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August 23, 2009 5:06 PM   Subscribe

Today in the bottom of the 9th inning, Phils second baseman Eric Bruntlett scored an unassisted triple play against the Mets. It's only the fifteenth in MLB history.

Runners on first and second were both signaled to steal. The batter hit a line drive right to the second base bag, and Bruntlett speared it. He stepped on the bag (putting the lead runner out) he then tagged the runner coming in from first.

This is even more rare than "perfect games" for pitchers, of which there have been 18.
posted by Chocolate Pickle (137 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
The list of times this has happened, nearly all of them were 2nd base or shortstops, which makes perfect sense. But two of them were first basemen, and I don't understand how a guy at 1st could do it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:11 PM on August 23, 2009


From the first link, "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by MLB Advanced Media." :(

From the second link: freaking AWESOME. Great way to end a game.
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 5:12 PM on August 23, 2009




I had turned the game off to play some PS3 hockey when it was 8-4, assuming it was over, then turned the game back on just AFTER they showed the last replay of the play. Thanks for allowing me to see this, and realize how important it was since the Phillies were only up 2 at the time, with no outs.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 5:15 PM on August 23, 2009


Official video here
posted by saffry at 5:16 PM on August 23, 2009


But two of them were first basemen, and I don't understand how a guy at 1st could do it.

Yeah, I'm puzzling over that one too. Maybe an exaggerated shift somehow? Or perhaps an enterprising 1st baseman who catches the ball, steps on first, and runs across the diamond to nab the dude running back to second?
posted by ORthey at 5:16 PM on August 23, 2009


I saw Randy Velarde's, live. It was one of the few times in my life when, literally, my jaw dropped.
posted by Flunkie at 5:23 PM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mods? Please substitute Saffrey's video for my now-cancelled Youtube?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:24 PM on August 23, 2009


I watched Asdrúbal Cabrera turn the 14th unassisted triple play against my Blue Jays last year. Afterwards he just trotted into the dugout as if it wasn't that big a deal and actually tossed the ball into the stands.
posted by calgary at 5:26 PM on August 23, 2009


nice....
posted by HuronBob at 5:29 PM on August 23, 2009


Fucking Mets.
posted by languagehat at 5:31 PM on August 23, 2009 [14 favorites]


This is actually a nice illustration of why there are so few unassisted triple plays. It's not because the actual physical mechanics on the part of the shortstop or second baseman are all that hard. It's not like making, say, a diving over-the-shoulder catch at a full sprint. It's just that almost no team is stupid enough to have guys on first and second (or the bases loaded) with no outs, down by two runs and call a hit-and-run with their cleanup hitter at the plate.

(Mets fans: I'm just sayin'...)
posted by el_lupino at 5:31 PM on August 23, 2009 [12 favorites]


Wow, almost half the unassisted triple plays have occured in the last 20 years, and there was only one between 1928 and 1991.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:35 PM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fixed.
posted by cortex at 5:36 PM on August 23, 2009


el_lupino: It's just that almost no team is stupid enough to have guys on first and second (or the bases loaded) with no outs, down by two runs and call a hit-and-run with their cleanup hitter at the plate.
To be fair, Lidge was pitching at the time.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 5:37 PM on August 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Tulo!!!!!!
posted by MNDZ at 5:46 PM on August 23, 2009


Well, that ruled.
posted by danb at 6:07 PM on August 23, 2009


From the Deadspin thread:
The funny thing is Bruntlett had already committed an error AND booted another ground ball that went his way in the 9th. It was like God fell asleep and then woke up and went, "wait, the mets are trying to win? No...that's not supposed to happen." Boom. Triple play.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:10 PM on August 23, 2009 [22 favorites]


Amazin
posted by exogenous at 6:12 PM on August 23, 2009


As to the 1B issue, this from Baseball Tonight on ESPN: the last time an unassisted triple play ended a game was in 1927, and it was a first baseman who did it. He caught the liner, tagged the runner at first, and apparently sprinted to second to tag the bag before that runner got there.
posted by sachinag at 6:12 PM on August 23, 2009


This play made my dad's day (life long Phillies fan). Therefore it made mine. Go Phillies!!
posted by contessa at 6:16 PM on August 23, 2009


I would guess first basemen get triple plays when baserunner on second base isn't paying attention.
posted by smackfu at 6:21 PM on August 23, 2009


Cool, but confusing. What if the second baseman runner wasn't stealing, but didn't get back to the bag on time after Bruntlet caught the line drive, would he have been safe?
posted by Skygazer at 6:27 PM on August 23, 2009


Not every tragedy facing mankind needs to be posted on the blue.
posted by caddis at 6:28 PM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


What if the second baseman runner wasn't stealing, but didn't get back to the bag on time after Bruntlet caught the line drive, would he have been safe?

No. After a fly out the runners have to tag up, if a defensive player touches the bag while he has the ball before the runner tags up it's a force out.

A perfect game and an unassisted triple play. Cool month.

Now we just need someone to hit for the cycle.
posted by Bonzai at 6:37 PM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


That is:
Once every 25,947 games or
if you watched every home game it would take on average 320 years to see it happen once
during which you would consume 1621 pounds of Cracker Jacks

The odds of an unassisted triple play occurring in any game is less than half as likely as your lifetime odds of death by legal intervention involving firearm discharge.
posted by vapidave at 6:40 PM on August 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


there was only one between 1928 and 1991

What's up with that that? Maybe a strategy change to maximize double plays or something, that if you're really lucky leads to triple plays...
posted by smackfu at 6:43 PM on August 23, 2009


I'll be damned looks like there was one. Looks like he got an assist from the score keeper though.

DAMN cool month.
posted by Bonzai at 6:44 PM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


> Wow, almost half the unassisted triple plays have occured in the last 20 years, and there was only one between 1928 and 1991.

Since there was a drought between 1927 and 1968, there have been exactly as many unassisted triple plays in my parents' lifetime as in mine.

There were no unassisted triple plays in James Dean's lifetime.

Between the 7th and 8th unassisted triple plays, The Great Depression, World War II, and space race to the moon all occurred. After the 7th, Philo Farnsworth demonstrated the first black and white electronic television, leading eventually to ubiquitous broadcast television and color TV became standardized before the 8th. The golden age of radio began and ended during this time.

The players on the field during the 8th triple play were not born when the 7th occurred.
posted by ardgedee at 6:51 PM on August 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


More a fluke than skill, really. Neat nonetheless.

