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Play of the Day: an apparently uncatchable infield popup in New York

Apr 26, 2011, 11:33 AM EDT

Jeter pop.bmp

Yankees fans have likely seen this already and gnashed their teeth over it in appropriate measure. Or maybe in disproportionate measure, seeing as though the one run it led to didn’t matter given that the Yankees were shutout. Still, it was a monumentally poor effort for all involved.

Ninth inning, nobody out, Alexi Ramirez at bat. He pops up between the mound and short, and … no one gets it.

It’s been a long time since I’ve played any kind of baseball, but my fuzzy memory tells me that, even though it was closer to Rafael Soriano, that’s Jeter’s ball, because pitchers are taught not to go back over the mound in an effort to field baseballs because therein lie broken ankles and stuff.  Assuming that’s the right call, the bad is on Jeter for snoozing when the ball left the bat and not recovering in time.

But hey, at least everything else is going well for him this month.

  1. yankeesfanlen - Apr 26, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    Have to goad me, and I’ve restrained myself through ATH and everything?
    That’s it:
    Beep-beep and THE FAT TOAD should rent a ’66 Thunderbird!

  2. BC - Apr 26, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    That was either Cano or Jeter’s ball. Soriano did the right thing – get the heck out of the way, and if need be, go cover a base.

  3. droogleeddie - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    I believe Jeter was on the outfield grass for that… he probably still should have had it, but I think it looked like an easier play than it actually was…

    • drunkenhooliganism - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:05 PM

      Jeter didn’t make it look like an easy play. He made it look impossible.

  4. dcg13 - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    Would’ve liked to see A-Rod’s face Jeter’s pitiful effort, especially in light of this:

  5. bobulated - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    But Jeter is gold glover with great baseball instincts so obviously this wasn’t his fault.

    • proudlycanadian - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:18 PM

      Of course not. Everybody knows that Jeter does not have the range to go get it. I suspect that he blamed Arod for making him look bad.

  6. cur68 - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    I think that was the most perfectly placed in field pop up I’ve seen for 3 or 4 seasons. IMO only Sam Fuld gets to that ball and he’s horizontal when he does and then he still maybe drops it (trips on his cape, you see). The real issue for me was the look Jeets gave Soriano. I thought that looked kind of tense right there. At the least he should have said something encouraging to his pitcher.

  7. saints97 - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    I think Cashman needs to have another talk with Jeter about his defense.

  8. Jonny 5 - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    I guess for once I have to stick up for the melon head. I think Soriano should have had it since it pretty much bounced off the bottom of the mound. Last week Roy H. snagged one past the 3rd base line because he didn’t think the other guys would make it. Jeter was so obviously not going to make it to the ball on time. Soriano pointed up and put his hand on his hip to watch it fall for a hit, at least Jeter said “aww crap” and went for it.

    • bobulated - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:54 PM

      A pop-up on the infield is NEVER the pitcher’s ball. Soriano did the right thing by getting out of the way. That is Jeter’s or A-Rod’s ball all the way.

      • saints97 - Apr 26, 2011 at 2:03 PM

        You’ve got to love it when people speak in absolutes. There are, in fact, plenty of times when there are pop ups that only the pitcher can get. In those cases, it is the pitcher’s ball.

        Reasonable minds may disagree on this particular one, but I am not totally sure that Jeter should have gotten to that ball.

        Sometimes it’s best to just hit ’em where they ain’t.

      • Jonny 5 - Apr 26, 2011 at 2:15 PM

        “A pop-up on the infield is NEVER the pitcher’s ball. Soriano did the right thing by getting out of the way. That is Jeter’s or A-Rod’s ball all the way.”

        Yes, ALWAYS stand there like a dumbass when you’re the only guy who can catch the ball because pitchers should “NEVER” field popups even if they land on the mound. That’s some of the dumbest crap I’ve heard. Honestly.

        And I’m not blaming Soriano it was obviously bad communication all around, but it landed 4 feet from where he was standing for crying out loud.

      • yankeesfanlen - Apr 26, 2011 at 2:16 PM

        Leave ARod alone! Beep-beep is more proficient at batting into SS than catching something in that area.

      • bobulated - Apr 26, 2011 at 7:18 PM

        All you guys saying “never talk in absolutes” must have never have played at a level above t-ball where everyone on the team gets to play the field at once. Speaking as a HS/college 3B believe me when I say that no manager ever wants a pitcher trying to catch a pop-up that gets over 10 ft in the air and if you as an infielder let the pitcher do it, expect much unpleasantness once you get back to the dugout.
        Jeter is the captain and he should be directing traffic on that play if not calling it for himself.

      • saints97 - Apr 26, 2011 at 9:45 PM

        So first you say “never”, and now you want to qualify it as any pop up over 10 feet? Which is it? That’s why you shouldn’t speak in absolutes.

        If the pitcher is the only one who can play the ball, then it has to be him. If another fielder can get it, then of course you want the other fielder to get it.

        So do you really think that there is NEVER a time when only the pitcher can make a play?

      • bobulated - Apr 27, 2011 at 12:31 PM

        And if it’s not over 10-15 ft high it’s probably not a pop-up, is it?

    • nps6724 - Apr 27, 2011 at 1:00 AM

      Considering Jeter ended up only a foot or so from the ball (and could’ve caught it had he dove), obviously the pitcher wasn’t the only one who could’ve made the play.

      There’s really no spot on the infield grass where the pitcher is the only player who can make a play on a standard popup.

  9. mattraw - Apr 26, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    Don’t worry — Michael Kay went out of his way to be damn sure everyone knew that in NO WAY was that Jeter’s fault.

  10. kinggeorge96 - Apr 26, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    Pitchers are taught to point and run the other way… they only pitcher I’ve ever seen try to get at anything around him all the time is Mo. He’s made a couple of nice plays too…

    If Jeter had actually run all the way to the ball, he may have made the catch or at least put some leather on the ball. He half-assed it to the grass and then just stared at Soriano as it dropped. He was definitely no Charlie Hustle on that play.

  11. banksatdixie - Apr 26, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    How do we know Jeter wasn’t running on it the whole way? Does someone have a camera fixed on him? Soriano needs to get to that ball. It was hit in no-man’s land. Be an athlete. Our pitching coach in college told pitchers to run the other way, but when you’re the only one who can make the play then make it. Be an athlete one time.

  12. nps6724 - Apr 26, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    Anyone blaming Soriano obviously doesn’t watch much baseball. Pitchers are taught not to go after popups around the mound because moving up and down a pile of dirt while looking straight up can lead to serious injury. It’s much easier for an everyday player to get the ball because they don’t have to deal with the mound.

    • banksatdixie - Apr 26, 2011 at 4:22 PM

      Anyone saying Soriano shouldn’t have gone after the ball hasn’t PLAYED much baseball. No doubt the ball should have been caught by one of the infielders, however when it becomes evident that this isn’t going to happen, the pitcher needs to make the play. You don’t give away outs. My three years of minor league experience as a pitcher says you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • nps6724 - Apr 26, 2011 at 5:11 PM

        Yet MAJOR-LEAGUE pitchers rarely go after popups. They almost always point up and direct traffic. So their years of MAJOR-LEAGUE experience says you’re wrong.

  13. banksatdixie - Apr 27, 2011 at 8:33 AM

    You sir, are absolutely correct. ONLY in the event that someone else is going to be able to get to the ball. It was obvious when the ball was hit that no one was going to be able to get to it other than Soriano. If he can’t navigate the back of the mound then there is a good chance he isn’t coordinated enough to be playing the game in the first place.

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