If the Marlins tried to follow the advice, it backfired about as much as possible. Zimmermann threw a no-hitter and missed a perfect game by a matter of inches when he walked Justin Bour on a 3-2 fastball, just low.
But the markings on the dugout raise questions. Who put it there? And why? Did a divisional rival hope the Nationals would lose based on the tip? Was a hitter just trying to be helpful? Was someone bored and making the whole thing up?
There’s no way to know how those words got there, or even how long they’ve been on the bench. The Mets were in town right before the Marlins, but Zimmermann didn’t pitch in the series. Before Zimmermann’s no-hitter, his last home start came Sept. 9 against the Braves, who at that point clung to a remote chance at the National League East and would have had reason to root against the Nationals.
Whoever tried to tell the rest of the league that Zimmermann tips pitches, it sure didn’t work.