The first base runner really fucked up, it appears. He seemed confused as to what was going on and instead of even attempting to run back to first he moved toward the outfield.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 6:51 PM on August 23, 2009


Bonzai, there were TWO this month -- Felix Pie (Orioles) also did it, on the 14th. Great month, indeed!
posted by delfuego at 6:51 PM on August 23, 2009


Damn, that's cool. I love baseball.
posted by rtha at 6:51 PM on August 23, 2009


Jesus, and I'm an idiot -- I actually watched Melky Cabrera hit for the cycle on August 2nd, meaning there were three players who hit for the cycle this month. Damn, that's cool.
posted by delfuego at 6:52 PM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Damn, that's cool. I love baseball. (Despite the Giants performance last night and today. Sigh.)
posted by rtha at 6:53 PM on August 23, 2009


Oh, and two years ago, on Metafilter.
posted by rtha at 6:56 PM on August 23, 2009


I think I broke my hand demonstrating Bruntlett's play for my wife in the kitchen. It's deceptive, you really have to be in shape to pretend to play this game.

Beyond how it ended, another couple of cool things about this game's first inning -- Pedro Martinez made his return to Flushing at the plate rather than on the mound, as the Phils sent 9 to bat in a 6-run first inning. Further, Oliver Perez (Mets pitcher) got yanked in the middle of the Pedro AB with the count 3-0, deeply embarrassing to get the hook in the 1st inning in the middle of an AB -- facing the other pitcher. THEN, in the bottom of the inning the Mets leadoff hitter swats the second pitch for an inside the park home run.

Relive the unassisted triple play through the unbelieving eyes of Phillies message board posters.

All around good time.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:00 PM on August 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


lol mets.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:01 PM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


stupidsexyFlanders: what was up with Perez getting pulled in the middle of an at bat? I didn't realize that was even legal (and have been scratching my head over that for the last eight hours, so I asked about it over at AskMe).
posted by madcaptenor at 7:05 PM on August 23, 2009


You know, the fact that this was against the inept 2009 Mets doesn't diminish the coolness of this at all.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:12 PM on August 23, 2009


The first base runner really fucked up, it appears. He seemed confused as to what was going on and instead of even attempting to run back to first he moved toward the outfield.

Nah, with the second baseman standing in front of him holding the ball, he was dead meat. If he'd retreated towards 1st, there would have been a run-down, and the chance of the runner not being put out in a rundown in MLB is real low. Less than 1 in 100.

Instead, he accepted the inevitable. As soon as he left the baseline, he was out even without being tagged, but he wasn't really trying very hard to evade.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:14 PM on August 23, 2009


Fixed.

Say it ain't so, cortex, say it ain't so.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:50 PM on August 23, 2009 [12 favorites]


If he'd retreated towards 1st, there would have been a run-down

No run-down. Just toss to first and have him tag the bag for the final out. Dude should have done that anyway just to screw with people.
posted by @troy at 7:56 PM on August 23, 2009


Ah, but then it is no longer "unassisted".
posted by hippybear at 8:02 PM on August 23, 2009


You don't see that everyday!
posted by mazola at 8:03 PM on August 23, 2009


So, um... For the half of the world that doesn't play baseball - what actually happened? One guy got three people out, right? Catch, standing on the second base (I assume stopping the guy who'd run on towards third from coming back - why couldn't he just go on to home?) and the "chase me, chase me!" tag? Is that right?

Man, this FPP could have done with some actual background... If this were an obit post, it'd be superseded by someone who actually gave a damn in about thirty minutes time.
posted by benzo8 at 8:07 PM on August 23, 2009


benzo8: The runner who hit the ball was out when the second baseman caught the ball. The runner who left second had to return to second in order to be safe, because once the ball was caught, the play officially ended. The baseman touched the base with the ball in his possession without the runner being there, which meant he was out. The runner who left first base had to return there in order to be safe, and could have been gotten out in two ways -- either by being tagged with the ball or by having the base tagged by a someone in possession of the ball.

Runners can not proceed toward home when a ball is caught, except in the case of the ever-confusing infield-fly rule, which states that if you are safe on base when a ball is caught, you can try to get to another base and outrun the throw from the outfield. Since none of the runners were on base when the ball was caught, this rule never came into play.
posted by hippybear at 8:14 PM on August 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


hippybear: "benzo8: The runner who hit the ball was out when the second baseman caught the ball. The runner who left second had to return to second in order to be safe, because once the ball was caught, the play officially ended."

Great - thanks! It's was the fact that the play had ended when the ball was caught which escaped me...
posted by benzo8 at 8:16 PM on August 23, 2009


One guy got three people out, right? Catch, standing on the second base (I assume stopping the guy who'd run on towards third from coming back - why couldn't he just go on to home?) and the "chase me, chase me!" tag? Is that right?

Yep, correct.

why couldn't he just go on to home?

I was also asking myself that. You can't steal on an out? That can be the only answer, surely?

/Australian
//Australia has recently had 10 or so new digital free-to-air TV stations foisted upon us. A 24 hour sport station has started broadcasting MBL and has run a "pick which team you are going to root for" type advertising campaign. Any ideas, people? I want a team of knockabout renegades, journeymen, and rejects... but still with a good chance of winning.

posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:18 PM on August 23, 2009


No run-down. Just toss to first and have him tag the bag for the final out.

You're quite right. I wasn't thinking.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:24 PM on August 23, 2009


uncanny hengeman: I'm an underdog rooter, so I usually find I watch the Boston Red Sox or the Chicago Cubs toward the end of the season. Add in the New York Mets, and you're pretty much guaranteed heartbreak. I also tend to look at the more rough-n-tumble teams by appearance, but that's more of a prurient thing than rooting for a sports team.

Our playoff system has guaranteed slots and "wild card" slots, and looking at the wildcard standings is a good way to perhaps choose a team which is "on the cusp".

To help you read that chart (which is confusing even to me), the first two colums are Wins and Losses. The PCT column is the ratio of wins to losses, anything over .500 (50%) is considered quite good in baseball. The GB column means "Games Back" or "Games Behind", which is a measure of how many wins by that team and/or losses by the leading team have to happen for that team to catch up. The rest of the columns pretty much you can ignore unless you're a real stats freak.
posted by hippybear at 8:28 PM on August 23, 2009


Wow. I cannot believe I know the answer to a baseball question. (Or that I'm reading this thread, really!)

If the ball is caught in the air, the runner has to go back to the base they just came from and tag up before they can move on. I believe that means that it the dude on the base they just came from tags the base first, they're out(ta there).
posted by nosila at 8:30 PM on August 23, 2009


Grrr. I screwed up the standings links. Season standings here, wildcard standings here.
posted by hippybear at 8:36 PM on August 23, 2009


For the record (rimshot) here are the relevant Wikipedia articles, with all the usual data on who did what when:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unassisted_triple_play

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_game

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitting_for_the_cycle

Making August awesome indeed, but I already knew that. (HBTM!)
posted by intermod at 8:36 PM on August 23, 2009


except in the case of the ever-confusing infield-fly rule

That's not the infield fly rule :)
posted by @troy at 8:40 PM on August 23, 2009


Jaw-droppingly incredible play. I particularly liked the few seconds it took for the second baseman to *actually* grasp what he had just done. Shit, I'd still be wondering if I actually did it, were that person me.
posted by CountSpatula at 8:41 PM on August 23, 2009


You can't steal on an out?

