Max Scherzer may have made a big mistake in beating this ceremonial first-pitch thrower to the mound
In professional sports, there are no bigger creatures of habit than MLB starting pitchers. It takes a seriously disciplined routine to be ready both mentally and physically to empty the tank every fifth day. It's no wonder they are often so on edge that the game not starting exactly on time can set them off (cough, Gerritt Cole). Or, an awkward staredown with an ump can get them ejected in the first inning (cough, Madison Bumgarner).
New York Mets ace Max Scherzer falls firmly in this crazy-person camp, the rare type who treats his job like life-or-death rather than a game. This was on full display Friday night, when Scherzer took the mound ahead of the Mets' home game against the Seattle Mariners at Citi Field. In a seemingly innocent clip, Scherzer beats the ceremonial first-pitch thrower to the mound and doesn't let the guy throw the first pitch. Just Mad Max being Mad Max, right?
Upon first viewing, it seems like normal, Mad Max stuff. The man gets paid a lot of money to throw a baseball and he takes it very seriously, which is part of his charm. When it comes time to toe the slab, Max Scherzer is toeing the effing slab and nobody is telling him different. The problem here was that this was hardly some "nobody" who Scherzer upstaged.
Unfortunately for Scherzer, the internet did it's damn thing and found out that the ceremonial first-pitch thrower was Mikio Mori, Ambassador and Consul General of Japan. Mori is in town for New York City's first ever Japan parade in honor of Japan Day, which will take place on Saturday, per SILive.com. Before that, though, Mori was slated to throw out the first pitch on Friday night at Citi Field, but Scherzer had other ideas.
Making matters worse was that at Citi Field Friday night, it was Japanese Heritage Night, and it marked the 150th anniversary of the United States' introduction of baseball to Japan. An alternate headline might have read "Scherzer denies Japanese Ambassador first pitch on Japanese Heritage Night at Citi Field, ahead of Japan Day parade in New York City," but that may have been a little harsh.
Look, it's just a tough situation all around. If we're being fair, and we truly believe Scherzer is a certified wack job on the days he gets the ball, then there is almost zero chance he had any idea who this person was or what night it was at Citi Field and/or the significance of it. Scherzer has one thing on his mind and it's first pitch, which sadly came at the expense of this poor guy Mikio Mori. It could and probably should have been avoided (like by having Mori throw out the pitch a few minutes earlier), but what are you going to do. Not surprisingly, the Mets went on to lose. Bad mojo from the start.