In the bottom of the fourth inning of this afternoon’s game against the Dodgers, the Rays got an extra out by fooling Juan Uribe with the hidden ball trick. The Dodgers, already up 4-0, had the bases loaded with nobody out when A.J. Ellis hit a fly ball to Rays center fielder Wil Myers, allowing Andre Ethier to score from third.
Myers threw the ball in towards the plate to James Loney, who cut the ball off near the pitcher’s mound. Juan Uribe advanced to third and Skip Schumaker advanced to second. Loney noticed Uribe was not paying attention, so he threw the ball to shortstop Yunel Escobar, who then tossed it to third baseman Evan Longoria. Longoria held onto the ball until Uribe stepped off, and then applied the tag for the second out of the inning. Zack Greinke grounded out to end the inning. The Rays were happy to allow just the one run after loading the bases with no outs, thanks in large part to their use of the hidden ball trick.
Eric Stephen of SB Nation’s True Blue LA posted a video of the event.
Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.
It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.
Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:
He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.
“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”
The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.