I believe it's cool if you're stealing a base and strike three is swung (or looked at) at the plate. Also, when there's a catch, say, in the far outfield, and you tag than dash for the next base.
posted by CountSpatula at 8:44 PM on August 23, 2009


And I stand corrected. Thanks.
posted by hippybear at 8:44 PM on August 23, 2009


As to the 1B issue, this from Baseball Tonight on ESPN: the last time an unassisted triple play ended a game was in 1927, and it was a first baseman who did it. He caught the liner, tagged the runner at first, and apparently sprinted to second to tag the bag before that runner got there.
posted by sachinag at 6:12 PM on August 23


And apparently, there had been another unassisted triple play the DAY BEFORE, and the first baseman had been thinking about how a guy playing his position could make one happen. According to a commenter on Baseball Think Factory:
There were extenuating circumstances in first baseman Johnny Neun's triple play on May 31, 1927 - shortstop Jimmy Cooney had pulled one off the day before, and Neun read about it in the newspaper. He reportedly had a long discussion about the chances of pulling off such a play at breakfast before the game. When he caught a line drive with the runners on first and second going, he tagged the runner from first, and waved off the second baseman, running to second for the putout instead of throwing the ball, which would have been far easier. He had the unnassisted triple play in mind from the get-go, prompted by Cooney doing it the day before.
There's also discussion in that thread of reasons for the jump in unassisted triple plays in the last 20 years.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:00 PM on August 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Relive the unassisted triple play through the unbelieving eyes of Phillies message board posters.

The Phillies phans have no right to be making the negative comments about their team that they were making up until the triple play. The Phillies always do everything right and never mess up especially when playing the Mets.

Damn Phillies.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 9:00 PM on August 23, 2009


My sister was at the game when Rafael Furcal made the 12th unassisted triple play in MLB history. I was watching the game on TV, saw it, and decided to call her to make sure she understood the significance of what she just saw.

"Did you see that? That's only the twelfth time that's happened in Major League history!"
"What?"
"The unassisted triple play."
"Oh that, I was in the bathroom."
posted by mathlete at 9:05 PM on August 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


True story: A Braves fan friend of mine and I were working on a school project together in ninth grade (for context: April 29, 2007). I screamed "Triple play!" to be antagonistic at the Braves TBS broadcast, and if by some sort of fate, the Braves grounded into a triple play. Unassisted, as well, by Tulowitzski of the Rockies.

Two unassisted triple plays and two years later, I get a text from the same friend:

"Karma is a bitch."

As a Mets fan, I wish it ended the season of suffering and not just the game, though.
posted by seandq at 9:06 PM on August 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sports Illustrated article about the back to back unassisted triple plays, interviewing the players sixty years later.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:07 PM on August 23, 2009


Wow, that was way less eventful than you would think for something that happens so rarely. Still cool, just over way too soon.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:11 PM on August 23, 2009


Also linked from that BBTF thread:

Baseball’s Sad Losing Team: A Poem

(with apologies to Franklin P. Adams)

This is the saddest of possible word
Bruntlett to Bruntlett to Bruntlett
Killer of rally in season absurd
Bruntlett to Bruntlett to Bruntlett
Vicious line drive that seemed destined to drop
Giving the Mets chance to come out on top
This year’s indignities simply won’t stop
Bruntlett to Bruntlett to Bruntlett
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:16 PM on August 23, 2009 [9 favorites]


Reference, of course, to Baseball's Sad Lexicon
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:17 PM on August 23, 2009


Yes, yes, yes, but *we* just won the ashes.
posted by Artw at 9:20 PM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's also discussion in that thread of reasons for the jump in unassisted triple plays in the last 20 years.

The equivalent in baseball's sporting cousin would be the hat-trick - three batsmen out in three consecutive balls by the same bowler.

Interestingly:

1877 - 1988 [~111 years] 17 hat-tricks
1988 - present [~21 years] 20 hat-tricks

Australia's Merv Hughes is the only person to do this in three different overs. It also spanned two days and two innings! IIRC he didn't even REALISE he got a hat-trick. It was a few minutes later and someone flashed a message on the sight screen:

Erm. Merv. You just got a hat-trick back then.

*not the actual message

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Test_cricket_hat-tricks

posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:25 PM on August 23, 2009


The runner who hit the ball was out when the second baseman caught the ball. The runner who left second had to return to second in order to be safe, because once the ball was caught, the play officially ended.

Err, not even wrong.

Batters may advance on a dead ball under certain circumstances (see rule 5.09 for a list), but a caught ball is *never* a dead ball unless it's the third out. The runners may advance at their peril, however, they are required to retouch their base after the catch is made *7.08d). This is true even of a caught foul ball -- indeed, if a foul ball is caught and the fielder then falls out of play, the runner advance one base (7.04c, and the ball is dead.) A foul ball that touches the ground or leaves the field of play is a dead ball, runners are required to return to their bases and cannot be put out (5.09c)

So. The batter hits a liner to the SS or 2B, which is caught, this retires the batter (6.05a). The runners, having taken a lead, or actually taken off on a hit-and-run, are required to re-tag their base before advancing. The SS or 2B tags second base, which retires the runner who was on 2nd (7.08d) and then tags the runner coming from 1st (technically, this is *also* 7.08d, but since the ball is alive, 7.08c also applies. In either case, out). This, being the third out, ends the inning, the ball is now dead. And, of course, the ball is now a serious keepsake for some fielder. The ball becomes alive again when the batting team takes the field and the pitcher is ready to pitch, the Umpire at home base calls 'Play!' and the ball is live. (5.11)

The Infield Fly rule fixes a problem. If an high fly that doesn't leave the infield is hit, the runners are screwed without the rule. If they try to advance, the fielder makes the catch and throws the ball to the base to get then runner for failure to tag. If the runners do not try to advance, the fielder intentionally misses the catch, fields the ball off the ground, and gets the force out.

So, the Infield Fly (defined in Rule 2.00) Rules: Must be a fair fly ball, catchable by an infielder with ordinary effort, with 1st and 2nd, or bases loaded, and less than two outs. Should that be the case, the Umpire calls "Infield fly!" (or if close to the baseline, the great baseball tongue twister "Infield Fly If Fair!") and the batter is out. The runners may advance at their peril, however, the ball is treated as a fly ball if caught (they need to retouch.) If the ball is not caught and bounces foul, the batter has hit a foul ball, and returns to the box. If the ball is caught in foul territory, the ball is a foul ball, the batter is out, the ball is dead and runners return to their bases. Oddly enough, if the ball is not caught, lands foul and then rolls into fair territory between home and first or home or third, it *is* an infield fly and the batter is out, the runners may advance at their peril, and since the ball was not caught, they are not required to retouch.

