I have been to hundreds of baseball games in my life and never witnessed a triple play, a no hitter, or a 20 inning game live and in person.
I did have great seats on the third base side at Dodger Stadium when the Tampa Bay Rays pulled the hidden ball trick right in front of me on August 10, 2013.
And I missed it.
It was a Sunday series finale, the Rays were dominated in the three games, and were well on the way to being swept. The Dodgers were still hot and nearing the tail end of a 42-8 stretch that turned them into division champs that season, when out of nowhere, the Rays were able to salvage a little bit of dignity before ending their road trip. Pulling off their trickery to catch Juan Uribe off third base after the Dodgers final run of the afternoon scored. The hidden ball trick, when pulled in defeat, is comparable to getting beat up by your older brother in front of every one, then yanking his shorts to his ankles before running off and getting away with it.
And I missed it (had to learn the brother example from experience).[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPugyFXyzwk[/tube]
The Dodgers had just taken a 5-0 lead on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by A.J. Ellis that scored Andre Either from third base. Skip Schumaker moved up to second base and Uribe advanced to third, Each tagging and moving up a base on the first recorded out of the home half of the fifth inning.
From our seats on the third base line, as a group of us celebrated the home town Dodgers run scoring, there was a low groan and we turned to watch Uribe trot into the dugout.
“He left to soon” I announced, using my authoritive, what else could it be, tone.
“No it was the hidden ball trick”, commented the young boy across the aisle from me.
I glanced across and looked into those eyes still seeing beyond me and onto the Dodger Stadium infield. “You’re kidding, you saw that?” I asked.
“Yes, Loney cut off the throw from center, and threw the ball to shortstop who flipped it to Longoria, it only took seconds after that.”
The Rays’ throw from center field after the catch was cut off by former Dodger James Loney, and lost during the commotion was somehow the ball made it to third baseman Evan Longoria. Uribe stepped off the base because he apparently thought time was called, though third base coach Tim Wallach apparently was trying to warn his base runner, but to no avail.
Lost was the sac fly by Ellis, instead the play was officially scored as a 8-3-6-5 double play.
And the kid saw it!
Then again, if we see it, it is not the hidden ball trick.
I hope you get the 20 inning game, kid!
Author Note: I had just finished this story, just a look back to what I had missed as a fan of the game, I hopped out to my car for quick trip and… caught Rick Monday calling the last out of Josh Beckett’s no-hitter on AM570 radio. The last out! Is my point proven?