Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Greatest Play of All Time

manny01It happened on July 21st, 2004, in the 7th inning, with 2 outs, Baltimore Orioles v. Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. David Newhan is at the plate against Pedro Martinez, and it looks like Newhan just took him deep until the ball bounces off the wall in center. Johnny Damon fields the ball and throws it in to Mark Bellhorn at shortstop, but the throw is intercepted by a diving Manny Ramirez. "It was a highlight catch," Damon said of the maneuver. For this to happen, Manny had to sprint across a substantial portion of outfield. Never in the history of baseball has a left fielder cut off a center fielder's throw. No manager in the world would practice a triple cut-off to include the left fielder. They'd have Manny practice unassisted triple-plays first. And to make it worse, it was probably his best catch all season. A diving stab. And, as Manny lies on the ground, Newhan comes home, an in the park home run. Only Manny can rise to the bigs without knowing even the rudimentary basics of fielding. "That," Newhan said, "was kind of a weird relay there." Even Terry Francona said, "That was a big mistake and we paid for it."
-UPDATE- I finally found the 'official' MLB Stream. Manny Ramirez cuts off Johnny Damon. Second Update: They seem to have taken that feed down. Leave a comment if you find another video.

Certainly, this has got to be more entertaining than when Manny disappeared into Manny Land, that bizzarro world he found under Monster. It has to be more exciting than Manny demanding a trade, for the third time in four years, and not getting it because his contract runs about $20 million. You can complain about his fielding, but when the dude steps into the box, he mashes. In a game against the White Sox last season - coincidentally, exactly one year after the Greatest Play of All Time - Joe Crede dropped an easy foul pop-up from Manny. 99 times out of 100, you're out. Manny is not gonna get out twice in one at bat, and not a single person watching thought he wasn't gonna jerk the next one out of the yard. Even Ozzie Guillen himself said it. "Everybody did, everybody in the ballpark did." Sure enough, next pitch, home run. Red Sox win, 6-5. Manny might be disappearing into the monster, cutting off throws from center field, and getting picked off while executing routine base running, but you're not gonna get that guy out twice in the same at bat, not a chance.

BallHype: hype it up!