My friends, I regret to inform you that I have some scary footage to share with you. This video was obtained Tuesday night from a AAA baseball game between the Gwinnett Stripers and the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. Please do not laugh at these team names. This is serious business.
In this so-called "highlight," taken from the bottom of the eighth inning, Jumbo Shrimp batter JJ Bleday hits a sky-high fly ball deep into the corner of the Jacksonville ballpark, around 300 feet from the plate, if we are to believe the signage. Stripers right fielder Justin Dean hustles across the track to make the inning's first out and then ... oh my. As poor Joe Dunand tries to tag up from second, Dean cocks his right arm and fires an absolute rocket all the way from the deep outfield over to third. Dunand is tagged out trying to advance a mere 90(ish) feet, and onlookers are left in terrified awe of the aerial attack they have just borne witness to.
"Somebody call ... I don't even know!" says the severely distressed announcer.
This throw was a dramatic step into the spotlight for a 25-year-old prospect who's slowly worked his way up from obscurity since starting at Lenoir–Rhyne University in North Carolina and getting drafted by Atlanta with the 502nd overall pick in 2018. The athletic, base-stealing outfielder is now playing his first games in AAA this year, and while he seems like a nice enough guy, the danger of these throws cannot be underestimated. Look again at how it sails through the air with no regard for gravity or air traffic control regulations! Put yourself in Dunand's spikes. Next time, that could be you trying to take an easy base, getting stopped in your tracks by a comet with the Rawlings logo stamped on it. It could be your mother, your neighbor, heck, even your dog. Vigilance will be key moving forward.
With the Stripers in Jacksonville for the rest of the week, I have compiled a map of the Justin Dean Outfield Throw Threat Level for each U.S. county for the remainder of this series. Look carefully for your location.
Here is a guide to each threat level:
GREEN: Be generally cautious. Make sure all radar equipment is functional. Scan the sky every 20 minutes or so for unidentified flying objects. Keep windows closed.
YELLOW: Exercise restraint. Wear protective headgear when venturing outside. Avoid any and all dirt paths. Persons over 6-foot-2 should make an effort to crouch. Do not attempt to run to any point 90 feet away from you, as this will only provoke Justin Dean.
RED: Get out now!!! Run!!! No wait, shit, don't run! Just ... oh god ... it was nice knowing you. I'm sorry! You're out!