The pitch was a cutter that didnt cut anything but the air on the way back a plane taking off, or a car taking air off a San Francisco hill in a cop chase movie.
Yoenis Cespedes first exposure to the full American audience resulted in 462 feet of legend, an enormous bomb of a home run that leavened Seattles 7-2 victory over Oakland Friday and established Cespedes as that most feared of cultural phenomena:
The athlete you postpone a trip to the bathroom to see.
There is no higher form of praise, not written nor spoken, than someone who can make you tell your innards theyll just have to wait. But when Cespedes took that 1-0 cutter from Jason Vargas and sent it shrieking off the faade above the luxury suites in left-center field, he became an Internet word-of-mouth sensation.
Comrade Gutierrez will cover this in greater detail from Cespedes view, but the Oakland rookie has produced the one thing the As have been starving for since before Jose Canseco snapped off the rails a bathroom blocker.
There arent many of them in sports, and really, there cant be. Most other sports possess more continuous action and therefore you cant really plan when to postpone a W.C. excursion. That right is reserved for baseball and golf, mostly.
But Cespedes, the Cuban expat who is making more money than any other Athletic not directly involved in ownership, is there now, three games into his major league career. He hit a ball 1 football fields long, it went viral in about the time it took to ricochet off the concrete facing, and a Twitter hero is born.
The benefit for the As is that it happened before a rare sellout crowd, and Cespedes homer was by far the highlight of an otherwise turgid game. That means he will become a word-of-mouth phenomenon as well, and word-of-mouth remains the best marketing tool there is because word-of-mouth is controlled not by the marketer but by the market-ee, and even more by the audience.
The fan base talks about what it wants to talk about, and here, Yoenis Cespedes is suddenly the thing in a way he wasnt before the National Anthem was played.
In that way, the As won Friday night, despite the seven Mariner runs, the balls kicked and thrown about, and the four other hits. They found someone worthy of the title, Ill go to the bathroom in a minute.