Marlins outfielder Austin Dean had been struggling to latch on in MLB this September. On Friday night, though, he found his role: friend of the common man.
Dean humored a few of the reported 12,775 fans at Marlins Park when they assembled a beer can tower between innings. He threw the baseball at the tower and knocked aside the top container, leaving the rest of the structure intact. He pumped his fist with surprising enthusiasm.
It was enough to secure legend status among drunk fans watching a 53-100 baseball team.
Now for some rudimentary analysis: How difficult was that throw? Are we watching something only a pro could pull off, or a trick the average baseball fan could, with some luck, execute?
According to video approximation and FanGraphs’ outfield wall measurements, the fans probably stacked the cans atop a 7-foot fence. Dean threw from well beyond the warning track, meaning the toss had to have traveled more than 20 feet overall and perhaps much more to get the proper elevation and distance. Still, that’s in range of what most people can reach in terms of raw arm strength.
As a ballplayer, though, Dean has likely slung hundreds, if not thousands, of balls to fans, meaning the upward trajectory is quite familiar. A typical person does not make that throw very often, if at all, even if they’re somewhat athletic. Accuracy, then, is more of a separator here than strength.
The most impressive thing, though, is how casual Dean made it look. A throw that’s at least plausible for a non-player to pull off probably wouldn’t be so doable with the flippant approach of the 25-year-old, so major points for style. And, of course, bonus marks for having fun with the crowd during a lost season. Miami needs more of that.
FINAL VERDICT: 8/10.