May it please the court and the Viva El Birdos community as jury: I, bailiff Scooter, present to you docket #6: Manager Oliver Marmol versus Tyler O’Neill and the case of the Lack of Hustle. The plaintiff claims the defendant did not show maximum effort running the bases Tuesday night against the Atlanta Braves and was thereby thrown out due to this Lack of Hustle. The defendant refutes the claim and has a counterclaim alleging Strong Words.
Here is the play in question submitted as exhibit A:
A lot of Twitter chatter about O’Neill being thrown out in the 7th. Here’s the high home view so you can see the entire play.#STLCards pic.twitter.com/IiuMTc2uzP— Matt Pauley (@MattPauleyOnAir) April 5, 2023
Tyler O’Neill starts the play on second base. The ball is hit sharply to right field and he is thrown out at the plate. The video suggest he might not be running as fast as he could have considering he has some of the fastest sprint speed times in baseball. Cardinals manager Oli Marmol took it as a lack of hustle and said this to the media:
Oli Marmol referred to Tyler O’Neill’s lack of hustle on a potential scoring play in the bottom of the seventh as “unacceptable.”— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) April 5, 2023
“That’s not our style of play as far as the effort of rounding the bag there.” #STLCards
There are some other considerations presented by the defendant, however. First of all, it looks like a fine defensive play from Ronald Acuna Jr. who has been known to have a good arm. We should also take into consideration the injury history of the defendant and the win expectancy of the game being just above 10%. Lastly, the weather conditions were not optimal — rain threatened for most of the evening.
Tyler O’Neill: “I think (Oli) was pretty blunt about it. He didn't think I gave the best effort. You know, I'm out here every day grinding my ass off. … Those are pretty strong words from him. So that's good to know.” https://t.co/Dh2W8h0aC8— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) April 5, 2023
O'Neill did not agree with Marmol's assessment. "I'm out here every day grinding my ass off, giving it my all and trying to stay on the field for 160 games."— Jeff Jones (@jmjones) April 5, 2023
O'Neill after being thrown out at home plate in the #STLCards' loss: "Thought I got a good jump off the bat. Tried to make a tight turn. Ronald [Acuna] has got a cannon of an arm. He gunned me down, unfortunately. Got to be better next time. Got to try to get a better jump." pic.twitter.com/ndcLV1DxzX— Bally Sports Midwest (@BallySportsMW) April 5, 2023
I am just the bailiff here, but I have to say I think I am with Tyler O’Neill on this one. I appreciate when players hustle and I think they probably should, particularly on the base paths. I think perhaps O’Neill didn’t expect to be sent home on the play and wasn’t running as hard as he could have. But there also has to be nuance. Considering O’Neill’s injury history, the game conditions, and the win expectancy at the time... I don’t want O’Neill getting hurt on a play like this is all I’m saying. And I especially don’t think it is a good look for a manager to publicly call out their players. I cannot think of a time where that would be a good idea. (Related, there isn’t much that is quite as ominous as someone ending a statement like that with “So that’s good to know.”)
My hope is that Marmol got a good night’s sleep last night and when he woke up this morning refreshed and ready to take on the day, he realized he didn’t handle this like he should have.
Make no mistake, #STLCards manager Oli Marmol expects maximum effort from his players.— John Denton (@JohnDenton555) April 5, 2023
But I think by Wednesday, when cooler heads prevail, Marmol will back off some of his comments when considering Acuna’s arm, the deficit, the rain & O’Neill’s history of hamstring injuries.
So that is my ruling: it is inconclusive to me whether or not the accused Tyler O’Neill is in fact guilty of Lack of Hustle. Marmol is guilty of Strong Words because he said them to the media and not to the just the player in private. His sentence is an apology as public as his initial statement. And to have to run from second to home as fast as he can.
But you all are the jury here: what do you think?