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Javy Baez - Baserunning Wizard


Vanimal46
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Didn’t realize until I watched it again. There were 2 outs already! What in the world was the Pirates 1B thinking? All time blunder. Javy Baez scored off a single in the next at bat. 

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Honestly, this is not being a baserunning wizard. This is more like First baseman makes a blunder and causes his team to look foolish. This was seriously worse than watching children play the game. Lets break this down a little:

1. There were 2 outs. All the first baseman had to do was step on the bag

2. They continued to throw the ball around the infield. That is a little league mistake. 

3. The defense clearly forgot how many outs there were in the inning, otherwise he wouldn't have ran the runner back home from first base.

4. The manager let this happen. Unacceptable. He should have known and should have been relaying this to the team.

5. The pitcher should have seen the first baseman run him back and should have covered first. PFP is done for a reason during ST.

 

I have a feeling that the Pirates are going to be working on some basics in their next practice session. Like 9-10 yr old stuff, because that is exactly how they played on this play. 

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53 minutes ago, spycake said:

Pirates 1B on this play was Will Craig, who appears to have no excuse -- he's been a primary starting 1B at every level since 2017.

Yikes. He does have an excuse... He’s just there to collect a paycheck. 

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1 hour ago, Vanimal46 said:

Yikes. He does have an excuse... He’s just there to collect a paycheck. 

wow ... some take there. While it was a huge blunder, not something you expect anyone to make, not sure I'd explain it like that. He made an error that he won't ever live down, and you suggest it's just a paycheck to him? Really? wow

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24 minutes ago, Squirrel said:

wow ... some take there. While it was a huge blunder, not something you expect anyone to make, not sure I'd explain it like that. He made an error that he won't ever live down, and you suggest it's just a paycheck to him? Really? wow

He made an error no one in the history of baseball has made before. He jogged to Javy Baez then made a lazy flick to home plate that didn’t arrive in time. You think he was fully engaged in the moment?

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18 minutes ago, Squirrel said:

wow ... some take there. While it was a huge blunder, not something you expect anyone to make, not sure I'd explain it like that. He made an error that he won't ever live down, and you suggest it's just a paycheck to him? Really? wow

I mean, I wouldn't go quite so far as to suggest that, based on this play alone, he's only there for a paycheck, but when you make the number of fundamental mistakes he makes on this play, it's a little hard to believe Craig is truly giving even cursory effort.

  • 2 outs--run to first before Baez, and the inning is over.  He clearly forgot/didn't know there were 2 outs
  • The rundown--run directly at the runner coming from third, not down the first base line.  This forces the runner there to make a decision, and you can then react to that
  • Nonchalant jogging--at no point does he force Baez to retreat with alacrity; if Craig does go full speed, he can swipe tag Baez, and still have plenty of time to throw the ball wherever he needs to in order to get the runner coming from third
  • Lackadaisical toss to the catcher--when the runner coming from third breaks for home, you have to get the ball there ASAP, as your catcher will need to perform a 90+ degree turn in order to apply the tag

If he only messed up one of those things, it's not great, but it happens.  Brain fart, whatever, move on.  To do all four of those on one play is pretty inexcusable.  It would be like a lineman in football not blocking a rusher, then refusing to dive for the football when the quarterback fumbles on the sack, and then not running at an angle to try and tackle the defender who picks up the ball.  No one would have any problem questioning whether that lineman only cares about getting paid, and we shouldn't have any such qualms about stating the same in this situation.

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44 minutes ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

I mean, I wouldn't go quite so far as to suggest that, based on this play alone, he's only there for a paycheck, but when you make the number of fundamental mistakes he makes on this play, it's a little hard to believe Craig is truly giving even cursory effort.

  • 2 outs--run to first before Baez, and the inning is over.  He clearly forgot/didn't know there were 2 outs
  • The rundown--run directly at the runner coming from third, not down the first base line.  This forces the runner there to make a decision, and you can then react to that
  • Nonchalant jogging--at no point does he force Baez to retreat with alacrity; if Craig does go full speed, he can swipe tag Baez, and still have plenty of time to throw the ball wherever he needs to in order to get the runner coming from third
  • Lackadaisical toss to the catcher--when the runner coming from third breaks for home, you have to get the ball there ASAP, as your catcher will need to perform a 90+ degree turn in order to apply the tag

If he only messed up one of those things, it's not great, but it happens.  Brain fart, whatever, move on.  To do all four of those on one play is pretty inexcusable.  It would be like a lineman in football not blocking a rusher, then refusing to dive for the football when the quarterback fumbles on the sack, and then not running at an angle to try and tackle the defender who picks up the ball.  No one would have any problem questioning whether that lineman only cares about getting paid, and we shouldn't have any such qualms about stating the same in this situation.

