Thanks to the spin generated by the bat’s contact, together with potential environmental factors, a pop-up doesn’t always move in a perfectly parabolic shape. Usually, we don’t notice, because professional baseball players are so good at what they do, they can adjust to those factors easily. (Like I said: usually.)
But sometimes you can watch a play unfold and know that the ball is arcing in a way that catches the defender by surprise. Maybe that leads to a drop, but much more enjoyable are the situations where it leads to a crazy catch. Like, say, when a defender roughly knows where a pop-up is headed, dead sprints to that spot, only to have to adjust at the last second because of the drift on the ball. And maybe, if we’re lucky, he has so little time to adjust that he has to catch it with his bare hand:
“Melting faces like a misplaced microwave at an ice sculpture competition!”
This catch. This call. Everything about this play is amazing 💀
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) September 5, 2021
Holy smokes. Errol Robinson was booking it to get to a spot where he could make a play on the ball, knowing it was otherwise no man’s land for a catch. But the shape of the pop-up left him completely exposed by the time he re-sighted the ball. So all he could do was quickly extend his ungloved hand to try to make the running snag almost behind his body. That’s just one of the best catches I’ve seen in a longgggg time.
That’s the Sioux City Explorers of the American Association, by the way, and thank goodness for independent ball. I will take all the highlights I can get.