Big League Stew - MLB

Try as they didn't, the Pittsburgh Pirates could not place a monopoly on embarrassing moments at Miller Park on Monday night.

Milwaukee Brewers catcher Gregg Zaun(notes) went through a little awkward sequence himself during the first inning when shoulder-muscle spasms caused by a collision last week made him botch the delivery of three straight throws back to the mound.

Watch all three throws here

The 39-year-old catcher eventually recovered from his bout of Mackey Sasseritis to record a career-high four hits and five RBIs in the Crew's 17-3 win, but his early struggle had everyone looking up from their cheese fry helmets to wonder what was going on.

Said pitcher Yovani Gallardo(notes): "I didn't know what to do. That's never happened before, and it happened three times. I didn't know what to do or say."


Two of his returns in that first frame sailed over Gallardo's head, and Zaun pounded a third throw into the ground, eliciting some groans from the crowd. Zaun's next throw was a fastball that hit Gallardo right in his glove, and the smattering of boos turned into a loud cheer.

"It was embarrassing, and I was starting to wonder myself," Zaun said. "But I couldn't raise my arm."

Zaun, of course, doesn't have any reason to be embarrassed. The catcher plays the most physically demanding position in baseball and an episode like this underscores all the aches and pains that one goes through to play every day. That he bounced back both offensively and defensively — even if it was just against the Pirates — was impressive.  

And leave it to a former catcher to sympathize with Zaun's plight. If you watch the highlights above, you'll noticed that Brewers announcer Bob Uecker plays it polite, passing up the Harry Doyle "Major League" shtick to cook up a tongue-in-cheek excuse for his team's catcher. 

Said Ueck:

"You never know. Gregg Zaun may be putting on some kind of play. You know, tricking people (with bad throws) and then all of a sudden, you make a good pickoff throw and you got him."

Not quite, Bob ... but I'm sure that Zaun appreciates the support.

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