Talking Baseball

Your weekday baseball fix. Some days.

Posted by Dave on Monday, April 19, 2004

The Most Unlikely of Occurrences?

Every now and again, I see somemthing that really flabbergasts in a box score. It won't necessarily surprise me because of its greatness - I'll usually be confounded by its oddness. I'm not particularly astounded when McGrady does this because he's a very capable athlete. It's amazing that he scored 62 points, but it didn't take some extraordinary luck for him to accomplish this feat. I'm absolutely dumbfounded when Calvin Booth does this, however. Not only does he block ten shots - a truly remarkable feat - he does it in sixteen minutes! Not only does this take a particular amount of athletic prowess, but it takes a particular amount of luck. After awhile, it would seem the Cavs would be conditioned not to have big Calvin swat away their mortal "shots." These performances, like the one by Calvin Booth, really intrigue me.

Friday, the Dodgers defeated the Giants 3-2, and one of those freak feats caught my eye. Aaron Gleeman wrote at length about Bonds' at-bat vs. Eric Gagne - apparently it was quite a sight to see - but didn't cause my bewilderment. Odalis Perez pitching effectively away from Chavez Ravine?! Improbable, but not impossible. Look around, see if you can find it. Give up?

Milton Bradley did one of the most incredibly unique things I have ever seen. Besides a walk, in the three unproductive at-bats he had, he produced three RBIs. Surely he must have had a sac-fly, or a squeeze-bunt - no, I said he had three unproductive at-bats! Bradley finished the day 0-3 with 3 RBIs - all on groundouts! This is truly remarkable. I would chance that this has never happened before in major league baseball history (where's my contact at Elias Sports Bureau when I need it). Why is this so improbable? Let's count the ways:

1. Bradley came to the plate with a man on third three times. This is even more of a feat considering the atrocious Dodger offense rarely sees anyone on third.

2. When Bradley came to the plate, there had to be less than 2 outs.

3. Bradley needed to hit run-scoring groundouts. Not groundouts that were smashed, the kind that the infielders can't come home on. Not only that, he couldn't hit sac-flies, or even get any hits to score those runs.

4. The pitcher (Jason Schmidt), needed to be just effective enough to allow runners to third, while still creating the groundouts necessary to stop the rallies.

5. That runner on third each of the three times, Dave Roberts, is two spots in front of Bradley. To get to third, obviously, Roberts needs to get hit over, right? Wrong. Izturis had one hit in four PAs. That explains one of the three times. Another time, Izturis sacrificed and Roberts stole third - that's two. I had trouble explaining the last occurrence - that is, until I read the game log. What happened on that third time? Well, apparently, with Roberts on first, Izturis sacrificed to the catcher - and Roberts went to third! It doesn't get any weirder than that, folks.

You never know what you'll unearth in a Major League box-score. You could just find something more uncommon than hitting for the cycle or pitching a perfect game - you could find a Milton Miracle. An 0-3 with 3 RBIs.

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