words // Brennan Hiro Williams
Baseball is a tricky game, with potential folly around every corner during a 162 game season. Statistically, even the best players fail over half the time. Some fails, however, are more epic than others. To that, we can only embrace the moment and enjoy the entertainment.
Here are the Not Top 10 Plays for 2011:
10. Ryan Raburn Turns a Catch Into a Home Run
Ryan Raburn, the Detroit Tigers do-it-all utility player, might not win the Gold Glove, but he did look like he was wearing a metal outfielders mit on a day game against the Mariners. Backpedaling in his Nike Air Huarache 2K4 Lows on a Miguel Olivo fly ball, Raburn reached up with his glove only to knock the ball over the fence for a home run.
9. Justin Verlander’s Moment of Madness
Justin Verlander was arguably the most dominant player in baseball during 2011. With his 2.40 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 250 strikeouts, the Detroit Tigers ace was seemingly in the zone all season long, except for one brief moment in Oakland. Pitching against the A’s, Verlander entered the stretch with a man on first base. Caught awkwardly between a pickoff attempt and a possible balk call, Verlander instead shuffled his Reebok cleats and threw to the plate, perplexing all parties involved.
8. José Constanza and the Foul Taste
Heading into the season, little was known outside of organizational circles about José Constanza, a journeyman contributor to the Atlanta Braves in 2011. Wearing the Nike Air Huarache LWP90, Constanza’s strong wheels and the ability to hit for average were pleasant surprises for Atlanta fans; a certain quirk, though, caught briefly on camera during a game against the New York Mets, really caught our attention. While Mark Fidrych talked to baseballs and Ted Williams smelled burning seams on his bat, Constanza took things to another level. Con-stan-za.
7. Hunter Pence Brings Donuts to Work
While some fans will poke fun at the originator of the “Let’s Go Eat” motto, I believe that the sheer awkwardness of Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence is the source of his baseball skills. Power, speed, timing and arm strength are all seemingly derived from the one glove wonder’s innate sense of goofy. Walking to bat with his usual aplomb, Pence began digging his Reebok Zig cleats into the box and taking practice swings, unaware that he brought a rather obvious on-deck circle tool with him.
6. Brian Wilson Thrashes the Dugout
Brian Wilson is many things to many people, but boring is not one of them. The mercurial Giants closer encountered a rare blown save against the Detroit Tigers, and was subsequently given the hook by Manager Bruce Bochy. Wilson marched back to the dugout in his Nike Air Max Diamond Elite Fly cleats and proceeded to take out his frustrations, using backup catcher Chris Stewart’s bat supply to punish every sport drink cooler in sight.
5. Adrian Beltre’s Solo Shot Leads to a Cameraman’s Downfall
The number five entry in the Not Top 10 Plays countdown comes courtesy of both Adrian Beltre and the TBS broadcast crew, coming together for one especially memorable moment during the American League Divisional Playoffs. Following Adrian Beltre’s second inning solo home run, a TBS cameraman attempted to track the Texas Rangers slugger during his home run trot. The hero shot ended disastrously, as the cameraman tripped and tumbled to the ground, bouncing the camera alongside Beltre’s Nike Air Max Diamond Elite cleats.
4. Ryan Braun Bites the Dust
Similar to clip number five, the number four entry is enhanced by the involvement of multiple actors. After Ryan Braun’s deep drive was misplayed by the entire Cardinals outfield, the speedy Milwaukee Brewer’s star attempted to complete an inside-the-park home run in his Nike Swingman Remix cleats. Braun rumbled, stumbled, and bumbled around third base before taking an enormous spill halfway down the line, and was eventually tagged out by David Freese. To top things off, a former NBA legend makes a cameo appearance, in what turned out to be one of the most havoc-filled moments of the season.
3-1. Shane Victorino Has a Rough Year
The title of this entry only reflects half of the story, as Shane Victorino’s 2011 campaign was arguably the finest of his career. In only 132 regular season games, Victorino registered 95 runs and 61 RBIs from the leadoff spot to go along with plus defense. Unfortunately for Shane, this did not prevent him from occupying the top three spots in the countdown.
One of the Flyin Hawaiian’s most memorable moments came during the 2011 Postseason, attempting to corral a Lance Berkman double. Memories of Garo Yepremian ensued.
Victorino’s second Not Top 10 Plays entry came during an interleague game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Attempting to cut down a tagging Jose Bautista at the plate, Victorino set up his catch perfectly with solid forward momentum. The turf monster had other plans, as a split second later the Phillies center fielder was face first on the ground.
The number one entry on the 2011 Not Top 10 Plays list comes with a little help from Florida backup catcher Brett Hayes. After taking a pitch, Shane calmly shakes out his Nike Air Max Diamond Elite Player Edition cleats before Brett Hayes decides to (unintentionally) offer his opinion on double ear flap helmets.
photos via Y! Sports