- NotGraphs Baseball - https://www.fangraphs.com/not -

Mike McKenry: Smilin’ Through It All

Hey guys — and I mean “guys” in a non-gendered way, like saying, “Hey people,” but maybe that is not enough, maybe I should just say, “Hey, people” —

Hey friends, something sorta crappy happened to me the other day. We all have crappy days; I hope your day is better than the day that I had the other day. So, we — the Pittsburgh Pirates, I mean — played a really long extra innings game. It was 19 innings long. It took over six hours to play, and I caught the whole game. It was pretty cool, ’cause we won and all, and it was a big game against the Cardinals and they’re always a tough team to beat.

“That’s awesome! I like pink, too!”

But me, personally, I didn’t get a hit. I didn’t get to base at all and I went up to bat eight times. Eight. I mean, you’d think something would break right, right? Think I’d work a walk or force an error. Nope. One of those at-bats was even a double play, so I made nine outs — three whole innings worth! — in just eight trips.

I mean here we are, playing this tight game — crucial game against the Cards — Jeffy’s pitching great, and here I am just making all these outs. I was in bummer city, friends, and I’m normally a pretty positive guy — super positive guy.

So after the game everyone is all high in the locker room and slappin’ Pedro‘s butt and Andrew is dancing in his jock and Primanti’s delivered a special batch of sandwiches on account of the long game and people are joyously ripping into them and everything, but I was just feeling bummed. I was thinking maybe I had set a record for most trips to the plate in a game without reaching base. I was just sitting at my locker, smiling the whole time because that’s what I always do: knees feel like they just got hammered in the balls? Smilin’. Hemorrhoids feeling like they’re gone a mile? Still gotta smile. Wife dumped all your ice cream out? Smilin’. Dog got murdered by a dog murderer? Frown for a day but then back to smilin’. But I tell you, friends, the other night? I just wanted to get home so I could to look it up on Baseball-Reference.

Boy oh boy, am I glad I did.

“It feels good to just put this helmet on. I’m a pretty lucky guy.”

Turns out I’m not anywhere near the only person to have had at least eight trips to the plate without getting on base once. In fact, other players have done it this very season: 2012.

Heck, David Freese went 0-for-8 for the Cards in the same game as I did, and his team lost the game, and he struck out more times than I did, too. There are tons of guys — well, 143 to be exact — that have never reached base when having eight trips to the plate or more in a game. A couple guys even had eleven appearances. Sheesh.

So, friends, I guess I was being a bit of a baby. That reminds me why I smile so much, why I’m positive so much: because when you do bad, someone probably did it worse at some point. But I don’t mean to get all schadenfreudy: I’m not that kind of guy. I just mean that I have to remember that things aren’t so bad at all. In fact, they’re pretty bitchin’.

I though maybe if I shared this little tale with you, it might help you get through a day when you’re feeling bad. The next time you get down on yourself, look something up on the internet, and you will be all smiles again in no time.

Gotta dance.