Bizarre Baseball Happenings, As Always

I love collecting baseball oddities — a fact that helps to explain my extreme fondness for ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian and his fascinating Kurk-Gems segment from Baseball Tonight. And also helps explain why the past weekend was so much fun for this devoted Observer of the Wild and Wacky World of Baseball.

On Thursday, Brewers’ SS Jean Segura turned this (unusual) double play:

Saturday, the Rays’ Desmond Jennings turned this (even more unusual) double play:

Yet both paled in comparison to Segura’s Friday night base-running adventures. (Pay close attention. There might be a quiz later.)

Rule 7.08(i) reminds us that a batter is out if …”After he has acquired legal possession of a base, he runs the bases in reverse order for the purpose of confusing the defense or making a travesty of the game.” My instinct is to say that there’s a travesty being made out of something in that Segura sequence, but the official addendum to Rule 7.08(i) absolves him:

If a runner touches an unoccupied base and then thinks the ball was caught or is decoyed into returning to the base he last touched, he may be put out running back to that base, but if he reaches the previously occupied base safely he cannot be put out while in contact with that base.

Image credit to Mike McGinnis/Getty Images for the “Before” shot, and to Morry Gash/AP Photo for the “After.”

About Joseph Susanka

Joseph has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since graduating from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. A grateful resident of Wyoming, he spends his free time exploring the beautiful Wind River Mountains, keeping track of his (currently) seven sons, and thanking his lucky stars for Netflix.

  • http://catholicvote.org Joshua Mercer

    Awesome. Thank you for these gems.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/summathissummathat/ Joseph Susanka

      My pleasure, Joshua. (The only thing more amazing than these particular links is the frequency with which such bizarre awesomeness turns up in the game. …which is why I love it so.)

  • Charlie Mercer

    Joseph I was not aware you could return to the previous base! Thanks for teaching me something out of the incredibly dense rules of baseball. You should mention how many times there has been an 8 unassisted double play in the history of baseball. I don’t know the answer, but if I were in the office right now you’d tell me…

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/summathissummathat/ Joseph Susanka

      You can always go back to where you came from, Charlie. …but only as long as you’re not “making a travesty of the game,” right? I’m not quite sure Segura avoided that, though his intentions seemed pure. (Also, in the first DP replay, it seems pretty clear that Segura thought he’d already got a DP, and it was only Rickie Weeks who convinced him to hit 1B on his way into the dugout. So, I’m thinking he’s still a bit on the raw side.)

      • Charlie Mercer

        It seemed to me that he thought he was already out, and probably was as he was tagged after he stepped off of second. I love that the same guy was involved in two weird plays in one weekend. Baseball is awesome! Speaking of which, will Dom be the third baseball player to make it to the Majors from Wyoming? How’s he doing this year (if the snow has melted enough!)?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/summathissummathat/ Joseph Susanka

          Dominic is so convinced that he is going to be the next Wyoming MLBer that he spends a significant portion of his time trying to figure out which team will be honored with his services. Also, it’s snowing right now. So he’s pretty sure he’ll never play baseball again. Wyoming’s such a roller-caster, baseball-wise.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/summathissummathat/ Joseph Susanka

      Also, I can’t tell you how many there have been. I can tell you that Elias Sports Bureau says the last one was Mike Cameron in 2003. The Rays say it was Andy Van Slyke in 1992, and Cameron’s involved runners passing one another on the base-paths (which probably shouldn’t be called “unassisted). That’s why we need Joseph’s “Base Running Scoring System.

  • http://softsift.wordpress.com Joseph

    Makes you question the relative strength of the word “safe.” I really, really think we should devise an intelligent system for base running errors. The game is headed back to a life in the base paths and, c’mon, statisticians love new acronyms.


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