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The deke that shouldn’t have worked

Oct 9, 2012, 8:22 AM EDT

Division Series - New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles - Game Two Getty Images

A random observation from last night’s Yankees-O’s game.

In the third inning, Adam Jones singled. It should have scored J.J. Hardy, but Alex Rodriguez deked him into thinking he had the ball and was going to tag him. Hardy stopped at third when he could have scored without a throw. While the Orioles prevailed, in a low-scoring game like last night’s, it could have been a big deal.

Thing about it, though? It in no way should have worked. Watch the play:

Orioles third base coach DeMarlo Hale is frantically waving Hardy around because he knows where the ball is. Hardy, rather than watch and follow his base coach’s direction, got suckered by A-Rod.

John Smoltz — who earlier in the game forgot that the infield fly rule existed — gave A-Rod kudos for the deke. I noticed a lot of people on Twitter did too. And you know that if Jeter had made that move, minstrels would already be roaming the countryside, singing ballads about the play and further burnishing His legend.

But that play was all on Hardy’s lack of focus. It never shoulda worked.

  1. Francisco (FC) - Oct 9, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    It’s on J.J. he needs to watch his 3rd Base Coach not A-Rod and his miming act.

    • 18thstreet - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:31 AM

      I’ve started to notice how often runners just aren’t looking at the third base coach. Happens on routine plays when the coach and runner agree, but it happens all the time.

  2. realgone2 - Oct 9, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    They won.

    • Jeremy Fox - Oct 9, 2012 at 9:13 AM

      …despite Hardy’s mistake.

    • 1baseballfan - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:09 AM

      Yah, they won. I’m sure Hardy’s gaff made the win more likely.

  3. darthicarus - Oct 9, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    Wow, the Jeter mocking seems to be reaching epic proportions this morning. I appreciate the capitalization of His when referring to the Almighty SS. Thank you.

    • Brian Donohue - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:08 AM

      Breaking news: Jeter seen in NDE, makes cover of Newsweek.

  4. gugurich - Oct 9, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    Not only should A-Rod’s deke not have worked, but Cal and Smoltz both embarrassed themselves by partially shifting the blame onto Hale by saying he gave a late signal. The baserunner outright ignores the third base coach who was giving the right signal with all the gusto he could muster and they blame him? It wouldn’t have mattered anyway if he gave a late signal or not since Hardy didn’t even look at him until after he had stopped.

    • bigleagues - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:01 PM

      I’ll go a step further . . . A-Rod’s deke played NO factor in Hardy holding up at 3B.

      Go back and watch the video again.

      Hardy looks back at Jeter, as Jeter is arriving at the ball. Hardy (obviously unaware of Jeter’s latter career Range Factor) assumes Jeter makes the play on the ball, Hardy makes up his mind to stop at 3B (without even looking at Hale) and instinctively raises his right shoulder in anticipation of a throw to A-Rod.

      IF Hardy had looked up at A-Rod he couldn’t have missed Hale, behind Rodriquez, fervently waving him around. Hardy didn’t.

      A-Rod’s glove didn’t even go up to deke a catch until Hardy’s was already looking down at the 3B bag.

      Why everyone believes A-Rod somehow deked Hardy on this is beyond me. It was far worse than that. Hardy just plain F’ed up.

  5. papalurchdxb - Oct 9, 2012 at 8:48 AM

    wow, JJ flinched like a girl on that one – play to the whistle/coaches kids.

    • rockthered1286 - Oct 9, 2012 at 9:04 AM

      but…they still won. And if you want flinch like a little girl, pay attention to Nunez everytime he goes to the plate and a ball is on the inside portion. He dives back, kicks his legs out and acts like a fool. Half the time the ball is nowhere close to him and he still dives like a soccer playing drama queen.

      • papalurchdxb - Oct 9, 2012 at 9:08 AM

        I’m not comparing him to anyone else or any other play – and whether they still won or not is an irrelevant defence. JJ screwed up on the play and was lucky the team didn’t suffer as a result.

      • stex52 - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:16 AM

        News flash. It’s not insulting a team to say one of their players made a dumb play.

  6. mrwillie - Oct 9, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    It was horrible base running either way, but I am guessing it was more he thought Jeter got a glove on it more than anything A-Rod did.