I never said it was excusable. It's something that he will never live down ... because it was that bad. But to chalk it up as to ... 'Oh well, I'm still getting paid' is putting quite a spin on it and basically slashing someone's character and integrity to nil. And I don't know the guy, maybe that's who he is. But I think it's a pretty bad conclusion to make.

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19 minutes ago, Squirrel said:

I never said it was excusable. It's something that he will never live down ... because it was that bad. But to chalk it up as to ... 'Oh well, I'm still getting paid' is putting quite a spin on it and basically slashing someone's character and integrity to nil. And I don't know the guy, maybe that's who he is. But I think it's a pretty bad conclusion to make.

What other conclusion fits?  He made the single lowest-effort, least thoughtful play in MLB history; do we generally think of people giving low effort and little thought to a task as invested, or as just going through the motions (or put another way, just there to get paid).

Imagine this scenario; you ask a friend to come help you re-paint your bedroom, and let them know you'll take them out for dinner afterwards as a thank you.  When they show up, they don't follow your instructions on what color paint to use on the accent wall, haphazardly use the paint roller, spilling paint on your window sill, and then lean up against a wall before it's fully dry.  They then ask you where you're planning on bringing them for dinner.  Would you infer your friend actually wanted to help you, or that they were simply there for the free meal?

I also don't think this is an attack on his character or integrity--as I said in my previous post, if he had only done one thing wrong on that play, no one would care.  The fact he did FOUR wrong things, none of them truly physical (that is, he didn't dive to catch a ball and miss it, or drop an easy pop fly.  The physical mistakes he made were only made because he was not giving sufficient effort), makes it very clear that, at least on that play, he was uninterested in playing baseball.  If he has something distracting him in his personal life, that's perfectly excusable, but only if he surfaces that so his manager can give him the day off.  He chose to be on that field, and if he is not willing or capable of providing even desultory effort, then he is by definition only there for the paycheck.

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14 minutes ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

What other conclusion fits?  He made the single lowest-effort, least thoughtful play in MLB history; do we generally think of people giving low effort and little thought to a task as invested, or as just going through the motions (or put another way, just there to get paid).

Imagine this scenario; you ask a friend to come help you re-paint your bedroom, and let them know you'll take them out for dinner afterwards as a thank you.  When they show up, they don't follow your instructions on what color paint to use on the accent wall, haphazardly use the paint roller, spilling paint on your window sill, and then lean up against a wall before it's fully dry.  They then ask you where you're planning on bringing them for dinner.  Would you infer your friend actually wanted to help you, or that they were simply there for the free meal?

I also don't think this is an attack on his character or integrity--as I said in my previous post, if he had only done one thing wrong on that play, no one would care.  The fact he did FOUR wrong things, none of them truly physical (that is, he didn't dive to catch a ball and miss it, or drop an easy pop fly.  The physical mistakes he made were only made because he was not giving sufficient effort), makes it very clear that, at least on that play, he was uninterested in playing baseball.  If he has something distracting him in his personal life, that's perfectly excusable, but only if he surfaces that so his manager can give him the day off.  He chose to be on that field, and if he is not willing or capable of providing even desultory effort, then he is by definition only there for the paycheck.

Well, okay. That’s all I need to know.

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5 minutes ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

The fact he did FOUR wrong things

Eh, after thinking about it more, I’d say the first baseman only did ONE wrong thing: he utterly lost his mind when he saw the runner from second coming home.

We’ve seen batter-runners do this kind of thing before—run back to home plate. There usually isn’t another runner involved, so I actually give some credit to Contreras for trying to score. 

And to think if the second baseman had had the instinct to cover first, it would have been just another 5-3-2-4 groundout to end the inning :)

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The poor guy made basically one mistake, followed by a second when he panicked and forgot there was a better alternative than the rundown since there were two outs. It's an all-timer, for sure, deserving of a moniker like Merkle's Boner or The Snodgrass Muff except it didn't decide a pennant or anything - Craig's Third Inning Braincramp maybe. (Though, we don't know - it did open the door for two runs that happened to be the winning margin when all was said and done several innings later, and of course we don't know yet how this game might possibly factor into any eventual pennant races.)

The third baseman's throw pulled him off the bag. It's completely routine for the tag to be made, as the batter-runner gives himself up. Unwritten rule, almost! That's apparently what Craig expected, and when Baez got clever, Craig made a mental error.

I'm just not willing to question a man's entire commitment to baseball, based on a mistake followed by a failure to realize the right way to correct it.

