An MLB rookie’s first career hit is one of the most important moments of his life, and instantly turns the ball involved into a lifelong keepsake. St. Louis Cardinals rookie Masyn Winn nearly lost his.
Winn, a 21-year-old middle infielder, made his MLB debut on Friday against the New York Mets. In the fifth inning, he hit a high chopper to third base and used his speed to beat out the throw for an infield hit. Mets first baseman Pete Alonso laid out to catch the ball, then was expected to throw the ball to the Cardinals dugout to save the souvenir.
Instead, Alonso threw it high and deep into the Busch Stadium stands:
Safe to say, the Cardinals crowd wasn’t happy, nor were the Cardinals themselves. The Athletic’s Katie Woo noted starting pitcher Miles Mikolas was so irate he had to be told to calm down by first base umpire John Tumpane, while the crowd chanted “Give it back.”
Fortunately for all involved, the ball was found and returned to the Cardinals, securing the all-important keepsake for Winn.
Alonso immediately became a villain on social media, but his persistent apologies and explanation after the game, a 7-1 Mets win, indicated the throw was an innocent mistake. Alonso, never one to hide his emotions, laid into his mistake, calling it a “really bad brain fart” and pledging to get Winn something on Saturday to make up for it.
The full explanation, via SNY:
“I feel horrible. I feel awful. I know it sounds stupid, but it’s just a bad brain fart. I know throwing the ball in the stands, that robs him of a really special moment. I feel really bad thinking on my first hit and just getting the ball thrown back to the dugout. I feel awful. I feel like a piece of crap.
“In the heat of the moment, you kind of just get lost. I got up from trying to make a play, the umpire said ‘Hey we’re going to try to switch this ball out,’ so I’m like ‘OK, I’m going to do what I always do.’ I always throw the ball in the stands, but I’ll never throw the ball in the stands again. I’m just going to roll every ball to the dugout when they’re going to switch it out.
“That’s a really bad mistake and it’s completely unintentional. I feel horrible about it. I feel really bad. I apologized to him when I was at second after the forceout. I’m really sorry and I’m going to try to talk to him and get him something for tomorrow as an apology. It’s stupid, it’s a really bad look and I feel like an idiot. I feel terrible. I feel really bad.”
The Cardinals clearly accepted Alonso’s apology, with manager Oli Marmol saying some players had talked to Alonso after reaching first base and understood what happened. Winn himself laughed off the whole thing, via Bally Sports Midwest:
“He apologized on first, and when he got to second later, he apologized as well. Complete accident. I thought it was quite funny, especially after we got the ball back, I thought it was a little bit more funny.”
Winn said he would give the ball to his mother. Ranked as the No. 32 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, Winn started at shortstop and went 1-for-4 while batting ninth. Alonso was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.