Back in my younger days, I lived on a block with a heck of a lot of kids. In total, there were about 30 houses and 21 kids at or around my age – most were boys, and most were boys that loved baseball.
As a result, we played a lot of baseball-type games on our own – think the Sandlot. Running bases, home run derbies, the self-created “error game,” or full-on matches we called “Court Baseball” were what we lived for in the summer.
Of course, we have all since grown up and moved away, but most of our families/parents still live in the same neighborhood. So, once a year, we get back together for one day to play a game of court baseball. That day was yesterday, and here we are in all our glory:
For the first time ever, we were legitimized by matching shirts and two different color hats (so basically it was just like the All-Star game, minus all the talent). Fireworks were set off before the game started, and the cops were called on us, but in true movie fashion, we were told “Eh… I didn’t see anything, have fun, boys.”
Although the black and yellow team led for seven full innings, the blue and red team took (and kept) the lead after three runs scored in the bottom of the eighth (as a Cubs fan, you can bet I tried desperately to get on the team with the blue/red hats). So, another year is in the books, and we’ll now all enter our extremely long and lazy off season.
See you next year, fellas.
1. With one out in the top of the eighth inning Sunday, the New York Yankees led the San Francisco Giants 5-2. However, with a runner on first and five outs to go, the game was far from over. That felt especially true when Ramiro Pena stepped up to the plate and hit a grounder passed a diving Mark Teixeira at first base. Unfortunately – well, for the Giants – Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro has tremendous lateral range and made a diving stop on the ball in short right field, before getting up quickly and firing for the out at first. But the play doesn’t end there. Covering the bag at first was pitcher Chad Green, who immediately fired the ball to Chase Headley at third. Headley then applied a tag to a hustling Mac Williamson (who was trying to grab an extra base in the confusion), completing a 4-1-5 double play. Check out the Yankees absolutely sterling defense:
2. Justin Upton is not known for his defense. Through 751 innings in left field this year, Upton has the third lowest defensive rating (-9.2) among all qualified left fielders and the other defensive metrics paint a similar picture. But that’s okay, because that’s not really his thing. Plenty of players have different strengths, and for Upton, he’s usually hired for the offense he provides. In fact, despite being just 28 years old, Upton already has five seasons with 25 or more home runs, and he seems to be on pace to make it six in 2016. But on Sunday afternoon, Upton did the opposite of hit a home run – he took one away (eh, okay, maybe that’s not the opposite of hitting a home run, but, you know, it sounded nice). Ranging to his right, Upton approaches the left field wall at U.S. Cellular field, leaps, and takes one away from Jose Abreu:
3. Unlike Justin Upton, however, Carlos Gomez – the 2013 Gold Glove winner – is known for his defense. Yesterday, he reminded us why that is, with a long and sliding catch in right center field, easily robbing Albert Pujols of extra bases. If you can believe it, Gomez covered nearly 100 feet, running over 20 MPH, before sliding onto his back and making an excellent, play on the ball. According to Statcast, his route had a 98.2% efficiency rating, which is about as high as you’ll ever see on a play like that. Pretty darn awesome, if you ask me.
Oh, and also:
- Nolan Reimold hit a pinch-hit, walk-off home run to give the Orioles a 5-3 victory over the Indians
- Trevor Story crushed his National League leading 27th home run 456 feet
- David Freese made a remarkable diving stop at the hot corner
- Michael Conforto covers 60 feet and lays out to make a diving catch
What you may have missed: