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Big League Stew

Adrian Beltre can’t escape season’s funniest rundown

Big League Stew

If you're a fan of Major League Baseball who happens to be looking for a favorite player, then slugger Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers would be a great choice. Not only is he one of the best hitters at his position, he's also a terrific third baseman defensively. He's probably a Hall of Famer. And best of all: He appears to have a great sense of humor.

After getting caught between second base and third on Sunday afternoon, Beltre refused to give up, trying to keep the chase going down the left-field line. Umpire Phil Cuzzi called Beltre out for running out of the baseline — with Beltre faux reacting like, "I was?!" — but the funniest part was Houston Astros infielder Jake Elmore taking Beltre's bait and chasing him for several steps unnecessarily. The second funniest part might have been the sound effects added by the Rangers telecast, i.e., "Womp, womp, wommmmmmmp."

Whenever a player gets caught between bases, there's always a chance for baseball comedy gold — especially if the White Sox happen to be playing defense at the time. But what about when the fielders play it straight, like the Astros did, and it's up to the guy caught in a rundown to make with the yuks? How can a rundown be funny then?

Other than stopping and "calling timeout" — which others have done — or pulling an A-Rod by trying to slap the ball out of a fielder's glove, the runner's options are limited. But getting another major leaguer to chase you the wrong way? It's kind of diabolically brilliant.

Now, a cynical person might say that Beltre simply was trying to distract from the embarrassment of making a mistake — and maybe that is true — but part of me believes that Beltre also wants to entertain. The fans, his teammates, even himself. If so, he succeeds. Besides, a player needs two things to get through a long season: Baseball skills and a sense of humor.

The only way it could have been funnier was if Beltre somehow got teammate Elvis Andrus into the act. They're like the Three Stooges, minus one Stooge.

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