Basically, what the Infield Fly rules states is that if there's an infield fly, everyone treats the ball as if the fielder has caught it.
posted by eriko at 9:31 PM on August 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


Phils second baseman Eric Bruntlett scored an unassisted triple play against the Mets.

One cannot "score" a "play." One scores when on offense.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:33 PM on August 23, 2009


I don't think the hat-trick is the equivalent really - it could be if the bowler was responsible for all three of the wickets with no help from his teammates i.e. bowled, lbw and caught & bowled. Out of 37 hat-tricks in Tests only 5 have been unassisted:

Matthews vs South Africa (b, lbw, lbw), 1912
Matthews vs South Africa (b, c&b, c&b), 1912
Dominic Cork vs West INdies (b, lbw, lbw), 1995
Mohammad Sami vs Sri Lanka (lbw, lbw, b) 2002
Jermain Lawson vs Australia (b, b, lbw) 2003
posted by awfurby at 9:37 PM on August 23, 2009


" Any ideas, people? I want a team of knockabout renegades, journeymen, and rejects... but still with a good chance of winning."

Let me recommend my team to you, the Detroit Tigers. They've got a mix of young farm talent, aging stars, quiet position players and can just barely score a run. A lot of people had them counted out for this season after an absolute bomb last year, but (mostly through great pitching), they've managed to hold on to the top spot in an admittedly weak division (this year). Their manager is a colorful old salt of the best baseball tradition, prone to putting on a lot of crazy plays (like double steals) which are frustrating if you actually think about the odds. But he's a taciturn mustached chain-smoker and we love him.

Bless You Boys is a pretty fun blog devoted to the Tigers, their triumphs and travails. I'd add the caveat that it used to be run by a couple of my friends, but they moved on years ago, so it's out of genuine affection for Ian Casselbury's writing, which is goofy in the way a fan's should be.

You can add in the fact that the Tigers' Old English D is the best logo in baseball, maybe in all of sports, and that nothing says fun like supporting the team from a decaying rust-belt city (no one will accuse you of liking them because it's fashionable).
posted by klangklangston at 9:50 PM on August 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


To back up eriko, the infield fly rule is actually fairly simple if you keep in mind its purpose, to prevent a situation where someone might benefit by deliberately dropping an easy infield pop-up.
posted by Justinian at 9:58 PM on August 23, 2009


Any ideas, people? I want a team of knockabout renegades, journeymen, and rejects...

Pittsburgh Pirates!

but still with a good chance of winning.

Oh*. In that case, I recommend the Tampa Bay Rays. They've recently completed a rebuilding (well, building) which saw them reach the World Series last year. Since they're in the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox, they're perennial underdogs. OTOH, they have boring uniforms and a crappy stadium. If you wore a (modern day) Rays hat around, people would think you have tuberculosis.

But he's a taciturn mustached chain-smoker and we love him.

Ah, Jim Leyland. The last manager the Pirates had when they were good.

*I do think they have a chance to start winning in a few years, though. And they have the best stadium in the league by most accounts. Also, Arrr!
posted by dirigibleman at 10:03 PM on August 23, 2009


Leyland can sing, too.
posted by mathlete at 10:15 PM on August 23, 2009


the chance of the runner not being put out in a rundown in MLB is real low. Less than 1 in 100
I saw one. Last month the A's had an Angels baserunner in a rundown between first and second and the first baseman hit him with the ball. It was part of a disastrous 6-run third inning. The A's committed two errors in the inning. They threw the ball into the bullpen trying to throw out a runner at first. Later the Angels had a guy on third and sent him home despite the batter flying out to shallow left field. The left fielder made a beautiful throw home, which beat the runner by 10 feet and went straight into the catcher's glove. He dropped it.

posted by kirkaracha at 10:39 PM on August 23, 2009


Bah, infielders. It's so easy for them.

In all this hubbub, though, how many people noticed that Padres catcher Nick Hundley completed a double play yesterday at second base?

Think about it, followed by a link.
posted by rokusan at 10:49 PM on August 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why does the MLB's flash thingie not work in Linux? It's Flash!
posted by dirigibleman at 11:03 PM on August 23, 2009


In all this hubbub, though, how many people noticed that Padres catcher Nick Hundley completed a double play yesterday at second base?

Oh, and did you see the look Pujols gave Ryan? Someone's not getting a secret Santa gift this year!

(and seriously, why does this Flash stuff not work in Firefox???)
posted by dirigibleman at 11:10 PM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait, so can one of you cricket understanders walk me through how you'd get an unassisted hat trick? (Also, do the bails go back up for each new batter after the previous one was dismissed?)
posted by klangklangston at 11:11 PM on August 23, 2009


Runners on first and second.

Second baseman caught a line drive, stepped on 2nd base & then tagged out the first base runner trying to steal.

This is the part of the year when baseball gets really good, aspecially if you betsa lotta money on it.
posted by at the crossroads at 11:28 PM on August 23, 2009


Wait, so can one of you cricket understanders walk me through how you'd get an unassisted hat trick? (Also, do the bails go back up for each new batter after the previous one was dismissed?)
Sure:
Bowled - bowler hits the stumps with the ball. Out. Unassisted.
Caught and Bowled - batter hits the ball and the bowler catches it. Unassisted.
Leg Before Wicket - here we go. The bowler bowls the ball at the stumps - the batter does not play a shot at the ball and it hits him on the legs. If the line of the ball is adjudged that it would have carried through to hit the stumps had the batter not put his legs in the way, the batter is out Leg Before Wicket (in this case the wicket = stumps). Unassisted.
In all three cases the batter is out only through the actions of the bowler.

To answer the question about bails - yes - when the stumps are hit and the batter is out the bails are placed back on the stumps and the new batter takes his place.
posted by awfurby at 11:34 PM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is a good example of Leg Before Wicket (YouTube).
posted by awfurby at 11:40 PM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and did you see the look Pujols gave Ryan? Someone's not getting a secret Santa gift this year!

