girardi thanked Wang for the gesture and told him that, while it's admirable to want to do such a thing, it is not necessary and he would just get a pair on his own after the game.
Wang then walked off the mound toward the dugout, resulting in an awkward and painfully long exchange where Girardi had to convince Wang to stay in the game and pitch.
The situation was finally resolved when Hideki Matsui rushed in from the outfield to translate and return Girardi's sunglasses.
The Whisper Heard 'Round the World
Details are still murky as to what exactly was said, but during a mound visit at the 2001 World Series, Arizona Diamondback pitcher Curt Schilling whispered to catcher Damien Miller that the girl in the blue sweater sitting in row two behind the dugout was "super attractive".
That girl turned out to be Mark Grace's wife. Of course, Schilling and Grace were teammates at the time. Everything was kept under wraps until Jay Bell, second baseman for the Diamondbacks who was close enough to overhear the conversation, spilled the beans to Grace about what was said.
Schilling was mortified. Grace was furious. The beat reporters picked up on it and nearly drove the issue into the ground. Everyone was sick of hearing about it.
The Diamondbacks eventually silenced the talk when they beat the New York Yankees in game seven, rallying back in the ninth inning against future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera.
In 2004, the baseball world was abuzz over word that St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina had voiced his displeasure in catching then Cardinals pitcher Jason Marquis. Though manager Tony La Russa did his best to keep the lid on such a volatile situation, emotions boiled over on the mound during the first inning of a divisional game between the Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs.
Prior to the first pitch, Molina gently jogged out to the mound to let Marquis know, face to face, that this would be the last time he ever caught one of his games. Overcome with emotion, Marquis pulled his jersey up over his face and sobbed for several minutes, delaying the start of the game.
Despite several emotional outbursts throughout the game, Marquis would go on to pitch seven innings of shutout baseball.
You've Been Traded
In 1994, Major League Baseball was a mess. Headed for a strike that would eventually end the season, baseball's future looked grim. Nothing made sense. Players were confused and all of the game's etiquette and professionalism was lost.
In this photo, taken at the Toronto Skydome, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jack Morris is told that he has just been traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Denny Neagle and Lloyd McClendon. Begrudgingly, Morris left the game with a 2-1 lead and two outs in the fifth.
Morris than took a dramatic 35-minute walk around the Skydome, soaking in the fond memories he had created, shook the hands of his fans, and chartered a plane to Three Rivers Stadium, where he pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn his first save as a Pittsburgh Pirate.
After recording only the second out in the ninth inning of game seven in the 1986 World Series, the New York Mets prematurely mobbed reliever Roger McDowell on the mound. McDowell, stuck under the entire Mets ballclub, could not be heard shouting, "We still need one more out!"
The Mets would go on to uncork seven bottles of champagne before home plate umpire John Hirschbeck politely informed the club that there were only two outs in the inning.