There’s a common little game that nerdy bloggers like me enjoy playing with their readership. We might call it a tool used to illustrate the similarities between two or more players that wouldn’t be expected, but it’s essentially the blogging equivalent of an M. Night Shyamalan movie: a hackish build up of anticipation for a reveal that only the author thinks is important.

It’s often referred to as the Player A-B game, and it basically consists of hiding the actual names of players and merely listing their numbers. Then, when the all-knowing blogger reveals the names, the reader is supposed be shocked and immediately repent over the preconceived notions that they held to be true about one or more of the players listed.

While it’s easy to do this with numbers and players, it’s a bit more difficult to handle when it comes to live action. However, the play in which the winning run was scored during last night’s game between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros was so atrocious that it can really only be expressed in terms of blind comparison to something that might happen in a Little League game.

And so, I’ve described two plays below. One of them is from last night’s game, and the other is from a Little League game played by children who can be no older than five years of age. It’s up to you to guess.

Play A: Batter bunts ball between pitcher and first baseman. They collide, but first baseman recovers enough to get to ball and throw to first base, being covered by second baseman. Second baseman slips on bag as throw comes, he misses it completely. Meanwhile, the runner who was previously on first base rounds second base and turns the corner on third base as well. As he’s charging home, the right fielder, picking up the ball after it wasn’t caught at first base, over throws the catcher by five feet. The runner scores, and the batter ends up at third base.

Play B: Batter grounds ball between first and second base. Right fielder has trouble getting to the ball, and the batter is able to get all the way to second base before he’s able to throw to the first baseman, acting as the cut off man. Batter rounds second base to third base. Cut off man throws to third baseman. Third baseman boots baseball back toward shortstop. Batter runs home. Shortstop throws to catcher, but hits batter, who was running properly down the line, in the back of the head. Runner scores on inside the park home run.

So, here is Play A:

And, here is Play B:

In case there’s still a question after viewing the videos, Play A was from last night’s MLB game, while Play B was from a Little League game years ago.

The Houston AAAstros, everybody.

Thanks to Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus for showing me the greatest Little League play in baseball history.

Comments (13)

  1. You give the AAstros too much credit. The little leaguers’ play was easily more respectable.

  2. It appears to me that in Play A, the 3rd baseman gets his glove on a piece of the throw from the 1st baseman to the 2nd baseman covering at first. It’s almost as if he were a Secret Service agent protecting Kurt Suzuki’s life.

  3. Also, there’s no ‘K’ in M. Night Shyamalan’s name.

  4. You could almost call this play Astrocious. Just throw a link up to Big League Stew and you would have to spend all that time writting those words of yours.

  5. Forget about the 2nd wild card (maybe the first too) coming out of anywhere but the AL West starting next year. Rangers and Angels get to feast on these clowns 19 x /year.

  6. LOL! Nice one Parkes!

    –Oshawa Ollie

  7. I experienced an inside-the-park home run back when I was in little league similar to play B. I hit a slow roller to third, who threw it over the head of the first baseman. It was still in play and I thought I could at least get to third. Halfway between 2nd and 3rd, I looked back and saw the pitcher had the ball and was walking with his head down towards the mound, unaware of his teammates yelling at him to throw to 3rd. He saw me and threw to third as I started my slide and the ball sailed past the 3rd baseman. I felt pretty awesome until the next batter hit one out of the park.

  8. Jared in video B: 70 speed tool.

  9. Jared has way more hustle than most of the Astros.

  10. More players, when scoring at home plate, should continue to sprint full-bore into the dugout, combining the impressive nonchalence of acting as if nothing happened and scoring aint not big deal, with the full-on Pete Rose intensity of refusing to go slow at anything. That kid is nails.

  11. I may never get another chance to tell the story. When my older son was 12 I found myself coaching his softball team. They were a good team but perennially 2nd behind the great powerhouses from across the city.

    Regular season game and they were losing 8-6 coming in to what we knew was the last half-inning (time limit). If they had won, they would have moved into a tie for first. Much excitement!

    It had been raining for days leading up to the game. The field was in great shape except for a 10 foot wide mud pool surrounding home plate. We made the decision to use a temporary home plate moved up about 15 feet from the built-in home plate and moved the other bases out accordingly. (Softball, remember, so the pitching “mound” was a rubber rectangle tacked into place at the correct distance.)

    Runners on first and second, two outs, and the slugger cranks one well over the CF’s head. The fielder chases out to get the ball and the kids round the bases. We WIN!!!! Except –

    The runner who had been on first was so excited he forgot about the temporary home plate. He ran through the mud to the real plate. The runner behind him (who hit the “HR”) did not forget and crossed the temporary plate standing up.

    Credit to the defense – they got the ball in shortly after the batter crossed “temporary” home. The catcher was a bit unsure of what to do with the ball, and lunged for the runner who had crossed “real” home. In a wake of mud and water they both went down and the ball popped loose. The runner dove through the mud and touched the temporary home plate.

    Alas the call went against us as the batter was ruled to have passed the runner who touched the wrong home plate. After a brief argument about how many runs should have counted on the play, everybody went home for dinner and we returned to the next game 2 games behind the leaders…

    Another chapter of life in Oshawa.

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