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Cubs Score on Strangest Baseball Play in a Long Time

Javier Baez, the 'magician,' earns his nickname with some nifty base-running
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2021 9:48 AM CDT

(Newser) – It was a routine ground ball, and yet the Thursday hit resulted in headlines calling it "one of MLB's most memorable gaffes" (Washington Post) and "the dumbest baseball play of the season" (Yahoo Sports), and even one wondering whether it was "the worst play in baseball history" (Hot Air). You can watch it for yourself here. Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs—whose nickname is "El Mago," or "the magician"—hits a ground ball to Pittsburgh third baseman Erik Gonzalez, whose throw to first pulls first baseman Will Craig off the bag. Craig decides he'll tag out Baez and begins chasing him back toward home—although he could have more easily just went back and touched the bag.

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Meanwhile, another Cubs runner, Willson Contreras, who began the play on second base, is wheeling around the base path toward home. Craig (while still chasing Baez) throws to catcher Michael Perez to get Contreras out, but the throw is too late, at which point Baez races safely to first, then gets to second on an overthrow by Perez. At Yahoo, Chris Cwik points out the "absolute worst part of the play" from Pittsburgh's perspective: There were two outs, meaning Craig could have ended the inning had he simply trotted back to first to touch the bag. For the record, the Cubs won the game, 5-3. But what sticks out is "40 seconds of madness that will likely follow Baez and Craig no matter where their careers take them," writes Will Graves of the AP.
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