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Even the pros mess up sometimes

So Major League Baseball is into its All-Star Game break right now, so I thought I would chat about a YouTube video from a couple of years ago which shows Major League thinking by one player and Minor League thinking by a couple of others.

It was a game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs had Willson Contreras on second base with two out and Javier Baez at the plate.

Baez hit a relatively simple grounder to the third baseman, who fielded it cleanly. That was about the last thing Pittsburgh did right on the play.

The third baseman’s throw to first base pulled the first baseman off the bag, toward home plate, where Baez was charging up the line.

The first baseman caught the ball, and instead of turning around (or even just backing up) to first base to tag the bag and retire the Cubs, he decided to chase Baez back toward home plate.

Baez was more than happy to oblige, because he knew he now had the Pirates thinking, which is usually a bad thing to do on the ballfield. Stick with your instincts, and you’ll usually do better.

Anway, as the first baseman is chasing Baez back toward home plate, Contreras has rounded third and, realizing the Pirates were in the process of messing things up, set sail for home.

As he got close to home, the first baseman, who was now so close to Baez he could have tagged him with the ball (and ended the inning) decided to flip the ball to the catcher.

The catcher caught the ball, but Contreras made a nice slide to get to the plate for a provisional run. I call it ‘provisional’ because if Baez didn’t make it to first base, the run wouldn’t count.

Well, Baez saw Contreras slide in, joined the home-plate umpire in signalling that he was safe, then set off for first base (again).

The catcher now realized that it was up to him to make things right, so he threw the ball toward the second baseman, who was now (somewhat belatedly) moving to cover first base.

I say the catcher threw the ball ‘toward’ the second baseman because his throw was a couple of feet behind the second baseman and now rolled into right field.

Baez slid into first base (which, coincidentally, meant the run by Contreras DID count), picked himself up, and headed toward second base.

The throw from short right field bounced past second base (which the shortstop was now protecting, sort of), but I suspect Baez was too tired from all this running to worry about going any further.

The YouTube clip from MLB presents the play as called by both the Pirates and Cubs broadcast teams, and neither of them seemed to have any idea what the Pirates were doing.

What they were doing was entertaining countless baseball fans for years to come.

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