After a lengthy hiatus I am delighted to say that GOTW is back if probably not better than ever.
The two-week spell without a post means we have a ton of GIF content to bring you which calls for this bumper ten GIF edition – that’s right TEN!
From walk-offs to no-hitters to helmet-throws to bat-flips, this past fortnight has provided us with a heap of thrills and spills. Here are the best of lot:
10. Edinson Volquez throws a no-hitter
Journeyman is perhaps a harsh term for Volquez, who has been a quality starter for almost a decade and has a World Series start to his name but his accomplishment last week is a testament to the fact that any one start has a chance to throw up a no-hitter.
Maybe the coolest part of Volquez’s 10 strikeout, two walk performance was the fact that he became the first guy since Sandy Koufax in 1965 to finish a no-hitter by striking out the side in the 9th.
9. Paul Goldschmidt fields a fowl ball
Birds have quite frequently interfered with play over the years, with the most notable occurrence Randy Johnson‘s immortalised evisceration of an unassuming bird with a high-octane pitch.
But I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a bird fielded during play which very nearly is the case here. Goldschmidt rather admirably manages to scoop the ball with minimal harm done to the startled creature.
In the end, the D-Backs were unable to turn the double play, perhaps due to the inadvertent interference of our winged friend, but they will take solace in knowing that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Eesh, I’m sorry.
8. Joe Kelly touches 104
John has long vouched for Joe Kelly as the ace of his bespectacled ball-players team – indeed one of the very first posts on this humble site was a prediction that he would come good in 2016.
Kelly has never really made the transition from ‘meh’ starter to great reliever but he has lit up radar guns for some time with a clean, fluid action that looks far too relaxed to produce 100mph cheese.
On this occasion, the superhuman Judge fouls it off at 104, this season’s fastest pitch by quite some distance and a promising sign for Red Sox (or glasses-wearing players) fans.
7. Jon Lester picks someone off
I would truly love to know what this GIF looks like to someone with no prior knowledge of Lester’s struggles holding runners on base.
To me, the coolest part of this GIF is the standing ovation Lester receives. Baseball is full of fun, quirky moments and Jon Lester defying the odds to throw a perfect pick-off is one of those.
6. Albert Pujols hits number 600
Albert Pujols has been far from his best for well over four seasons now, and the memories of hobbled, ineffective Pujols are at risk of ruining our memories of offensive powerhouse Pujols.
Little moments like this however, serve as important reminders. From 2001 to 2010, his worst triple-slash marks were .312/.394/.561. That wasn’t even one individual season, I had to cherry-pick them over the course of nine seasons.
How many guys put up that mark last year? One. David Ortiz. And those are Pujols’ weakest numbers over the course of a near-decade. It’s easy to forget now, but he really was on a different planet.
5. Aaron Judge hits one to the moon
This time last year, Aaron Judge was hitting .246/.321/.401 in Triple-A. So far in 2017 he has been the runaway MVP, producing awe-inspiring home runs with a regularity that defies belief.
This one, perhaps, is the best of the lot. Almost clearing the left field bleachers at Yankee Stadium and estimated at 495 feet it was a gargantuan blast.
His season still feels unsustainable but I’ve given up trying to explain it and started just enjoying the ride.
Baseball players getting angry is fun and we all love a good clip of a bat being broken over a leg or words being exchanged after a hit-by-pitch but baseball players having fun is fun too.
Joey Votto and Carlos Martinez are two of the best in the game right now. On this occasion, Martinez comes out on top and a disappointed Votto gives him a hat-tip smile which Martinez returns. Oooh, friends…
3. The Twins turn a triple play
Triple-plays are cool. 5-4-3 triple plays are really cool. They’re rare, not just because they require a lot of specific circumstances but because they require infielders to pull off difficult skills very quickly.
This is executed about as easily as a round-the-horn triple play can be by the Twins, and it provokes flashbacks (at least for me) to this unbelievable moment of baseball history:
2. Corey Dickerson chips one over the infield for two
Death bowling specialist Nick Martinez delivers an almost-perfect yorker, but Corey Dickerson uses his feet well to dig it out and over the infield for two.
We see guys swing at pitches in the dirt all the time, but we very rarely see them hit the ball on a bounce for a double down the left field line.
1. Scooter Gennett has a day
Possibly the most unlikely single-game performance in Major League history saw Scooter Gennett – he of 1771 career plate appearances and 18 career home runs – hit four blasts in one game.
There’s not much left to be said about this that hasn’t already been said, but it was an astonishingly cool moment for Gennett and for Reds fans.
Hat tip also to the usually terrible Marty Brennaman who managed to nail the calls on this occasion.