In the week that saw Derek Jeter return to Yankee Stadium, Major League Baseball turn pink for mother’s day and the world beating Colorado Rockies maintain – nay, extend – their NL West lead, we were spoilt for choice on the GIF front.
Here are the top five, for your visual enjoyment.
5. Cody Bellinger tees off
Cody Bellinger is the fun pic.twitter.com/g6l8E6njNx
— Ryan Parker (@RA_Parker) May 13, 2017
Yes, if you’ve been away from planet earth for a couple of weeks you may have missed the fact that Dodgers “non-prospect” Cody Bellinger is doing some rather inhumane things to baseballs out in California.
His seven home runs lead the team despite the fact he has only played 19 games, and with a mesmerising upper cut swing like that it’s not too hard to understand why.
4. Craig Kimbrel did something pretty rare
Although the GIF above doesn’t make it clear, that is Craig Kimbrel finishing off an immaculate inning – baseball terminology for striking out the side on nine pitches – as he picks up the save against the Brewers.
It may not sound that hard to do – but it is in fact pretty rare. An immaculate inning has only been achieved 78 times in Major League history as far as we are aware. To put that figure into perspective, there have been 295 no hitters and 307 cycles in the history of the game.
Very cool Mr. Kimbrel.
3. Max Scherzer then did it like two days later
Immaculate [ih-mak-yuh-lit] adj.
1. Free from flaws or mistakes; perfect
2. Max Scherzer pic.twitter.com/xZa1u12NOb
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 15, 2017
But not that cool Mr. Kimbrel.
You see, your time in the spotlight lasted a matter of hours before the reigning NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer achieved the same feat against the Phillies.
That this came in the fifth inning of his start and just minutes after he had taken a 100mph line drive flush off the knee which makes it even more impressive.
The high octane, high strikeout era we live in now makes it more likely than ever we’ll see immaculate innings, but two in one week is still cool as hell.
2. Party at Napoli’s
There is something brilliantly joyous about this clip. From the swing, to the admiration, to the trot down the line, to Carlos Gomez flipping his bat, to the crowd going bonkers, this walk-off home run showcases a little bit of everything that is so cool about our sport.
Credit also has to be given to Ryan Schimpf who showcases absurd optimism in his left fielder’s wall climbing ability by hanging around third base until that ball is definitely, totally gone.
1. Just let me go to sleep
For me, this is an all-time home run.
There’s the scenario: Buster Posey is the second man to bat in the bottom of the 17th inning. He has been forced to catch 17 innings of baseball. If you want to have any idea what that is like, go squat in your living room for about three hours whilst a loved one throws a rock at you. The crowd of 40,000 has thinned down to about 200 die-hards, and every single man, woman and child in that stadium just wants this wretched game to finish.
Then there’s the home run itself: This ball was absolutely crushed. It was Posey’s longest home run recorded by statcast, and it was gone the second it made contact with his bat. C-R-U-S-H-E-D.
Finally, there’s the reaction: No bat flip, no fist pump, no look to the dugout, not even a smile. Posey turns – presumably furious that convention now dictates he run around the bases after five-and-a-half hours of action – drops the bat, and sets off looking distraught. It’s awesome. Keep your “bat flips” Mr. Gomez, I’ll plump for a Posey Sulk.