So far this season, the Mets have lost a number of games in bizarre and improbable ways. From failing to touch third base at Dodger Stadium to dropping a potential game-ending pop-up at the new Yankee Stadium, Mets fans everywhere have been forced to revise their “I’ve never seen that before” lists. After Sunday’s stunning game-ending unassisted triple play, I’ve been thinking about new ways the Mets can lose ballgames. There is one thing worse than ending a game on a triple play. They could actually hit into a “quadruple play” to end a game. If my knowledge of the baseball rule book is correct (and please correct me if I’m wrong), here’s how it would work.
Say the Mets load the bases against the Phillies in the bottom of the ninth inning. For argument’s sake, let’s put Luis Castillo on third, Daniel Murphy on second and Jeff Francoeur on first. (I feel bad for the guy. There’s no way I was going to make him the hitter in this scenario.) Let’s also say they’re losing 6-5, with Gary Sheffield batting and waiting on a no-out, 3-2 pitch from Brad Lidge. Sheffield lines a ball to the Cryin’ Hawaiian in center field, who takes his foot out of his mouth just in time to make a highlight-reel, over-the-shoulder catch before tumbling to the ground. The umpires haven’t made an out call yet because Victorino is seeing hula girls circling his head due to the impact of his diminutive body against the center field turf. As a result, the baserunners are still running the bases. Once the umpires make the out call, Raul Ibañez takes the ball out of Victorino’s glove (leaving his customary tissue in the ball’s place) and throws to Victorino’s fellow member of the Lollipop Guild, Jimmy Rollins, who tags Murphy trying to get back to second and then tags Francoeur.
This looks like a triple play with the game ending once Francoeur is tagged out. However, Castillo scored from third base long before the second and third outs were made. Once Rollins tagged Murphy, the force was removed on Castillo. Therefore, his run would count since it scored before the third out was made. Of course, in between bites of a chocolate bar, Charlie Manuel notices that Castillo also left third base early. Therefore, he instructs the team to go back onto the field for an appeal play at third. When Pedro Feliz steps on third, the third base umpire calls Castillo out for leaving the base too early. This is the “fourth out” of the inning and prevents the Mets from tying the game. Had the “fourth out” not been made, Castillo would have scored a legal run and the game would have gone into extra innings with score tied 6-6.
I expect this bizarre play to occur at some point in September, if not earlier. If it does, please do not ask me for my thoughts on lottery numbers. That information is on a need-to-know basis and you don’t need to know.
Just for fun, I’d like to ask the readers for their opinions on unusual ways to lose ballgames. Is there anything you can think of that could rival Sunday’s ending? Not including this season’s odd endings, what’s the most bizarre way you’ve ever seen the Mets lose a game?