The Spirit

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Years ago, there was a man who set baseball on its ear. He was fast and crafty. He did things with a flair. And the opposing players always had to have their heads on a swivel to make sure he wasn’t doing something that would be spectacular and cause them to look foolish. Yesterday, Jackie’s spirit was in full evidence as the kid from the Dominican Republic, the crafty young shortstop of the Milwaukee Brewers, put on a display that baffled many of the baseball veterans who had never seen what he did before in the history of the sport.

To set the stage, with runners on second and third, Jean Segura came to the plate in the thin air of the Colorado Rockies home field. He was intentionally walked with two outs to load the bases for the pitcher, Wily Peralta. Then it happened. The pitcher, Christian Friedrich, threw a wild pitch, which bounced back to the first base side of the diamond in foul territory to the right of the first baseline. Instantly, while the catcher was retrieving the ball, Mark Reynolds came home from third and scored as the catcher, Michael McKenry,  lofted the rebounded ball over the head of the pitcher who was covering home plate and going back to the backstop again. At that time, Aramis Ramirez, from second came home to score the second run. The pitcher at this time was against the backstop next to the Brewer dugout, retrieving the ball, head down and dejected over what had just happened. The catcher, facing home plate was bent over with his hands on his knees doing the same thing. Both felt terrible because two runs had scored with two out on a single wild pitch.

During all of this despair for Rockie fans everywhere, unseen by anyone on the Rockies team or staff, was Jean Segura, moving cautiously from first to second and then from second to third. Pausing slightly as he rounded third, he suddenly burst home and was half way down the third base line barreling toward home plate when the pitcher, finally caught him out of the corner of his eye and tried to run and dive to tag him out before he too would score. The burst of speed…the craftiness of his effort from first and his brilliant fade away slide into home, leaning his back toward the pitcher’s mound and away from the diving pitcher coming in from the backstop scored.

It was a moment one who saw the play will never forget. Imagine, the bases loaded before the pitch, all scored on one wild throw by the pitcher.

Now here’s the unfairness of this play. The pitcher, who caused at least the first and third runs to score, would not be charged for any runs as they were all unearned even though he caused this craziness to happen. But I digress.

The moment went to the Brewers and The Spirit of Jackie was in full view at Coors Field in Denver on Saturday.

Play Ball!

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