His post game comments said as much.
posted by mathlete at 11:40 PM on August 23, 2009


But there's no way to turn a double play, is there? I mean, if I recall correctly, play stops once one of the batters is out (striker or non-striker), but you can't have a play that simultaneously gets them both out, right? Like, if the ball was fielded while they're running (perhaps in late innings where a team needs to score runs and is on a hope and pray strategy), if the fielder can tag one the non-striker, he can't then throw the ball back to knock down the striker's bail while the striker's out of his pocket (I forget what that thing's called, the line they're safe behind), thus putting two out on the same play, right? Play stops once one is dismissed?
posted by klangklangston at 11:42 PM on August 23, 2009


(The only cricket I ever played was with a bunch of Indian students in the parking lot behind the campus newspaper, which only required a bat, tennis ball and a dorm chair for the "wicket." Since you just got an over and the goal was to see how many runs you could score, no non-striker, I don't have a particularly firm foundation for the actual rules.)
posted by klangklangston at 11:45 PM on August 23, 2009


uncanny hengeman - I concur with klangklangston. There's not a lot of flash or big names on the Tigers roster, and they've gone from a truly horrible season last year to being in serious contention for the division championship this year (and in 2006 they actually made it to the World Series, where they lost in heart-breaking fashion), so that should fulfill your scrappiness requirement. Besides, they also have some of the best pitching in baseball (Justin Verlander is just outstanding, and we've seen some good stuff from Rick Porcello too).

Besides, given the city of Detroit's situation these days, any goodwill, even by proxy, couldn't hurt.
posted by HostBryan at 11:46 PM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yep, the Tigers are an average team, talent-wise, but they get at least a +10 bonus by having freakin' Coach Yoda running the team.
posted by rokusan at 12:12 AM on August 24, 2009


In 2006, the Tigers story was that in 2003, they'd lost the most games of any team in a season (and avoided being the worst team ever in history by the existence of some 1880s Cleveland team that was intentionally gutted) and were a mere 47 games back from first place, a new record. So, they got a little better in '04 and '05, finishing in the middle of the pack but nothing contender like, and then they just exploded in '06 with amazing pitching from young guys Justin Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman. Bonderman's been laid up with blood clots pretty much ever since, and Verlander had a shaky year last year, but they were lights out in '06. Verlander, especially, is a great pitcher to watch—routinely in the top 90s, occasionally over 100, with a with a wicked curve. They can't really hit for shit, but they do have Miguel Cabrera, who's an absolute monster at the plate, and then a handful of guys who are generally inconsistent, either journeymen (Adam Everett), youngsters (Clete Thomas) or aging former stars (Magglio Ordoñez, who used to have the best hair in baseball).

If we can keep ahead of the White Sox (another team that was supposed to suck this year, but doesn't compared to the rest of its division), they'll go to the playoffs and probably lose in the first round.
posted by klangklangston at 12:20 AM on August 24, 2009


But there's no way to turn a double play, is there? I mean, if I recall correctly, play stops once one of the batters is out (striker or non-striker), but you can't have a play that simultaneously gets them both out, right? Like, if the ball was fielded while they're running (perhaps in late innings where a team needs to score runs and is on a hope and pray strategy), if the fielder can tag one the non-striker, he can't then throw the ball back to knock down the striker's bail while the striker's out of his pocket (I forget what that thing's called, the line they're safe behind), thus putting two out on the same play, right? Play stops once one is dismissed?

I am on shaky ground here, but I think you are right. Once a batter is out the ball is dead until the new batsman takes his crease (that word you were looking for) and the bowler begins his runup. While the ball is dead you cannot be given out.
posted by awfurby at 12:42 AM on August 24, 2009


Mehts.

Any non-usians looking for a baseball team should pledge fidelity to the Yankees. The parademons will be merciful to all who pledge.
posted by vrakatar at 1:06 AM on August 24, 2009


I want a team of knockabout renegades, journeymen, and rejects... but still with a good chance of winning.

uncanny hengeman, I have never heard a better description of the Texas Rangers. The "team that can't" this year has turned into the "team that just might." Somebody in the Rangers front office (bolstered greatly by Nolan Ryan) has been doing something right this year, and this team actually has a mix of players that, while they screw up by the numbers on occasion, are actually winning most of the games the should win, and even several no one expected them to win.

1 game back in the wild card heading into Yankee Stadium is going to be...interesting.

Oh, and Pudge is back. Yay!
posted by fireoyster at 1:08 AM on August 24, 2009


The only thing that could have made this better would be hearing Harry Kalas call it.
posted by dseaton at 1:14 AM on August 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Yankees will exterminate the Rangers. The Yankees will Exterminate the Redsux. The Yankees will EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE
posted by vrakatar at 1:15 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for all your suggestions, v.much appreciated.

Wait, so can one of you cricket understanders walk me through how you'd get an unassisted hat trick?

Can I correct awfurby's otherwise spot-on explanation: You can be out LBW if you play a shot, but a different sub-law applies and it's much more forgiving towards the batsman.

Also, you can be out LBW no matter what part of the body the ball hits. You can be out LBW if it hits you on the head, should the situation somehow arise.

But there's no way to turn a double play, is there?

Unfortunately, no. I've seen a few, but once the first batsmen is out then the ball is dead and it's a case of the fieldsman going thru the motions. Or just making sure, lest the first batsman be given not out.

I've also seen a few double plays on the same batsman, caught / stumped being one of the most common. Here's an example I linked from the recent sex scandal thread. The fella she got out was one of the greatest players of the modern era, BTW. This was in a charity match:

Double play on the same batsman.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 2:03 AM on August 24, 2009


Can someone more versed in the lore of records confirm my suspicion that in in this 2009 season, the New York Mets have broken the all-time record for "Most Different Ways To Lose at Baseball?"
posted by rokusan at 2:59 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Uncanny Hengeman: while they're certainly having some good years lately, for nearly a hundred years the Boston Red Sox have been messing with their fans by snatching defeat from the mouth of victory.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:27 AM on August 24, 2009


rmd1023 - that anything to do with the fan who tried to catch a foul ball in an important playoff game and ended up spoiling a legitimate catch? Something to do with a "curse"? Only a few years ago. Poor bugger had to be escorted from the ground and has received death threats since.

[if I recall correctly... I don't know the first thing about baseball, but even that made the sports news in Oz]
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:08 AM on August 24, 2009


> Sports Illustrated article about the back to back unassisted triple plays, interviewing the players sixty years later.

Thanks for that (and for "Bruntlett to Bruntlett to Bruntlett").

> Basically, what the Infield Fly rules states is that if there's an infield fly, everyone treats the ball as if the fielder has caught it.

eriko: That's the best explanation of the infield fly rule I think I've seen; I was recently trying to explain it to someone and didn't do as good a job. Great rules citation for the triple play, too!

> Any non-usians looking for a baseball team should pledge fidelity to the Yankees.

You mean:
Any non-usians looking for eternal damnation should pledge fidelity to the Yankees.
posted by languagehat at 5:10 AM on August 24, 2009 [8 favorites]


rmd1023 - that anything to do with the fan who tried to catch a foul ball in an important playoff game and ended up spoiling a legitimate catch? Something to do with a "curse"? Only a few years ago. Poor bugger had to be escorted from the ground and has received death threats since.