/ edit - I took my sweet time multi-tasking while writing this, and I see Hosken wrote pretty much the same conclusion in the meantime.

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Watching it again, I think the first baseman was affected by Baez. Not excusing the fielder, but what Baez did was completely and utterly irrational and bizarre given the situation. Probably enough to make the first baseman doubt that he really knew the number of outs, right in the middle of the play when it was not really possible to stop and check anymore.

The fielder then compounded his doubt with many other mistakes, and likely threw off his teammates too, but I am willing to give Baez more credit for creating this play than I initially thought. (Although maybe Baez doubted his knowledge of the number of outs too? That might explain his actions a bit.)

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1 hour ago, Hosken Bombo Disco said:

Eh, after thinking about it more, I’d say the first baseman only did ONE wrong thing: he utterly lost his mind when he saw the runner from second coming home.

We’ve seen batter-runners do this kind of thing before—run back to home plate. There usually isn’t another runner involved, so I actually give some credit to Contreras for trying to score. 

And to think if the second baseman had had the instinct to cover first, it would have been just another 5-3-2-4 groundout to end the inning :)

Do we really see batters run back toward home? I think that was rare enough that it affected the first baseman.

And after that, his teammates (catcher, 2nd baseman) were in turn affected by the first baseman’s doubt.

The Cubs runner from second didn’t do much that was particularly remarkable, other than perhaps being the only guy who acted like there were two outs and a third out was imminent. :)

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15 hours ago, Hosken Bombo Disco said:

Eh, after thinking about it more, I’d say the first baseman only did ONE wrong thing: he utterly lost his mind when he saw the runner from second coming home.

We’ve seen batter-runners do this kind of thing before—run back to home plate. There usually isn’t another runner involved, so I actually give some credit to Contreras for trying to score. 

And to think if the second baseman had had the instinct to cover first, it would have been just another 5-3-2-4 groundout to end the inning :)

Definitely 4 things wrong.  Had he not done all four of the things wrong, the run would not have scored.

  1. Not just going to the base.  As a first baseman, going to the base has to be your first priority, ESPECIALLY on a ball coming from the left side of the infield.  If the third baseman didn't think there was an out to be had, why would Craig think so?
  2. Not aggressively running Baez down.  This is a second error; if Craig runs as fast as he can at Baez, knowing that Baez can't just retreat to home, he will either easily tag Baez out, force Baez out of the baseline (resulting in the out), or arrive at home well before the runner from third gets there
  3. Not abandoning Baez to run directly at the runner coming from third.  I can't for sure say when this became a mistake, as I don't know where precisely the runner coming from third was, but since that runner scored, we can safely assume the runner was not hovering near third base.  If Craig abandons chasing Baez, and runs straight towards the other runner, he will force the runner to commit, and he can then throw to the appropriate base.  Even if Craig made the first two mistakes, he could fix the situation by running straight at the other runner
  4. Nonchalantly flicking the ball to the catcher.  A throw with some urgency here probably arrives in time for the catcher to apply the tag at home.  Even if Craig still makes all three of the above mistakes, a somewhat forceful throw to home probably prevents the run from scoring.

For the Cubs to have scored a run on that play, they needed Craig to make all four of the above mistakes; if he makes only 3 of them, the run probably doesn't score.  That's what makes this play so incredibly bad; Craig failed multiple times in the span of about 10 seconds, and may have cost his team the game because of it.

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On 5/27/2021 at 12:58 PM, Vanimal46 said:

Didn’t realize until I watched it again. There were 2 outs already! What in the world was the Pirates 1B thinking? All time blunder. Javy Baez scored off a single in the next at bat. 

I've chalked this up as being the dumbest play that I've ever seen.  I even yelled at the TV when I first saw it.  Which, in and of itself, is irrational because I don't have a horse in the race.  The trigger to react to the complete lack of situational awareness set me off.  

Baez's craziness must have tricked the entire Pirates team because not one of them tries to get Craig to simply touch 1B.  And then they compounded it by not covering 1B.  Had someone, anyone, done so and recorded the out at 1B, the run wouldn't have counted since Baez had yet to reach base safely.

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34 minutes ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

Definitely 4 things wrong.  Had he not done all four of the things wrong, the run would not have scored.

