Countless kids across North America have pitched baseballs against brick walls with a strike zone box painted over an imagined home plate. That's all Los Angeles Angels right-hander Garrett Richards was doing Monday night at Nationals Park — reminiscing — when he uncorked two errant pitches in one at-bat against Washington's Denard Span. Both pitches missed the mark so badly that they bounced hard off the brick wall behind home plate. The second pitch, for ball four, bounced so hard it went all of the way back to Richards on the mound.
Who needs a catcher, anyway?
The reactions of the umpire, Angels catcher Chris Iannetta and the fans behind the screen were the best part. The fans acted like they were on a roller-coaster ride at Disneyland. Gee, does this happen every time the Angels come to town?!
Span tried smiling at Richards while taking his base, but Richards was still in competitive beast mode so he didn't give much of a reaction to Span's reaction. I guess if you're the pitcher in that situation, it's more embarrassing and frustrating than amusing. Not to us, though. Regardless of the outcome of that at-bat, Richards pitched pretty well again, lowering his ERA to 2.52 after giving up one run and one hit, along with four walks and a wild pitch — not that either of the Span pitches counted as wild, as no one was on base at the time. "Hey, what about my six strikeouts?" he might say? (He also had six strikeouts.)
The wall behind the plate at Nationals park is so springy, it probably reminded Richards of this product:
In fact, Franklin Sporting Goods might want to think about marketing these pitch returns in the style of anyone's favorite ballpark. The actual national-park looking stone of Nationals Park, red brick for Wrigley Field, etc.
The Garrett Richards Pitch Return! (Please send all royalties to Yahoo Sports, c/o Big League Stew.)
Big BLS H/N: SB Nation
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