It’s one of the most common criticisms for an athlete to levy at a writer the second said writer says something they don’t like: “They never played the game.” Well, as far as we can tell, the Kansas City Royals’ Wilson Betemit didn’t say that about Kansas City Star Royals blogger Lee Judge when Judge suggested earlier this season Betemit should have let himself get hit by an 81-mph slider with the bases loaded to force in a run.
Judge himself, though, was apparently a different story. Did he know what it was like to get hit with an 81-mph slider? That led to this:
Then I started thinking — what if I manned up, put my money (or my elbow) where my mouth was and stepped in front of one?
He started sharing this idea with some of the Royals themselves, who happily – like, really happily – obliged.
I made the mistake of telling Jason Kendall what I was thinking. His response? “You wearing an elbow pad?” as he rummaged through his locker.
“Uh, yeah, I guess so … what are you doing?”
“Getting you an elbow pad — we’re gonna get this done right now.”
And they got it done. And those in attendance sure seemed to enjoy it. Oh, by the way – Judge didn’t get hit by an 81-mph pitch after all. No, the one that hit him went 92. Hey, not only did it have to win Judge some serious respect from the team, it also serves as a pretty good stand-in for the last two decades of Royals fandom. Video below, via Juding the Royals.
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