That fan was Steve Bartman and the team was the Chicago Cubs. This happened is 2003. Video. On the next play, the shortstop booted a double play ball. The next day, they lost Game 7 to lose the series after being up 3 games to 1 in a best of 7 series. The Boston Red Sox, however, have won two World Series in recent years, while the Cubs last World Series win is still 1908.
posted by mathlete at 5:26 AM on August 24, 2009


vrakatar: Any non-usians looking for a baseball team should pledge fidelity to the Yankees. The parademons will be merciful to all who pledge.

... and non-UKians looking for a football team should pledge fidelity to Manchester United, and non-Italians looking for a football team should pledge fidelity to FC Milan, and non-Spaniards looking for a football team should pledge fidelity to Real Madrid, &c.
posted by koeselitz at 6:01 AM on August 24, 2009


Uncanny Hengeman: nope. the "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" refers to the (former?) habit the red sox had of making it to the last game of a series (league pennant or world series) and then losing.

mathlete: GO CUBS! 2010 will be THE YEAR OF THE CUBS. i really wanted to see a red sox/cubs series a few years back. i figured the intersecting "this team cannot win" fields would've created a black hole that sucked up both stadia.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:19 AM on August 24, 2009


I'm sure this has absolutely nothing to do with hometown loyalty, but I have to say that, while I admire Brunlett's feat, it was a hell of a lot snappier the last time there was an unassisted triple play - when it was done by our man Troy Tulowitzki, then still just a rookie. Take a gander, and don't forget to watch the video. With Brunlett, there's this 'oh-wait-will-you-catch-me?' moment with the runner where he thinks for a moment he might get off with dodging; but the runner in Troy's triple play takes one look at the feckless kid running him down and just throws his hands up in defeat. And then Troy hops back on the base and throws the out at first - apparently just in case three outs aren't enough to retire the side. Not to mention that this unassisted triple play has a little more innate dignity given that it was against the Braves and not the Mets.

I tell ya, that kid has had his ups and downs, but he's got real heart. He hit for the cycle just the other week. Just as long as he keeps shaving off that weird phantom chin-beard thing... what the hell is with that thing?
posted by koeselitz at 6:22 AM on August 24, 2009


So, the Infield Fly (defined in Rule 2.00) Rules

I love reading baseball rules. They're so...dry. Last night I was watching the Yankees/Red Sox game, and CC Sabathia caught a runner off 1st base, and threw him out in a motion that, to me, seemed like a balk mainly because of my very very fuzzy understanding of the rule. So I checked the rules for a balk at Wikipedia. Seriously, check those out, and see how you can parse them. There are 16(!) balkable actions. This is why I could never be an ump. Or a pitcher, but I think there are some other, more important reasons than "not understanding the balk."
posted by This Guy at 6:26 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


mathlete: GO CUBS! 2010 will be THE YEAR OF THE CUBS. i really wanted to see a red sox/cubs series a few years back. i figured the intersecting "this team cannot win" fields would've created a black hole that sucked up both stadia.

I am a Cubs fan. I think 2008 was their best chance since 2003. Hopefully, with the new owner situation sorted out, things will start to look better.

it was a hell of a lot snappier the last time there was an unassisted triple play - when it was done by our man Troy Tulowitzki

The last time was by Asdrubal Cabrera in 2008. Diving stop, plus he threw the ball to a fan as he was coming in the dugout.

This is why I could never be an ump. Or a pitcher, but I think there are some other, more important reasons than "not understanding the balk."

It's almost easier to say what you can do, rather than what you can't. Umpires still get it wrong all the time, though, at least at the lower levels. When I played in high school, I got called for two balks that absolutely were not balks. My coach was thrown out of the game for arguing one of them.
posted by mathlete at 6:45 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


vrakatar: The Yankees will exterminate the Rangers. The Yankees will Exterminate the Redsux. The Yankees will EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE

Heh.

Anyway, if you're a Yankee fan, you may find these interesting:

  • Some great action footage of famous New York Yankees.

  • This very revealing interview with George Steinbrenner regarding his outlook on the '09 postseason.

  • A good rundown of the Yankees' recent series against the Boston Red Sox.

  • posted by koeselitz at 6:48 AM on August 24, 2009


    Bruntlett is on steroids

    Murphy and Castillo had money on the Phils

    Selig needed something to distract from the 20th anniversary of the Pete Rose ban

    #conspiracy ;)
    posted by offtheroad at 6:54 AM on August 24, 2009


    This Guy: I love reading baseball rules. They're so...dry. Last night I was watching the Yankees/Red Sox game, and CC Sabathia caught a runner off 1st base, and threw him out in a motion that, to me, seemed like a balk mainly because of my very very fuzzy understanding of the rule. So I checked the rules for a balk at Wikipedia. Seriously, check those out, and see how you can parse them. There are 16(!) balkable actions. This is why I could never be an ump. Or a pitcher, but I think there are some other, more important reasons than "not understanding the balk."

    I've always found that interesting, too - and all the more so in the contrast between the complex and careful system of rules developed in baseball and the completely different system in another very interesting and popular sport: soccer. See, in soccer, it's almost the opposite. For one thing: did you know that the rules of soccer specify no positions whatsoever? They're mostly just tradition and conventions that seem to work well; there are a few rules about positioning (mostly the offsides rule) but other than that you could have your players line up in a long row and call every position "the peanut handler" for all the rules care.

    The other big difference: the rules in soccer reside in the referee, who is essentially the supreme ruler of the game. This is why when people fall down in soccer they try very hard to look ridiculously pathetic - and they're always looking at the referee when they're doing it - so that he'll call the play in their favor; there's no review, no input from other referees, no consultation and consideration, no 'option to dispute the call' - if a referee gives you a red card and ejects you because he doesn't like your haircut, he's well entitled, and there's really nothing you can do about it beyond venting endlessly afterwards. Of course, people do tend to get somewhat passionate about crappy refs, so FIFA knows it's pretty crucial to keep their referees on point, but on the field? They're god, and their word is the law.
    posted by koeselitz at 6:58 AM on August 24, 2009


    There's no review, no input from other referees, no consultation and consideration, no 'option to dispute the call'

    Yeah, well, koeslitz, in America, we believe in a little something called democracy.
    posted by grubi at 7:09 AM on August 24, 2009


    I did one of those once in high school, largely by accident.

    It was quite easy, and yet a lot of people got excited about it for no particularly good reason.
    posted by markkraft at 7:10 AM on August 24, 2009


    ... oh, and I wasn't particularly good at baseball.

    I could, however, catch a ball most of the time when hit right to me.
    posted by markkraft at 7:12 AM on August 24, 2009


    His post game comments said as much.

