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:
The Houston AAAstros, everybody.
ESPN Stats/Info:The Astros have just 4 wins since June 28, and in that same span, 14 different pitchers have won more games than the Astros.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) August 7, 2012
Thanks to Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus for showing me the greatest Little League play in baseball history.