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As easy as 1-2-3
2007-03-30 18:44
by Bob Timmermann

Last night at the Freeway Series (exhibition variety) game between the Angels and Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, I finally got to see in person, one of baseball's rarer events, the triple play.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Angels reliever Chris Resop walked Olmedo Saenz to lead off and Adam Godwin ran for him. (Godwin did not bring up Stalin or Hitler to Angels first baseman Casey Kotchman I believe.) Andy LaRoche followed with another walk. And who was coming up? Why, it was Brady Clark! Whom I still had to adjust to being on the Dodgers. It was Clark's first at bat as a Dodger.

And on a 2-2 count, the runners were going, but Clark lined the ball right at Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, who was already shading to second for the double play. Kendrick just jogged to second to double off Godwin and threw over to Kotchman at first to complete the triple play as LaRoche made a game, but ultimately futile jog back to first.

And there it was in my scorebook "43 TP". For the Dodgers, it was no runs, no hits, no errors, and none left.

The odd thing about the triple play is that sort of happened in slow motion. Clark didn't seem to hit the ball very hard. Kendrick didn't seem to run to second fast nor was in a particular hurry to throw out LaRoche at first. It just sort of happened.

The crowd didn't react much at all. The players don't really have a way to celebrate such a play. The triple play is not as satisfying it seems as the ground ball double play, which is one of baseball's most aesthetically pleasing plays. Just look at the drawing on Kurt Bevacqua's baseball card from 1976 over at Cardboard Gods. That is artistry.

The triple play is just one of those things that happens. It's a big thing. It's the ultimate rally killer. But ultimately, it's not a lot of fun to watch. Crossing it off my list of baseball feats to see in person, is sort of like being a birder who just needed to see a duck to complete his life list.

What's left on my baseball life list to see in person:


2007-03-30 19:13:23
1.   Mark T.R. Donohue
But have you seen a guy hit home runs from opposite sides of the plate in the same inning? I have!
2007-03-30 19:14:30
2.   Bob Timmermann
I ran out of birds.
2007-03-30 19:15:06
3.   Ken Arneson
I've seen two no-hitters in person, but have yet to see a triple play. Or a cycle, except on TV. In fact, I don't even think I've seen a triple play live on TV.
2007-03-30 19:18:56
4.   Bob Timmermann
The A's last triple play was televised. It was Randy Velarde's unassisted triple on May 29, 2000 in New York. Shane Spencer was the batter.
2007-03-30 20:05:12
5.   El Lay Dave
What about a 5-4-3 ground-ball TP? Wouldn't that be at least as exciting as the ground-ball DP, since it's essentially the same with the additional force at 3rd to start it?
2007-03-30 20:51:09
6.   dianagramr
I've seen in person:

a) Jon Matlack 1-hit the Cardinals
b) A minor league game lost on back-to-back bases loaded HBP.
c) Back-to-back inside-the-park HRs (Bump Wills and Toby Harrah vs. the Yankees)

2007-03-30 21:02:27
7.   deadteddy8
I have seen in person:

Inside the park grand slam, by Chico Walker of the Cubs, at Candlestick in, I think, 1991.

Runner on third thrown out at home by an outfielder... on a single. Terry Steinbach was the hapless runner, and Bo Jackson the left fielder.

When I was eleven, I started a game-ending triple play with the tieing run at the plate. I started the inning pitching, then, after giving up two baserunners, was switched with the second baseman as Scott Feldman came to bat (now a pitcher with the Rangers). Feldman hit a line drive to my right, I made a diving catch, came to my knees and threw to first to double off the runner there, and then looked on in amazement as our first baseman threw to second to easily double off the runner who had already rounded third. Glory days, well, they'll pass you by.

2007-03-30 21:13:11
8.   Bob Timmermann
I've already seen an inside-the-park grand slam. By Tony Gwynn at Dodger Stadium.
2007-03-30 21:29:12
9.   dianagramr
Apparently this was the third triple play turned by the Angels this Spring!

2007-03-30 21:32:32
10.   Eric Enders
I've been to lots and lots of games but have never seen anything truly rare happen, except I guess for a future Hall of Fame pitcher hurling a bat fragment at a future Hall of Fame hitter. That was fun.
2007-03-30 21:33:01
11.   Eric Enders
I've also seen a manager steal third base. That doesn't happen too often.
2007-03-30 21:34:34
12.   Eric Enders
Monday's cadence is really awful sometimes.

"9 to 2 Dodgers, Wilson.


Is the batter, Andy LaRoche.

Waiting on deck."

2007-03-30 21:35:51
13.   Eric Enders
Grr. Wrong thread.
2007-03-30 21:47:44
14.   El Lay Dave
In person, I saw Willie Stargell hit a home run out of Dodger Stadium.

I also saw Joe Ferguson win a game with a PH walk off HR caught a few rows in front of me by a guy who merely had to stand up to catch it and who was wearing a shirt that read on the back "The entire Joe Ferguson fan club".

2007-03-30 22:33:48
15.   Eric Enders
Mondayism: "So the big ox, Bronathan Oxton, goes 1-2-3..."
2007-03-30 22:34:20
16.   Eric Enders
Dammit. Wrong thread again.

But at least it's getting the Griddle post counts higher.

2007-03-30 22:35:12
17.   Gagne55
How about a double turned double play? There was one of those in the playoffs last year.
2007-03-31 00:18:42
18.   Ken Arneson
I wasn't watching or listening the Velarde triple play game for some reason. I didn't find out about it until that evening.
2007-03-31 01:11:02
19.   bhsportsguy
After seeing 4+1 game in person last year, I think my chances of seeing anything else similar is pretty rare.

Though I did see the triple play last night and I was saying triple play as Kendrick was catching the ball.

2007-03-31 03:45:19
20.   Chiron Brown
I once saw a 8-4-3-2 triple play at a MLB game played in Las Vegas.
2007-03-31 06:54:48
21.   Gen3Blue
How abuot a pitcher throw a Euphus Pitch
2007-03-31 11:39:32
22.   das411
I have seen a cycle both in person (although I was late and missed the homer, the infamous 8/25/95 game) and on TV (the dueling Phils/Expos cycles of 2003-04), and the no-hitter by Millwood in person, which was quite glorious.

Rarest feat though, I would have to say, was the pitcher grand slam by Jeff Juden in, of course, that 8-25-95 game. Incredible!

Bob, do ESPN cutaways count? Because then I could add the Unit's Perfect Game and Mike Cameron's 4th (and damn near 5th!!) home run...

...and as far as I know they still have yet to uncover just who has the ball from Mickey Morandini's unassisted triple play, no?

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