In Thursday night’s game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals, Cards starter Lance Lynn experienced a pitcher’s nightmare scenario. He threw a pitch, and then it came screaming back at him, aimed for his head. But not only did Lynn seem fine after the hit, he stayed in the game and kept pitching like nothing had ever happened.
The comebacker came in the third inning. Lynn was pitching to Lorenzo Cain, and on the 1-2 pitch Cain took a mighty rip that sent the ball forward into a line drive. It’s hard to tell from the video if Lynn saw it coming because he had his head turned toward the first base side, but either way the ball got him on the right side of his head. When the ball hit him, Lynn spun around and his hat flew off. It was a scary moment.
But Lynn got right back up, completely unfazed. The ball had ricocheted off his head and sailed toward right center field, where Dexter Fowler picked it up.
Of course, manager Mike Matheny and Cardinals trainer Adam Olsen ran out to the mound to see how he was. But Lynn wasn’t having any of it. Here’s what he said, from Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“Go back to the dugout where you belong,” Lynn recalled telling Matheny and Olsen.
When they reminded Lynn that it was their job to check on his welfare, the self-proclaimed hard-headed righthander had a quick reply.
“I’m trying to do mine,” he said. “Get off the mound.”
It is definitely the job of Matheny and Olsen to make sure the players are OK. But they obviously trusted Lynn when he said he was alright, so they left him in the game. It seems like an odd decision, especially considering the emphasis that MLB has placed on concussion protocols. But you have to imagine that Matheny and Olsen were watching Lynn like hawks, ready to take him out if he started showing distress.
But he never really did. He gave up two runs after the comebacker off his head, both in the fifth. Those runs came from a single, a walk and a triple, but Lynn went back out and pitched a scoreless sixth to wrap up his 24th start of the year, and his seventh straight start of at least six innings.
After the game, Lynn gave an interview with Fox Sports Midwest and revealed just how he managed to convince Matheny and Olsen to go back to the dugout.
Lynn on getting comebacker to the head: "I thought it should've been caught. Where's Kolten at on the ricochet?"
Keep being you, Lance. pic.twitter.com/3ZIjW9X0PN
— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) August 11, 2017
Here are his exact words:
“I stared back in their soul and told them to go the dugout.”
Pitchers on the mound can be very intense, but Lance Lynn has cornered the market on the I-wouldn’t-want-to-meet-him-in-a-dark-alley kind of intensity.
Lynn also gave the quote in the tweet above, saying he thought Kolten Wong should have caught the ball that deflected off his head. So Lynn was obviously in great spirits after the game, which ended up being the Cardinals’ sixth-straight win. Lynn also revealed how he managed to avoid a serious injury from that screaming baseball: his hat. He insisted that his regular old baseball hat absorbed most of the blow.
That explanation seems a little insane (not to mention unlikely), but Lynn stood by it. And in the end, what really matters is that Lynn is OK. Just don’t try that baseball cap/line drive trick at home. Or anywhere.
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