    If nothing else the crowd went nuts when he was 20 ft away from the bag….that alone should have been clue to him to not slow down.

    • bravojawja - Oct 9, 2012 at 9:36 AM

      I imagine Hardy just assumed Jeter used his excellent range to get his Gold Glove on the ball, leaped into the air (TM), and shot a bullet to third to nail him.

      • anvil35 - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:01 PM

        Hey Bravo

        Are you kidding me with that statement. ? Go look up defensive statisitics anywhere. Over the course of the last twenty years, Jeter is BELOW AVERAGE in defensive statistics and range. And that is based on numbers, not my opinion!!! As lovely and arousing for Yankee fans when he does his “trademark” catch and jump, it is rather unnecessary for anyone but him as most other shortstops would have gotten in front of the ball and made a routine play.

      • hopsbarley - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:42 PM


        It is called sarcasm.

        Relax man.

    • Alex K - Oct 9, 2012 at 9:36 AM

      Paraphrasing something I saw on Twitter last night…..

      Since Hardy is a MLB SS he assumed a MLB SS makes that play.

      • protectthishouse54 - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:02 AM

        You can have all the physical talent in the world, but it won’t stop you from making mental mistakes that hurt your team. Jeter may not have the physical tools anymore, but he would never make a mental mistake like that.

      • 1baseballfan - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:15 AM

        How about Jeter’s mistake of running on the ball A-Rod hit behind him in the first?

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:23 AM

        1baseballfan: Jeter has to commit one way or another on that play or he will be dead in the water. Either way, does Jeter getting doubled off somehow made Hardy’s baserunning good on his play?

      • stex52 - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:57 AM

        Not really. I think he was responding directly to the comment that Jeter would never make a mental mistake.

  7. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:21 AM


  8. beearl - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Best thing about that play is when TBS went to Buck in the dugout in the next inning or so. Someone asked him for a good explanation on what happened on that play and he replied with something like “I don’t know…what do you got?”

  9. watermelon1 - Oct 9, 2012 at 11:53 AM


    Hardy f-ed up, yes. But what in the world does Alex Rodriguez have to do with it? Why are so many people so anxious to bring him up?

    Alex is always flailing around the baseball diamond like a little girl.
    1. Flailing his arms trying to swat at fielders’ gloves when they are trying to tag him.
    2. Trying to scare a fielder by shouting at them as he’s running the basepaths.
    3. Skipping across the pitcher’s mound on his way back to first base.

    Honestly… does anyone really think Hardy was even looking at Rodriguez? He just stopped because he thought Jeter actually stopped the ball, though not cleanly enough to get the guy out at first. Unfortunately, for whatever reason… Hardy was too lazy to watch through the entire play. This was hardly the only mental error by the Orioles last night… and I have to imagine with a day off, and hopefully no more rain delays… they’ll be sharper going forward.

    One thing I think everyone can agree on is… playoff baseball in that stadium is awesome. Camden Yards, oh how we’ve missed you!

    • 4cornersfan - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:46 PM

      Apparently he was looking at ARod because he cringed as if he expected the ball to be thrown to third. For all you ARod haters, another example of how he does the extra things to help the team.

  10. jrocknstuff - Oct 9, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    If you want to teach kids the right way to play the game, never show them a professional ballgame. Guys don’t hustle to first, they NEVER pick up the coach going first to third, and then this crap last night. You’re taught at the age of 5 to pick up your coach rounding 2nd and look for the sign to slide, stop or keep going. Or on occasion just make the turn. That play is exactly what you want to show kids to not do.

  11. deathmonkey41 - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Leave A-Rod’s deke alone!!!

  12. schlom - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Is anyone else shocked about Jeter’s almost unbelievable lack of range? That ball was only hit a few steps to his right and he couldn’t even get a glove on it. I can’t imagine there is another SS in MLB that wouldn’t have at least knocked the ball down – I’m sure there are even some 3B that could have made that play. The whole Yankee infield defense looks terrible – Teixeira looked real shaky last night, Cano couldn’t get to a ball that looked playable that knocked in the third run, Jeter looked horrific, and I doubt A-Rod is a plus fielder now.

  13. maximus929 - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    ARod is the most classless player in baseball. Fitting that he plays for an organization thoroughly devoid of class.

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