What is the most exciting play in baseball?

Getty Images

Over at Fangraphs today Meg Rowley writes about how it’s hard to enjoy baseball sometimes, what with all of the outside, real world distractions, the times when the real world intrudes upon baseball in ugly ways and when the grumps and cranks of the world crap on the good things that do happen in baseball. It’s a good column and you should go read it.

Her intro, though, definitely got me thinking:

I asked a few friends a question: what is your favorite sort of baseball play? One said a well-placed bunt for a hit on the third-base line. Another, preferring defensive highlights, elected for a smartly turned 6-4-3 double play with the shortstop going to his backhand, or else a home run robbed. One described the thrill of watching a pitcher who, after finding himself facing a bases-loaded, no-outs situation, manages to wiggle off the hook. Strikeouts swinging on a 100 mph fastball, and long balls that thump the batter’s eye, and outfield dances and coy smiles at a job well done, each answer was different, making up a tableau of the game’s joys.

She didn’t ask me, but my answer would be a triple. Not just any triple, but one where power, speed and defensive prowess come together in a single play. One in which the batter smokes one to a corner or a gap and immediately busts out of the batter’s box with three bases on his mind. One in which the fielder plays the ball as perfectly as he can, turns and throws as hard as he can and sends a bullet to the cutoff man or, possibly, even directly to third base. One in which the batter makes a perfect slide and just beats the throw right as a crowd is about to go absolutely nuts with joy, anger or amazement, depending on their rooting interests.

Which, now that I think about it, the play could be a putout if it unfolds exactly that way too. I don’t care. I’m going for the kinetic energy and the execution of the whole deal, one way or another.

I tweeted about it a bit ago and someone asked me about an inside the park home run. I understand the impulse there but in reality that rarely lives up to the excitement of a triple as so many inside-the-parkers are caused by misplays, bad bounces or in some cases guys simply getting hurt. I suppose a speed-powered insider-the-parker with no defensive miscues or random acts of God would beat out that triple I described, but those are rare beasts. Indeed, I can’t remember the last time I saw one.

So, that’s mine. What’s yours? A triple-play? A 500-foot blast? A knee-breaking strikeout via an otherworldly bender? A fan catching a foul ball in her beer and chuggin’ that bad boy? There are no wrong answers here. I wanna hear yours.

Brian Cashman signs 4-year contract to remain Yankees GM

Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO — Brian Cashman has signed a four-year contract to remain the New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. The announcement was made during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings.

Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement since early November, when his five-year contract expired.

The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.

Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge.

Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.

While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager since 1998. He has been with the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year old intern in the scouting department. In his 25 seasons as GM, the Yankees have reached the postseason 21 times, including four World Series championships and six American League titles.