September 04, 2003

Play at the Plate.: Last night the Angels led the Twins 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth, with 2 outs and the tying run on first. The Twins batter hits a grounder down the third base line. They send the runner home. Here's the throw--here's the play at the plate--

posted by kirkaracha to baseball at 11:24 AM - 26 comments

The throw got to the catcher, Bengie Molina, in plenty of time, and normally it would have been an easy out, but the baserunner, Dustan Mohr, is a former linebacker. Mohr hit Molina hard enough to break the catcher's wrist and knock the ball out of Molina's mitt and all the way to first base. Mohr scored the tying run. Meanwhile, the batter, Shannon Stewart, never stopped running. He came all the way around, beat the second throw to the plate, and scored the winning run. Twins win, 6-5. For my money, this type of play is the most exciting thing in baseball because there's a lot of action and the outcome of the game depends on the play. If the catcher makes the tag, his team wins. If he doesn't, his team loses.

posted by kirkaracha at 11:24 AM on September 04, 2003

I was at the game yesterday and it was the most exciting play I have ever seen. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, I was praying that Stewart would just get a hit to continue the inning. When his hit made it past the third basement I was excited, but I couldn't believe it when third base coach Al Newman sent Dustin Mohr home. The throw beat him by 15 feet, but you could tell that Mohr was going to take him out, he had no other choice. When the ball came loose, the very small crowd of 7,000 went nuts. I didn't even notice Stewart running because I was still jumping up and down! Molina broke two bones in his wrist and is out for the season which is very unfortunate, but just part of the game. I never thought that the Keilty/Stewart trade would have worked out so well. Go Twins!

posted by emoeby at 11:38 AM on September 04, 2003

kirk, I disagree. I think there's no place in Baseball for a hit like that. There should be an "unnecessary roughness" rule of some sort. I know it would be hard to figure out, and imagine the manager's rage if a play like this had been overturned. Because what's going to happen soon is that one of the Twins is going to get bulldozed or beaned by the Angels.

posted by djacobs at 11:40 AM on September 04, 2003

Where is the line drawn for contact anyway? There must be some sort of rule addressing this. You can't do this type of thing at say, 2nd base can you? And you can't go throwing punches, even at the catcher.

posted by pitchblende at 11:48 AM on September 04, 2003

Maybe Molina wouldn't have broken his wrist if he hadn't tried to be a matador (Ole!) at the plate and blocked it.

posted by trox at 11:48 AM on September 04, 2003

I didn't think the hit was all that fierce. He just went for the ball, and Molina did a poor job of protecting it. Fortunately, this was the last game between the two teams for the season so revenge will have to wait.

posted by emoeby at 11:51 AM on September 04, 2003

Beat that Rally Monkey!

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:56 AM on September 04, 2003

Aaron Gleeman's take This sort of collision seems to be ok under baseball's unwritten rules (forgive me for using that phrase). Going out of your way to take out a SS at second base can result in a beaning, but barrelling over the catcher - in an All-Star game, even - is fair game.

posted by mbd1 at 12:54 PM on September 04, 2003

wouldn't you know it. says there was no TV for that game so they have no play of the game in their video section. so without seeing it i can't really say but if the catcher knows the guy is coming from 15 ft away (a few strides) then I would hope he does a better job of cushioning for impact. cross your arms on your chest and get ready. no floppy limbs out there to get bent and have things like broken wrists happen. i mean he has the ball, is the ump really going to be that fussy about actual glove to person tagging as long as he is keeping the glove in front of him where the impact will be taken? i mean maybe that is no guarantee that the ball isn't dropped but maybe it is a more protective stance? what do i know though. I only played one game at catcher ever. nobody has mentioned Pete Rose bowling over Ray Fosse in the 1970 allstar game yet? (ok, on preview, an allusion)

posted by gspm at 12:59 PM on September 04, 2003

Great play - reminds me of the greatest play I ever saw, which was similar: Buck Martinez is at catcher for the Jays and takes a collision at home plate on a single to the outfield - the collision breaks his leg and he starts to writhe in agnoy - another runner on base (can't remember) goes for third in the confusion and Martinez heroically tries to throw him out, but misses and the ball heads into left field (where the original throw came from) - runner rounds third and tries to score but George Bell (not knowing the extent of Buck's injury - or not caring) throws back to the plate to get the runner out. Buck got it and tagged the runner out (as I remember) on a broken leg. he is carried off the field by his teammates and misses a year or so. Never the same player thereafter. Anyone else remember that? It was in the mid to late 80s. BTW - Shannon Stewart is a great hitter. It's just too bad that's all he is. Minny won that trade, but the Jays were never going to re-sign Shannon at $7 mil over X number of years - anyway, so a young power, OBP type isn't bad (we have so many outfielders now it's ridiculous). Keilty has been pretty much a bust so far - but I'll give him a little time and the benefit of the doubt.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:13 PM on September 04, 2003

