Anthony Rizzo Climbs Tarp and Wall for Catch of the Year

Had Anthony Rizzo simply been happy with the unorthodox double-play he helped to turn in the second, I think we’d all have been happy. After a leadoff double by Scooter Gennett, Jean Segura tried to advance the runner with a bunt and Jason Hammel fielded and fired to Rizzo for the out. But seeing that Scooter had scooted a bit too far from third, Rizzo fired across the diamond to nail the runner before he could dive back to the bag.

It was a very good play, maybe even a great play. But it wasn’t the best Rizzo would make on the evening, not by a longshot. With a man on and only one out in the top of the 6th, Ryan Braun popped up wide of first and Rizzo tracked it as the ball drifted closer and closer to foul territory.

Without so much as breaking stride, Rizzo stepped atop the giant roll of Reynolds Wrap along the first base wall and caught his balance for a moment before stepping onto the wall itself with his left foot and reaching out to snag the ball. He even had the presence of mind to fire the ball back into play as he landed in the second row, though the fact that he was out of play rendered the throw moot.

I am at a bit of a loss to accurately describe just how incredible this play was, and I think a big part of that is because Rizzo made it look almost routine. I mean, it was just so smooth, almost as though he had done it before and was aware of exactly what he was doing. The play that immediately comes to mind for me is when Bo Jackson ran up the wall in Baltimore. Very different athletes, very different situations, but the way both men seemed unfazed by what they were doing struck me as similar.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that normal people can’t do that. Heck, normal professional athletes can’t do that. You knew immediately that this was something the likes of which you might never see even after watching a lifetime of games. Hyperbole? Sure. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not true.

A bit of the luster was almost lost when the umpires originally signaled the play a dead ball, but they overturned that and called Braun out upon review. Maybe they had simply thought the play was too good to be true and that it was actually the fan in the Rizzo jersey who had snagged the foul. This play now overtakes Foul Ball Dad for the title of “Best Catch Made from the First Two Rows Next to the Tarp” and might be the play of the year for the Cubs.

Not only was this just an incredible display, but it victimized Ryan Braun and is thus much sweeter as a result. This is also one of those plays that seem to happen for the really good teams and the really great players, the kind you eventually look back on with “remember when” hindsight. But that’s putting the cart just a bit before the horse, so let’s just back off of that thinking for now.

Still, I’ll leave you now with the words of my favorite fictionalized version of Babe Ruth, who said, “Remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered but legends never die.” If that’s true, Anthony Rizzo just took a couple steps toward immortality.

Here’s a GIF of the play again, for good measure.


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