As I’ve mentioned in the podcast over the last three weeks–three weeks marked with broken promises concerning the date of the introduction of this series–there are certain aspects of a player’s performance that go unnoticed in the post-game stat line. My first choice would have been gratuitous bat flips, but FanGraphs affiliate NotGraphs already has that covered.
I therefore turned to my second choice, the outfield assist. Some of you may raise the objection that this particular feat does, in fact, appear in the post-game stat line. Those of you who raise such an objection would be correct. However, I would argue that an outfield assist is appropriate recognition only for an out resulting from a ~150 foot throw to second base, or for those whimpy-ass left field to third base throws. It is not appropriate recognition for throws that result in non-force-outs in which the ball travels some 250 feet or more.
Therefore, I have decided to enshrine the best such plays in a bi-weekly series aimed to improve recognition of what I call, the Art of Hosiery.
In order to qualify for this series, the throw must travel some 250 feet in the air (roughly, I ain’t got no tape-measure for no computer screen) and result in an out at third base or home plate. The criteria used to judge the throw are as follows:
–The maximum height obtained by the ball during it’s flight to the base (lower throws are better)
–Number of bounces the ball takes on its way to its destiny (under all foreseeable circumstances, this number should be <1).
— Distance between the runner and the player applying the tag (the greater the distance, the better).
— Documented shock or surprise upon the visage of the runner or third base coach. Preferably both.
Finally, it should be noted that for each time period, the players responsible for the hosiery showcased in the videos in this series shall be considered nominees. Therefore, there shall be a winner, which shall be the player earning some combination of the most/highest accolades in the comments section following the article.
Without further adieu (click on images to link to videos):
Marlon Byrd hoses Darwin Barney like a stray cat trying to make a home for itself underneath your porch:
This throw was most excellent because a) Barney is out by ~1 mile; b) the throw remains relatively low for the duration of the flight, but remains above the ground; c) the announcer denigrates the decision-making abilities of the third base coach; d) Darwin Barney (5’10”, 185 lbs.) appears to consider, however briefly, the merits of lowering his shoulder in what would have been a feeble attempt to dislodge the ball from the glove of John Buck (6’2″, 230 lbs.). That he considered this course of action is amusing. It would have been more amusing, we can all agree, had he done anything more than consider it.
Owen’s Rating: 4/5
Michael Bourn hoses Jacoby Ellsbury like the afore-mentioned cat, this time attempting to search your garbage can for any tuna/chicken you may have discarded.
It is possible that Bourn’s throw may not have obtained the required 250 feet. As we know, it is ~127 feet from home plate to second base. Does Bourn’s throw originate from >=123 feet beyond 2nd base? We’ll never know for sure, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Further, Bourn’s throw attains too great a height to command the respect of Marlon Byrd’s hosing of Darwin Barney. That Jacoby Ellsbury was frustrated that he made an out on such a fantastic throw is amusing, but total resignation, combined with shock and awe, is the preferred emotion for the player thrown out on the play.
Owen’s Rating: 2.5/5
Leonys Martin hoses Andy Dirks like a squirrel you’ve just discover pillaging your bird feeder while it thinks no one is watching.
When I envisioned this series I suspected that many of the entries would reference Rick Ankiel, Jeff Francoeur, or Josh Reddick. However, these players also seem to be incapable of striking out less than all of the time (actually, the range is between 23% for Reddick and 45% for Ankiel, so I’m not exaggerating very much), which limits their opportunities in the field. Leonys Martin is currently striking out at just a 17.9% rate and has posted a 107 WRC+ to date. Martin has also shown a propensity for hosiery, adding a notch to his metaphorical shillelagh with this gem just one week prior. Also, this.
If you didn’t notice, in the original video, Martin made this throw quickly on a soft single to his left with a relatively speedy Andy Dirks running. It was also a fucking strike. Catcher didn’t even move.
Owen’s Rating: 4.5/5.