Looks like the Angels aren't too upset. From the St. Paul paper: Players and managers in both clubhouses said it was a clean play. "He didn't spike him or anything," Angels first baseman Scott Spiezio said.

posted by hootch at 01:29 PM on September 04, 2003

It sucks that Molina broke his wrist (and it also sucks that he got charged with an error), but the baserunner did what he's supposed to do. If Molina had taken a more self-protective stance, like taking a charge in basketball, he might not have been hurt quite so bad. And, like charges in basketball, this is one of the plays that shows that baseball's more physical and violent than most people think.

posted by kirkaracha at 02:04 PM on September 04, 2003

As a catcher, there was absolutely nothing wrong with what Dustin Mohr did last night. Molina failed to protect the ball, and by standing there like he was flagging down a cab, he invited Mohr to take a free shot. There was no intent to injure, simply to try and knock the ball loose, which Mohr did very well. The key in any collision at the dish is to turn the runner away from the plate, especially when you have three days to set up, as Molina did. Drop to one or both knees about 2-3 feet up the line and angle out a bit to force him outside, then tuck the ball in and pray.

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:09 PM on September 04, 2003

That's why they call them the tools of ignorance. Molina should have stepped aside and swiped him with the tag. I catch in my league (did you know that? Did you know John Kerrey served in Vietnam?) and we have a "slide or avoid" rule. No contact is allowed. It's too bad actually because I'm bigger than most of the guys in the league and I'll take my chances even if they have a head of steam. But I agree that there's nothing more exciting than sealing off the plate as some sucka futilely tries to slide through you as you slap a tag down on his no talent ass.

posted by vito90 at 02:28 PM on September 04, 2003

Sportsfilter: Slapping a tag on your no talent ass. (b/c, you know, we don't have enough taglines here)

posted by Ufez Jones at 02:38 PM on September 04, 2003

SportsFilter: Not enough taglines from a pack of wiseasses.

posted by billsaysthis at 02:44 PM on September 04, 2003

I can just picture catchers and baserunners taking up martial arts to try and stay a step ahead of each other physically. Base Wars here we come. :)

posted by Space Coyote at 02:58 PM on September 04, 2003

Anyone else remember that? It was in the mid to late 80s. July 9th 1985. It's probably the most talked about Blue Jay moment by the fans (other than 1992/1993 seasons). They've shown the play a million times in historical recount shows, interviews with Buck (especially when he got hired/fired as a manager) and "great plays" compilations. It is probably his defining moment as a baseball player (and Blue Jay). Not too many people would have seen it (being in Seattle and at night) but almost EVERYONE saw the replay of it the next morning. What makes it amazing is that he had the wherewithall to catch the incoming throw and apply the tag. The reason that Gorman Thomas (the 2nd runner) didn't do more to avoid the tag (say, plow Martinez again) is that he was a former teammate from the Milwaukee Brewers years ago.

posted by grum@work at 03:04 PM on September 04, 2003

SpaceCoyote, it's too late. At least one pitcher has already got it down pat.

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:28 PM on September 04, 2003

what is that jackass talking about, wfrazerjr? deemed reckless because he's an asian male? they're called cleats, jackass.

posted by garfield at 03:37 PM on September 04, 2003

Oh yeah - Chan Ho Park - nice one. George Bell did that once too - flying kick to the chest of some Red Sox pitcher once. But enough Blue Jay hijacking. Best is still Robin Ventura charging a 40-odd year old Nolan Ryan. I've never seen anyone run that fast to get their face filled in like an application.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:47 PM on September 04, 2003

My buddy and I always talk about the Ryan/Ventura dustup. Nolan had Robin in a headlock such that only the crown of Ventura's noggin was sticking out, and he must have fired six punches to the top of that sucker's head before the posse arrived. That was truly poetry.

posted by vito90 at 04:21 PM on September 04, 2003

also Izzy Alcantera delivering a kick to the catcher's chest before running out to the mound to mix it up with the pitcher:

posted by mbd1 at 04:40 PM on September 04, 2003

Any video of the Buck Martinez play online?

posted by hootch at 05:08 PM on September 04, 2003

what's with autographed pics of notorious moments? Rose and Fosse.

posted by gspm at 01:17 AM on September 05, 2003

Wait, that's the most talked about Jays moment? How can you say that when the Kids in the Hall used to talk about Kelly Gruber's every move? Did you know John Kerrey served in Vietnam? Nope. Neither did anyone with him. Check the names on the medals he threw in the fountain.

posted by yerfatma at 12:03 AM on September 06, 2003

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