  1. Not just going to the base.  As a first baseman, going to the base has to be your first priority, ESPECIALLY on a ball coming from the left side of the infield.  If the third baseman didn't think there was an out to be had, why would Craig think so?
  2. Not aggressively running Baez down.  This is a second error; if Craig runs as fast as he can at Baez, knowing that Baez can't just retreat to home, he will either easily tag Baez out, force Baez out of the baseline (resulting in the out), or arrive at home well before the runner from third gets there
  3. Not abandoning Baez to run directly at the runner coming from third.  I can't for sure say when this became a mistake, as I don't know where precisely the runner coming from third was, but since that runner scored, we can safely assume the runner was not hovering near third base.  If Craig abandons chasing Baez, and runs straight towards the other runner, he will force the runner to commit, and he can then throw to the appropriate base.  Even if Craig made the first two mistakes, he could fix the situation by running straight at the other runner
  4. Nonchalantly flicking the ball to the catcher.  A throw with some urgency here probably arrives in time for the catcher to apply the tag at home.  Even if Craig still makes all three of the above mistakes, a somewhat forceful throw to home probably prevents the run from scoring.

For the Cubs to have scored a run on that play, they needed Craig to make all four of the above mistakes; if he makes only 3 of them, the run probably doesn't score.  That's what makes this play so incredibly bad; Craig failed multiple times in the span of about 10 seconds, and may have cost his team the game because of it.

Craig was charged with a catching error, which I suppose would be the first wrong, i.e. not stretching out to catch the 5-3 throw with his foot on the bag, though the throw was well on the home side.

bild.png.6c7c44e299f6f6124f20116e40a09eda.png

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2 minutes ago, RiddarCarpo said:

Craig was charged with a catching error, which I suppose would be the first wrong, i.e. not stretching out to catch the 5-3 throw with his foot on the bag, though the throw was well on the home side.

bild.png.6c7c44e299f6f6124f20116e40a09eda.png

That's almost like rubbing salt in his wounds!  It was the throw that pulled him off the bag.  That's on the 3B and Craig actually made the catch cleanly.

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18 hours ago, Hosken Bombo Disco said:

Eh, after thinking about it more, I’d say the first baseman only did ONE wrong thing: he utterly lost his mind when he saw the runner from second coming home.

This. My god, this.

Why do we have to attribute malice, incompetence, or other character flaws when momentary stupidity is so clearly in play here?

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18 hours ago, spycake said:

Do we really see batters run back toward home? I think that was rare enough that it affected the first baseman

Yeah, I think we do see it, even at MLB level. Rundowns between home and first do happen. But as you say, it's rare. 

I was hoping you'd come through with the rule on whether tagging a batter-runner before batter-runner gets to first base counts as a force out at the bag, or whether it counts as a tag play, and if the run counts if the runner scores before the tag :) . Or even better, does the run score if the runner runs backwards past home plate, where it is apparently an automatic out, with two outs, or if the same play happens with less than two outs (paging @stewthornley)

For the rules geeks still reading, here's a play from NCAA where a botched run down had a huge impact. Looks like the player was originally called out--they must have had replay review. (Video at bottom of article, skip to 3:56) 

 

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2 hours ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

Definitely 4 things wrong.  Had he not done all four of the things wrong, the run would not have scored.

  1. Not just going to the base.  As a first baseman, going to the base has to be your first priority, ESPECIALLY on a ball coming from the left side of the infield.  If the third baseman didn't think there was an out to be had, why would Craig think so?
  2. Not aggressively running Baez down.  This is a second error; if Craig runs as fast as he can at Baez, knowing that Baez can't just retreat to home, he will either easily tag Baez out, force Baez out of the baseline (resulting in the out), or arrive at home well before the runner from third gets there
  3. Not abandoning Baez to run directly at the runner coming from third.  I can't for sure say when this became a mistake, as I don't know where precisely the runner coming from third was, but since that runner scored, we can safely assume the runner was not hovering near third base.  If Craig abandons chasing Baez, and runs straight towards the other runner, he will force the runner to commit, and he can then throw to the appropriate base.  Even if Craig made the first two mistakes, he could fix the situation by running straight at the other runner
  4. Nonchalantly flicking the ball to the catcher.  A throw with some urgency here probably arrives in time for the catcher to apply the tag at home.  Even if Craig still makes all three of the above mistakes, a somewhat forceful throw to home probably prevents the run from scoring.

For the Cubs to have scored a run on that play, they needed Craig to make all four of the above mistakes; if he makes only 3 of them, the run probably doesn't score.  That's what makes this play so incredibly bad; Craig failed multiple times in the span of about 10 seconds, and may have cost his team the game because of it.

That's fine; we can disagree. I can only agree with you until the part where you say he should have paid any attention to the other runner or thrown the ball. I think all the first baseman had to do was keep pushing the batter-runner (Baez) back to home plate, and eventually Baez either has to make a break back to first, which means he either leaves the base line, or is an easy tag out?

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