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: