“Gregory Polanco pops out to shortstop Addison Russell,” read the description of the play on Gameday. But to see the play unfold live is to understand the inadequacy of words.
Justin Grimm had just walked in a run with and the bases were loaded for Polanco, who swung at the first pitch he saw. The lefty hitter sliced the fastball into shallow left field, down the line and over toward the bullpen. It had trouble written all over it, as neither Matt Szczur nor Kris Bryant had a chance to make a play. The ball was going to drop between them for what should have been a sure hit.
At least two runs were going to score and the game would be…wait, is that Addison Russell? Sprinting from short, Russell hustled to split the gap between his teammates, coming from out of the frame and eventually diving to his knees to snag the ball.
Just like the Gameday description, my words do not do this play justice. Nor does the Vine. Statcast says Russell respected 106.8 feet and had a route efficiency of 98.5% — I can’t imagine what 100% is; dude looked like a coked-up crow the way he flew straight to straight to the ball with unnatural speed — as he tracked down the blooper, but I fear even those impressive numbers fall woefully short of capturing the pure OMG-ness of the effort. You could have told me it was 200 feet and that he was running 35 mph and I’d have believed you.
Hold on, does this count as falling flat on his face? Did it shake some people out of their fantasyland regarding this front office and their ridiculous “plan?” Sorry if that’s a little esoteric for some of you, but the ones who get it are probably smiling.
It’s times like these that I think back to July 4, 2014 and all the folks who were made about the trade that went down. Jeff Samardzija will be coming back soon with the Giants and I’m going to go out on a limb and say there’s no one left who’d rather seen him in a Cubs uni while Addison Russell does this stuff in Oakland.