    Really? Because if he's so slow/stupid that a catcher runs him down at second base, it's pretty much all Pujols' fault. The catcher had to run twice as far--in catcher's gear--as Pujols would have had to to return to first.
    posted by kirkaracha at 7:30 AM on August 24, 2009


    All you need to know about the 2009 Mets.
    posted by Mister_A at 7:54 AM on August 24, 2009


    Oh, and I think the Phillies are the best offense in baseball, though statistically they rank 4th in runs scored. It's the timeliness of their scoring that amazes me.
    posted by Mister_A at 7:57 AM on August 24, 2009


    "Any non-usians looking for a baseball team should pledge fidelity to the Yankees. The parademons will be merciful to all who pledge."

    "I dunno, I'm thinking about rooting for the Empire."
    "The Empire?"
    "Yeah, I mean, look at the line-up they've got. Taggi and Motti, Moff Tarkin…"
    "They're the Empire!"
    "…Darth Vader. I think Vader's really gonna do great stuff this year. Have you seen his force choke?"
    "I've seen the force choke. It's evil."
    "I know! Totally sweet. And they're building this new Death Star. It's the most expensive Death Star ever constructed, but they're sure to win the playoffs with it."
    "Death Stars always choke in the playoffs."
    "They destroyed Alderaan."
    "The Alderaan Nationals. C'mon, you don't even live in the Empire!"
    "I know some people who do."
    "Yeah, but they root for the Rebels."
    "The Rebels will never win. Not with Akbar in the dugout. The Empire even got Boba Fett as a free agent!"
    posted by klangklangston at 8:26 AM on August 24, 2009 [15 favorites]


    "Unfortunately, no. I've seen a few, but once the first batsmen is out then the ball is dead and it's a case of the fieldsman going thru the motions. Or just making sure, lest the first batsman be given not out."

    Only the bowler can get hat tricks, right? So, like, if it was the keeper who got the batters out on three successive balls, that'd still count as a hat trick for the bowler, and he'd just buy the keeper drinks?
    posted by klangklangston at 8:30 AM on August 24, 2009


    "They destroyed Alderaan."
    "The Alderaan Nationals."


    Washingtonist
    posted by exogenous at 8:38 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I should point out, Klang, that the Empire actually allowed the Emperor to walk and he's now managing the Dantooine Dodgers!
    posted by Mister_A at 8:45 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


    "The Alderaan Nationals."

    The 2003 Detroit Tigers give me hope that within a few years, the Nats could be a contender.

    Not much hope, though.
    posted by Navelgazer at 9:10 AM on August 24, 2009


    "I should point out, Klang, that the Empire actually allowed the Emperor to walk and he's now managing the Dantooine Dodgers!"

    Gary Sheffield used the same negotiating tactic. "Strike me down and I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."
    posted by klangklangston at 9:22 AM on August 24, 2009


    Balk actions

    Most basically, a pitcher is restricted to a certain set of motions and one of two basic pitching positions before and during a pitch; if these are violated, a balk is called.

    With a runner on base and the pitcher on or astride (with one leg on each side of) the rubber, it is a balk[2] when the pitcher:

    • while intentionally walking a batter, or at any other time, releases a pitch while the catcher is out of his box with one or both feet; this is rarely called, though, especially on an intentional walk;
    • unnecessarily delays the game;


    Seems like it would effect the second bulleted item if the umps would call the first bulleted item, no?
    posted by Mental Wimp at 10:12 AM on August 24, 2009


    The list of times this has happened, nearly all of them were 2nd base or shortstops, which makes perfect sense. But two of them were first basemen, and I don't understand how a guy at 1st could do it.

    I can only imagine that the 1st baseman, for whatever reason, was not holding the runner on 1st and was close enough to 2nd base to be able to get there before the 2nd base runner returned: Catch the ball, tag the 1st base runner with the same motion and run to 2nd. But maybe there are other explanations? Class?
    posted by Mental Wimp at 10:25 AM on August 24, 2009


    Standing on or astride the rubber without the ball is often not called and is part of the "hidden ball trick" (where the pitcher hands the ball to a fielder during a conference on the mound with the intent to tag a runner out when the fielder returns to his base). According to the rule, the runner should not be called out but should instead be awarded a base due to the balk if the pitcher stands on the rubber prior to the fielder revealing the ball and applying the tag.

    From the wikipedia Balk article linked above. You can do this? Whoa. That seems.... Whoa.
    posted by Night_owl at 11:30 AM on August 24, 2009


    By the way, these baseball threads are some of my favorites here on The Blue.
    posted by Mental Wimp at 2:04 PM on August 24, 2009


    I, personally, am a big fan of the Immaculate Inning - a pitcher striking out all three batters on nine pitches. Has only happened 42 times, last time on April 20 by A.J. Burnett of the Yankees vs. the Florida Marlins.
    posted by waitingtoderail at 3:45 PM on August 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


    Catch the ball, tag the 1st base runner with the same motion and run to 2nd.

    What would make this even more rare is that neither the 2nd baseman nor the shortstop is covering 2nd base?
    posted by muddgirl at 4:30 PM on August 24, 2009


    Once a batter is out the ball is dead until the new batsman takes his crease (that word you were looking for) and the bowler begins his runup. While the ball is dead you cannot be given out.

    Correct. Indeed, for a long time, the definition of a caught ball was one that was under the control of a fielder until it was disposed of. So, after a catch, a cricket fielder would throw the ball into the air, thus "disposing" it and proving the catch. This is no longer required, but many crickters still do this today -- because after they've caught the ball, there's nothing else to be done, and throwing the ball is a nice way to celebrate a wicket.

    Interesting Comparison: There are the Official Baseball Rules that govern baseball, but there are the Laws of Cricket that govern cricket.

    Seriously, check those out, and see how you can parse them. There are 16(!) balkable actions.

    Not really that many, or, if you read cleverly, far more. They all boil down to "you can't fake one way and throw another, or fake the pitch, when you are the pitcher." There's one exception, which I'll mention below.

    First: you can't fake a pitch -- once you start your motion, you have to pitch the ball to the plate.

    Second: you can't throw or fake a throw to an unoccupied base, except to make a play (the runner went too early, the pitcher can turn and throw the ball to the empty base the runner is trying to reach, or the pitcher can throw to an empty base as part of an appeal.)

    A combination of these two is that once you've stepped towards a base, that's the only place you can throw/pitch. You do not need to step off the rubber to throw to a base, you just need to step towards the base before you throw.

    Third: you can't throw an illegal pitch, defined as a quick pitch or a pitch with your foot off the rubber.

    Fourth: you have to face the batter while pitching to him (no behind the back pitches.)

    Fifth: you can't go into your pitching motion when you are not on the rubber -- though it would be a very odd umpire that would call you if you went into the stretch when you weren't on the mound.

    Sixth: you can't make any motion that looks like a pitch without the ball, including standing on or standing astride the rubber.*

    Seventh: you can't let go, or even pull your hand off, the ball once you're in the pitching position, unless you pitch the ball or throw to a base. Yes, this means if you go into the stretch and drop the ball, or a gust of wind knocks you off the rubber, you've balked. Yes, both have happened.

