Shin-Soo Choo is a fine baseball player. Each season he turns in a tidy .300/.400./.500, going about his business in relative obscurity with the Clevelands. His defense doesn’t get all the press it deserves but, by Baseball Reference’s rWAR, his defensive value made him the second best player in baseball in 2010.
Choo put both his exemplary defense and the Jim Thome-sized holes in Minnesota Twins mythology on display during the third inning of yesterday’s game between his Spiders and the aforementioned paragons of Smart, Heads-Up Baseball from the Twinned Cities. Follow me after the jump for a screen captured photo essay on the greatness that is Choo.
With the game scoreless in the bottom of the third inning, Jason Kubel came to the plate with two speedy runners on base – Alex Casillia on second and Denard Span on first. Kubel lined a hard single to right field, directly at our hero Choo.
Perhaps sensing the Twins season slipping away before it even started, Casilla pressed the issue, right through the stop sign of third base coach Scott Liddle and directly into TOOTBLAN1 territory.
Choo, as is his wont, fired a strong & accurate throw to the plate; cutting down Casilla by what we in the industry refer to as a “considerable margin.” Not even bothering to slide, Casilla attempted to circumvent the rules of baseball by avoiding the tag.
Casilla slinked (slunk?) back to the dugout but, as Casilla represented just the second out of the inning, the Twinkies rally rolls on.
After Justin Morneau doubled in two runs, he triumphantly stood atop second base. The start of 2011 hasn’t been kind to Morneau, off to a poor offensive start after missing so much of 2010. Surely making a significant contribution for the first time in while caused a rush of blood to the head, as he promptly ran right through a stop sign all his own after Michael Cuddyer weakly singled to right field.
Wait, doesn’t Shin-Soo Choo still play right field in Cleveland? He did earlier this inning and we saw how well that ended for Alexi Casilla. I wonder how this turns out for Morneau who, just like every hockey-playing bro you grew up with, runs like he’s on skates.
Five hits in the inning with only two runs to show for it. Two sweet assists for Choo to hang his hat on. Unlike local folk hero Jose Bautista, Choo doesn’t score these plate punchouts on brute arm-strength alone.
Thanks to the curious decisions of the Twins base runners, Choo’s exemplary positioning and accuracy (video here and here) are more than enough to net him two big outs for his team. Good thing the Twins managed to Play the Game the Right Way over the other six innings to preserve the win lest the legend of the Twins tarnish.
1 – Thrown out on the bases like a nincompoop.