Jungle Karma

Derek Richard Dietrich.

Jim Rome
May 29, 2019 - 11:58 am
Derek Dietrich

USA Today


The NBA and the NHL had the night off last night, so there’s nothing to talk about, right? Wrong. MLB has this. Hell yes it does!.

There were so many things that MLB had yesterday and last night that for a brief moment, it almost felt like America’s Pastime again. It had it all. You want something terrible and embarrassing? Let’s go to Chicago for the first pitch before yesterday’s Royals-White Sox game.

First pitches are a weird thing. They’re deceivingly hard even for actual athletes, but they are usually handled by non-athletes who throw on a jersey, march onto a major league field, and then try to throw a rock to a small target. It’s not easy. It’s hard. And there are roughly 15 of them every day.

Which means that every day, multiple people are missing the plate and bouncing it off the grass. It’s gotten to the point where the “horrible first pitch genre” is pretty played, pretty tired.

Hey, let’s clown this singer or this municipal employee for doing something that most people can’t do.  

So if I wanted to do a take on a terrible first pitch every day, I could do that. And then I could just run down all the terrible first pitches that came before it.

Shoot, that compilation is so easy, I could just have Alvin play a tape of me talking about 50 Cent, Mariah Carey, the Mayor of Cincinnati, and so on.

But since the horror of a first pitch is visual and the majority of the audience is on radio, that doesn’t make a ton of sense. You need to do something pretty terrible to get run on this show for a bad pitch.

So yesterday the White Sox honored their Employee of the Month by having her throw out the first pitch and they wanted to make sure that they captured the moment, so they sent a photographer out there as well.

He was standing on the grass to the left of the “pitcher” and probably thought he was safe. Spoiler alert: he was not.

Roll it.

There’s missing the plate. There’s bouncing it off the grass. And then there’s bouncing it off the photographer. Drilled him right in the lens. That is awesome. That is truly special.

And of course you know that every sports radio show and morning zoo show around the country is going to have a bunch of out of shape dopes mocking her and claiming they could do better. I doubt it.

She doesn’t need to be clowned. Do you think you could do better? Do you think Doug from Accounting or Amy from Sales is really going up there to paint the black in the low 90s? For all we know, her job is to evaluate talent, not be the talent. So unless this woman is the employee of the month from the pitching department, give her a break.

That said, drilling the photographer is incredible. I haven’t seen something that jaw-dropping on the field in a Royals-White Sox game since the shirtless father and son ran onto the field and attacked the Royals first base coach. At least this White Sox employee was invited there.

If you want to make fun of someone, take a run at Blue Jays right fielder Randal Grichuk who did the outfield equivalent of a horrible first pitch in the third inning last night. When you talk about inside-the-park home runs, most people immediately think of an exciting play where a speedster drives a ball into the gap and then gets on his horse and sprints around the bases. It’s incredibly exciting.

Or it’s like this: Tampa’s Avisail Garcia lofts a soft pop-up to right field and Grichuk has himself a nightmare.

I don’t know if he lost the ball in the lights, never saw it, or has the worst vision ever, but Grichuk missed that ball by about 30 feet. He’s staggering around in right, staring at the ceiling, looking for something, and the ball lands about 10 yards behind him and bounces to the wall.

And credit to him, when he realizes where the ball is, he doesn’t sprint after it. He just jogs and that gives Garcia time to not only circle the bases, but slide home without there even being a play at the plate.

And let’s be honest, Garcia is not exactly Vince Coleman. He’s a lot more like Steve Balboni. My guy is slower that dirt. Even with the misplay, that should still only be a triple. But because Grichuk lost the ball in the ceiling and then practically walked to it, Garcia ended up with quite possibly the worst inside the park home run ever.

But as good slash horrible as those moments were, last night in baseball, hell, last night in sports, belonged to one Derek Richard Dietrich. And to the Jungle Karma.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: the Karma is one of the most powerful forces on earth. It’s not something I control, it’s bigger than me. It’s bigger than all of us.

But you know the drill – if someone comes on the show and does a good interview, good things usually happen to them.

And Derek Dietrich came on the show yesterday and did a great interview. Not only did he do a great interview, he stayed on the phone afterwards and called his shot about the topics he’d like to discuss the next time he’s on. There’s being a good interview, and then there’s going next level and producing your next interview. And I could not have been more impressed.

And then came the game against the Pirates. Dietrich has been mashing Pittsburgh pitching all season, so he had to be feeling good when he stepped into the batter’s box in the first inning. Especially after that interview. But he grounded out to end the inning.

Then he came up in the bottom of the fourth with a runner on second. And this happened.

The Karma lives. Do a good interview, hit a home run a few hours later.

And then he came up in the bottom of the fifth with a runner on. Roll it.

What an incredible performance. Masterpiece of an interview and now a two-homer, four RBI game. But Dietrich was not done.

Dietrich came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, and stop me if you’ve heard this before, with a runner on. And I will warn you, this is not a replay.

Three home runs. The Jungle Karma has never been stronger. And the best part about those home runs was that there wasn’t a cheap one among them. And you could time his trots with a sun dial. I know the Pirates and their fans hate that, but if you love baseball, you should love that.

Those three bombs last night gave him 17 on the year, a new career-high before we’ve even ended May. This is a guy who was DFA’d by the Marlins last year and now he’s putting up Barry Bonds numbers this year. Seriously. He’s averaging a home run every 6.9 at bats this season. The record is prime Bonds with 6.52.

Incredible performance by Dietrich on the phone and then at the plate. War Dietrich. War the Reds. War the legendary Rob Butcher. And War the Karma.