Just What the Hell Was Marcell Ozuna Doing?

Look, we all make mistakes. After all, we’re human. Sometimes our judgment of a situation is flawed from the outset, prone to fallacious reasoning. Often we overestimate the probabilities of events, or the limits of our capabilities. Occasionally, we look foolish doing so, but rarely in so grand a fashion as Marcell Ozuna did on Tuesday night.

With the Cardinals hosting the Dodger in St. Louis, Kiké Hernandez launched a fly ball to left field off pitcher Mike Mayers. It left the bat with an exit velocity of 99.3 mph and had a good arc to it. Ozuna … well, he tried to be a hero:

You can’t hear Ozuna’s voice, but if you could, it would probably be some variant of the classic, “I got it! I got it! I got it! I … ain’t got it.” Ozuna scaled the wall, only to realize that the ball would fall about 10 feet short, and his effort to correct course was ungraceful, to say the least. Between his cleats digging into the padded fence, his bellyflop, and the near-miss of a flying projectile in the general vicinity of his noggin, he’s damn lucky he didn’t get injured.

Statcast guru Daren Willman harnessed all of MLB Advanced Media’s computing power to determine Ozuna’s route efficiency…

…wait, no, that’s not it…

…before memorializing the play in an easy-to-find location.

This isn’t even the first time Ozuna has screwed up in such grand fashion. He did something similar last June 21 on a drive by the Brewers’ Jesus Aguilar.

Like Hernandez’s fly ball, that one turned into a double as well. The real issue is that Ozuna has actually scaled the wall to rob a home run before — from Hernandez no less. From July 16, 2017, when Ozuna was still a Marlin:

Given that, it’s easier to understand what happened on Tuesday night, and to be fair, the defensive metrics don’t suggest Ozuna is particularly incompetent afield, at least since leaving center field after the 2016 season, when he was 5.6 runs below average according to UZR, and 12 below according to DRS. For 2017-18, he was 7.1 runs above average in left field per UZR, and 19 above average via DRS. He even brought home a Gold Glove in 2017!

Yet time and entropy remain undefeated, which is why very few of us — besides Mike Trout, at least — are capable of the same feats we made look effortless just a couple of years ago. It’s good to laugh gracefully at such mistakes:

Some of us can’t resist laughing at, instead of with:

Really, though, we’re all just Kenley Jansen for this one:

We can’t help laughing, but we don’t want to make too big a show of it. After all, there’s a chance that we might be next.

We hoped you liked reading Just What the Hell Was Marcell Ozuna Doing? by Jay Jaffe!

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Brooklyn-based Jay Jaffe is a senior writer for FanGraphs, the author of The Cooperstown Casebook (Thomas Dunne Books, 2017) and the creator of the JAWS (Jaffe WAR Score) metric for Hall of Fame analysis. He founded the Futility Infielder website (2001), was a columnist for Baseball Prospectus (2005-2012) and a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated (2012-2018). He has been a recurring guest on MLB Network and a member of the BBWAA since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @jay_jaffe.

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Inspector Brosseau
Member
Inspector Brosseau

He isn’t even tracking the ball as he runs to the fence – his tactic appears to be, having already decided it’s going to be a home run, scaling the fence and then looking for the ball.

Most Honorable Burrow Warden
Member
Most Honorable Burrow Warden

Yeah, it’s perfectly normal to look away for a moment while tracking the ball to be aware of your surroundings. Turn your back on the ball and run for the wall? Not so much.

eastman
Member
eastman

This reminds me of a recent poscast (I think) discussion about how impressive outfielders are who seem to know perfectly where a ball will land, and if they can rob a home run, the instant a ball is hit.

Inspector Brosseau
Member
Inspector Brosseau

I get that they sometimes take their eyes off the ball, but he ran a good six or eight steps without even looking in its direction.

I do have to say though – if I had made that mistake I wouldn’t have come nearly as close to catching the ball as he did. He actually nearly got the dang thing even while plummeting from the wall.

Fatalotti
Member
Fatalotti

I wouldn’t even have made it to the wall before it landed, so he’s got my default kudos.