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Brendan Ryan catches A’s infield napping for “infield triple”

Aug 3, 2011, 11:51 AM EDT

Mariners' Ryan laughs with teammates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run against the Blue Jays during their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto Reuters

I’m worried Brendan Ryan‘s remarkable heads-up play from the A’s-Mariners game last night will get lost in the amusing tale of “Fake Ichiro” or the madness of the Brewers-Cardinals game, because it deserves plenty of attention.

Ryan beat out a ground ball to shortstop for an infield single, sneakily took off for second base when he realized no one was covering the bag, and then sprinted to third base when no A’s infielder bothered to cover it either.

One ground ball, three bases, and a whole lot of embarrassment for the A’s.

MLB.com has the video, which doesn’t disappoint:

  1. pestiesti - Aug 3, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    When the play of the game involves weak hitting and poor fielding, you know you’re watching the M’s and the A’s.

    • tashkalucy - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:32 PM

      Hey, the A’s may not knock guys in or play much fundamental baseball, but the offensive guys all have strong OBP stats.

      No wonder these tow teams are fighting one another for last place.

      • JBerardi - Aug 3, 2011 at 3:34 PM

        Uhh, Oakland has a .313 team OBP, third-worst in the league. The league leader in OBP is Boston at .354. Also, the Sox lead the league in run scoring and winning percentage.

        Must be their strong fundamentals.

  2. shaggylocks - Aug 3, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    HOLY HELL DID YOU JUST EMBED AN MLB.COM VIDEO?!?!?!

    Maybe they’ve been allowing this for some time, but that’s definitely news to me.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:07 PM

      That is awesome and with no ad to boot! That is as exciting as the play itself.

  3. proudlycanadian - Aug 3, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    It was fun to watch. I just hope that no unwritten rules were broken.

  4. APBA Guy - Aug 3, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    Good on you, Aaron. Nobody had commented on this in the ATH thread Craig posted earlier. For the record, Sizemore, Sogard, and Jackson are all playing positions that they hadn’t been playing during Spring training. But still, they are major leaguers, and to leave two bases uncovered is, well, A’s baseball under the Lew Wolff regime.

  5. marshmallowsnake - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    A lone bright spot in one heck of a dismal season for the M’s.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:08 PM

      Ackley is pretty bright too. Turn that frown upside-down.

    • b7p19 - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:08 PM

      But a bright spot none-the-less!

    • kingbuccaneer - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:39 PM

      What about Pineda? That kid’s a stud…

      • cmutimmah - Aug 3, 2011 at 3:35 PM

        Yeah, they have a future, and the trades they made were for good young players as well. Although Fister was young, they needed to turn some of that pitching into offense, and they think they have something in Casper Wells and the AA guy Martinez that they got from the Tigers.

        Ackley, Carp, Martinez, Wells, Smoak… they have the makings for a good young core. And Felix and Pineda are on par with the best top two pitchers of any team out there not names “Phillies”. (No, not a Philly fan, just think Halladay and Hamels/Lee are better than any other two pitchers on any team hands down…)

  6. singingfriar - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    That was beautiful. How do you score that?

    • bigleagues - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:22 PM

      Add another to the “I ain’t never seen that before” list – in a MLB game anyway.

    • stepsinsc - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:28 PM

      Single with advancement to 3rd on fielder’s indifference.

      • b7p19 - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:41 PM

        “fielders indifference” is used awfully loosely there isn’t it? Defensive indifference is usually used when the defense ELECTS not make a play. I don’t have any better ideas though.

      • stepsinsc - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:55 PM

        Yeah, I think “indifference” is pretty much just a big catch-all (although I’m not an ump or official scorer). The way the rules are set up, it seems to me that there’s three possible ways it could have been scored: 1) triple; 2) single with advancement to 3rd on indifference; or 3) single with advancement on error(s). I think everyone would agree #1 is ruled out right away. Surprisingly though, #3 is easy to rule out too. An error under the rules does not include a “mental mistake or misjudgment” unless the mental mistake or misjudgment leads to a “physical misplay —such as throwing the ball into the stands or rolling the ball to the pitcher’s mound, mistakenly believing there to be three outs, and thereby allowing a runner or runners to advance.” Rule 10.12(a)(1). There wasn’t a physical misplay analogous to the two examples identified. The 1B just had to hold onto the ball. So we’re left with #2, indifference.

      • bigleagues - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:07 PM

        I initially thought the same thing, but the way I read the rules – Defensive Indifference can only be used in a situation where there is an advancing runner (ex. stolen base attempt) already on base and the Defense elects to not defend that advancement attempt.

      • stepsinsc - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:14 PM

        bigleagues,

        Yeah I noticed that too. But “indifference” is also included in the definition of fielder’s choice. Specifically, that a fielder’s choice includes “advance of a runner made solely because of the defensive team’s indifference.” It goes on to list “undefended steal” as an example of indifference — and clearly is the situation where indifference arises 99.9% of the time — but I think that represents the intent that indifference can arise in situations outside of the undefended steal.

      • bigleagues - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:48 PM

        But the rules about how to credit Stolen Bases dos not apply. Ryan couldn’t have a stolen base attempt until the play is finalized by returning the ball to the Pitcher on the mound.

