You know the old axiom that one of the beauties of baseball is that despite the number of games and lore and well-defined rules, that every year you can see something you never saw before?
Well, I think this year takes the cake for me, for I cannot remember seeing as many strange plays as I have over the past few months while working games.
Mind you, I am not so much talking freak plays, like Buster Posey being taken out by Scott Cousins, or Freddy Sanchez dislocating his shoulder, though I was indeed in attendence for each of those travails.
And, even strange stuff like a pitcher unassisted, where the hurler picks up a ground ball and is able to tag the batter before he can reach first. For, that is unusual, but, not say as strange as last Thursday, when with Hanley Ramirez on second, Logan Morrison crushed a ball off the right field wall in Oakland.
The problem was he hit the ball so hard it bounce right back to right fielder David DeJesus, who has a pretty good arm. So, the Marlins third base coach, Joey Espanda gave a huge stop sign to the speedy shortstop. Undaunted, DeJesus uncorked a massive throw that went wild, so Hanley boogied home for the first run of the game.
Meaning he did score from second on a double. However, the run counted as unearned, with no RBI, because Hanley had stopped, and ultimately he scored on the errrant throw.
Or an inning later, when a double steal was employed by Florida, when Emilio Bonifacio walked, and then rumbled to third on a single by Omar Infante. There were no outs, but, with a 3-2 count on Gaby Sanchez, Bonifacio bolted for the plate while Infante took off for second.
The problem was Sanchez took ball four, while Bonifacio got picked off third base, creating an out that started the ruin of what had been a promising inning, for Ramirez, the next batter, hit into a double play. End of inning. No runs, when the Fish almost had the bases juiced with none out.
Last Sunday, when the Giants and the Indians mixed it up, Bill Hall walked to start the fourth inning, and then stole second on the second pitch. Lou Marson then threw wild into center field, and Hall keeps going arriving safely at third.
Chris Stewart--who is very tall for a catcher in case you had not noticed, at 6'4"--grounded sharply to third. But, Madison Bumgarner missed a squeeze sign, and suddenly Hall was bolting for the plate while Marson had the ball. A quick 2-5 throw later, Hall was toast.
Two pitches later Bumgarner hit a harmless fly to Grady Sizemore that was perfect in all ways, save it popped right out of the center fielder's glove, putting the Giants pitcher on first, but unfortunately without the benefit of the run Hall would have added had he not been thrown out a couple of pitches earlier.
There have been other strange ones this year, but ultimately nothing beats a few years back when late in a Giants game, Bengie Molina belted a ball off the top of the wall at ATT, hitting the ball so hard the slow moving catcher could only make it to first base. It being a close game, Bruce Bochy put Emmanuel Burris in to run for Molina, but in the meantime the ball Bengie hit came into the dugout.
Bochy got it before the next pitch, noticed green on the ball--which meant oxydation from the copper atop the right field wall--and quickly called time, showing the umpires.
The jurists held a quorom, and viewed the replay, and sure enough, it was determined the ball was a homer.
The problem was Bengie left the field, and the rules do not allow for a player to return to the field once they have left and been replaced. So, Bengie got a homer, and he got an RBI, but Burriss got the run scored.
Even stranger, although to be fair, that one was not this year, no that this season has not been a cornucopia of goofy plays, as noted.
That is, to me, one of the beauties of baseball, however. For, on any given day, you truly can see just about anything.