    Finally, Eighth: If you're using the Set position to pitch, you have to come fully set and stop before actually pitching -- this is *the* most common balk. Stretch pitchers don't have this issue, but Set pitchers have a better chance for the pickoff, as long as they do it right.

    All the others are just restatements of the above. Throwing to the catcher out of the box is faking the pitch -- you're in the motion and intentionally fail to deliver the pitch home and quick pitching (pitching before the catcher and batter are set) and so forth.

    Technically, a pitcher delaying the game commits a balk, but only if players are on base. Usually, this won't be called as a balk, though -- first, the pitcher will be warned, then the pitcher will be ejected.

    Really, the balk rule boils down to this -- you can't make the runners think you are ready to deliver the ball to the plate, or make them think you are actually doing so, when you have no intent of actually doing so.

    * Yes, kids, the hidden ball trick is basically illegal. If the runner takes the lead when the pitcher's off the mound, then he deserves to be out, but standing over the pitching rubber without the ball is a balk, and the moment that 1B tags the runner taking the lead and shows the ball to the 1B Umpire, the runner is going to win one free trip to the Next Base, all taxes paid, runner must be present to win.
    posted by eriko at 4:52 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


    "* Yes, kids, the hidden ball trick is basically illegal. If the runner takes the lead when the pitcher's off the mound, then he deserves to be out, but standing over the pitching rubber without the ball is a balk, and the moment that 1B tags the runner taking the lead and shows the ball to the 1B Umpire, the runner is going to win one free trip to the Next Base, all taxes paid, runner must be present to win."

    Except that in the hidden ball trick, the pitcher doesn't stand astride the rubber, because he's waiting for the first baseman to return to his position, where he tags the runner. Ideally, the pitcher stands just off the rubber, closer to first base, with his hands at his sides. Which is not a balk.
    posted by klangklangston at 5:16 PM on August 24, 2009


    "His post game comments said as much."

    Really? Because if he's so slow/stupid that a catcher runs him down at second base, it's pretty much all Pujols' fault. The catcher had to run twice as far--in catcher's gear--as Pujols would have had to to return to first.


    Uh, no. You should watch the video. It's pretty much all Ryan's fault and he admitted it after the game. If you're the lead runner and you are stealing, you can't stop halfway and start running back. He hung Pujols out to dry on that one. If he starts running back to first, there's a chance they get Ryan at second (2 outs, runner on 1st) and then maybe get Pujols too (3 outs). The best they can hope for in that situation is 2 outs, runner on 2nd. Plus, Ryan was going back and forth between going to 2nd and going to 3rd. Only he knows what the hell he was thinking.

    And Pujols was actually out before the tag, when Ryan and he were touching 2nd at the same time.

    Also, the catcher ran about 130 feet. 2nd to 1st is 90 feet.
    posted by mathlete at 7:17 PM on August 24, 2009


    Except that in the hidden ball trick, the pitcher doesn't stand astride the rubber, because he's waiting for the first baseman to return to his position, where he tags the runner. Ideally, the pitcher stands just off the rubber, closer to first base, with his hands at his sides. Which is not a balk.

    Indeed. If you look at this incident from the College World Series, or read this article about the last time it happened in the majors (last time if you don't count Lugo's play as the real hidden ball trick), you'll see/read that the pitcher was not on the mound.
    posted by mathlete at 7:41 PM on August 24, 2009


    Except that in the hidden ball trick, the pitcher doesn't stand astride the rubber, because he's waiting for the first baseman to return to his position, where he tags the runner.

    Quoting myself:

    If the runner takes the lead when the pitcher's off the mound, then he deserves to be out

    The hidden ball trick was to get the runner to take a lead, because they thought the ball was at the mound. Taking a lead when the pitcher's not on the mound -- and thus, is not constrained by the balk rule -- is tantamount to suicide, and if a fielder is, in fact, holding the ball, it is suicide. If you're that dumb, you deserve to be out -- staying on the bag until the pitcher stand on the mound is Baseball 101.
    posted by eriko at 7:53 PM on August 24, 2009


    This is even more rare than "perfect games" for pitchers, of which there have been 18.

    But it doesn't make it nearly as impressive. A perfect game requires a lot of skill and some--well, maybe a lot--of luck. This triple play required almost no skill--a high school second basemen could have caught that liner--and a HUGE amount of luck.

    This triple play is a curiosity. A perfect game puts you in the history books.
    posted by ethnomethodologist at 8:50 PM on August 24, 2009


    Fucking Tigers were up 10-0, and are now desperately trying to lose (10-7 in the top of the 9th).
    posted by klangklangston at 10:35 PM on August 24, 2009


    Oh, the secret of the Tigers—complain publicly, and they'll win to spite you. (Though it might just be me—I went to 11 games in that 40-win season, and the first nine they won. I was the human good luck charm. they needed to buy me season tickets! The first loss gave me doubt; the second loss confirmed it. I don't know if cricket has insane superstitions, but baseball fosters them like no other American sport. I had a friend who had his oranges and cornflakes perfectly apportioned for the playoff run a few years back, because they scored runs every time he finished an orange wedge and their pitching was better when he ate cornflakes. He kept this up through the playoffs, and while it wasn't enough to win—no one man's superstitions ever are—it kept working until the World Series. There must have been some Cardinals fan eating anti-corn flakes and anti-orange wedges, that sone of a bitch.)
    posted by klangklangston at 11:23 PM on August 24, 2009


    For the famous sixth game of the '86 Series, I avoided my apartment because I didn't want to be distracted by non-baseball fans, however well-meaning, and went down to the Village to watch it with my drunken pal Jonathan. Around the time Mitchell singled in the tenth, we became terrified of jinxing whatever incredible thing might be happening over at Shea, so we froze in position on the couch, unwilling even to straighten out our backs or reach for the bottle (we were pretty drunk by then). When Knight scored and the comeback win was complete, we ran outside and mafficked with the multitudes. Never before or since have I felt like so much of a New Yorker.
    posted by languagehat at 6:32 AM on August 25, 2009


    "mafficked"

    Consider that stolen.
    posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:34 PM on August 25, 2009


    tkchrist changed that to this handsome looking gent, Mark Kerr, via MeMail. But it was the same documentary where Mark Coleman featured heavily.

    According to his Wiki he has never fought Fedor. I'll be stuffed who it was that kneed him in the head [yes, I said elbowed above but now that I think about it, it might have been knees]. I could have sworn it was Fedor. Definitely a non-English speaking Eastern European. Their "conversation" in the hallway was lots of hand waving and bowing.
    posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:58 PM on August 25, 2009


    WRONG THREAD, SORRY
    posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:00 PM on August 25, 2009


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