        Once Ryan touched 1B and did not turn and run into foul territory, the ball remained live and he was simply able to kept advancing because the defense didn’t cover 2B and 3B. That’s bad defense, but there were no Errors or DI. It’s a Triple because:

        (a) The official scorer shall credit a batter with a base hit when:
        (1) the batter reaches first base (or any succeeding base) safely on a fair ball that settles on the ground

      • tommyshih - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:00 PM

        You’re onto something, but attaching the term “indifference” incorrectly. Just because the non-plays to 2B and 3B could loosely be judged as indifference doesn’t mean that’s the correct baseball terminology. Here’s the correct ruling: http://twitter.com/#!/jaysonst/status/98806048105828353

        It’s a single, fielder’s choice, fielder’s choice. Fielder’s choice on both advancements because it was the fielders’ decisions not to cover 2B and 3B.

      • stepsinsc - Aug 3, 2011 at 2:02 PM

        bigleagues,

        Again, the rule you cited just deals with whether a base hit of any kind is awarded. It does not address whether it’s a single or triple. We’re in agreement that he should be awarded a base hit, just a disagreement as to what kind.

        The definition of “fielder’s choice” includes indifference. It lists undefended steals as an example of indifference, but doesn’t state that it’s the only manifestation of it. So, it would appear, it’s a single + advancement on fielder’s choice due to indifference.

      • mgflolox - Aug 3, 2011 at 7:33 PM

        The A’s have been playing as if they’re indifferent to winning all season long.

    • bigleagues - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:45 PM

      10.05 Base Hits
      A base hit is a statistic credited to a batter when such batter reaches base safely, as set forth in this Rule 10.05.
      (a) The official scorer shall credit a batter with a base hit when:
      (1) the batter reaches first base (or any succeeding base) safely on a fair ball that settles on the ground, that touches a fence before being touched by a fielder or that clears a fence;

      I was thinking there may be some leeway for calling it a Single with Defensive Indifference accounting for Ryan reaching 3B, but there really isn’t. Basically once he arrived at 1B safely, the ball is still live and any subsequent base he reaches safely before the next pitch is considered all part of the the Ryan’s hit play.
      There were no Errors – so when Ryan reached 3B safely – he must be awarded a Triple.

      This play, to me, is worse than a two base throwing error. At least there is an attempt to make a play involved. This was an entire Infield asleep at the wheel.

      • stepsinsc - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:11 PM

        Actually, there is a healthy chunk of leeway. 10.05 just deals with whether it was a base hit or not; not what kind of hit it was.

        10.06 addresses the value of the hit, and the comments to it show some of the leeway built in, for example where a batter advances to 2nd on the throw, they are only awarded a single.

        The rules also define “fielder’s choice” to include advancement due to indifference. Although the rule is clearly focused on the undefended steal, it summarizes “indifference” as uncontested advancement in the abscence of a “legitimate strategic motive.” 10.07(g) comment. That seems to fit the bill to me.

    • clydeserra - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:29 PM

      The radio guys last night said it was scored single, fielders choice.

      Regardless it was pretty funny/horrifying depending on your rooting interest.

  7. Old Gator - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    That was even more fun to watch than Tucker’s two-run boehner in the Feesh-Mutts game last night.

  8. SmackSaw - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    I freakin’ love Brendan Ryan. Dudes a throwback. Oh, and I’m not gay, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    • Phillies Homer - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:35 PM

      He’s scrappy

    • JBerardi - Aug 3, 2011 at 3:38 PM

      “Oh, and I’m not gay, not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

      It’s true. Some people just aren’t gay, and it’s time society accepted that.

  9. sknut - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    That was quite the play and heads up for him not to stop since usually the ump will call time once the ball gets to first.

  10. hebrahhammer - Aug 3, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    That’s the kind of play you get from a hard worker who hustles. You’d never see B.J. Upton do that.

  11. FC - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    Good thing the catcher was covering Home Plate or it would have been an infield homer.

  12. 161river - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    Always great to watch the A’s. Money ball in action.

  13. msu2msu2 - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    Wow now I know why managers have gray hair..

  14. bigleagues - Aug 3, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    BTW, how long before we hear Yankees an Mets fans clamoring for Brendan Ryan?

    MIKE FROM MAHOPAC: Hey Jodie I have trade proposal for you.

    JODIE MAC: OK, shoot.

    MFM: Justin Turner, Lucas Duda and Matt Harvey for Brendan Ryan.

    JM: Is that it?

    MFM: Yeah, that’s it! I just think we need to do what it takes to get guys like Ryan. He’s a hustler.

    JM: He’s also a keyboardist for The Bogmen.

    MFM: Who?

    JM: Great band from NYC. Anyway, if I’m the Mariner’s GM I’d take that deal yesterday. But with all due respect, that has got to be one of the most asinine trade proposals I’ve ever heard, if only because you just throw Harvey in as a sweetener.

    MFM: (yelling to be heard over the host) WELL I JUST THINK WE NEED MORE SCRAPPY PLAYERS . . .

    JM: SIR – LOWer your voice please.

    MFM: WE need more scrappy, hustling, spark plugs like Ryan on this roster. We don’t have anyone like him.

    JM: Sir . . .

    MFM: All I’m saying is we need more Brendan Ryan’s – not less.

    JM: Sir – are we talking about the same player? I mean, that was a great play. But this scrappy player that you want to trade young talent for is essentially a light hitting utility player.

    MFM: Oh, I don’t care about the numbers. I care about desire to win. That’s what Ryan is all about.

    JM: This season, Ryan is batting .259 with a .652 OPS. His career batting average is also .259 and his career OPS is .656 . . . if it was all about desire to win, my daughters softball team would have been undefeated – they went winless.

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