How Darwin Barney walked away from his violent collision with the visiting bullpen bench at Wrigley Field without bruised or broken ribs is beyond me.
The nasty spill happened as the Cubs hosted the Cincinnati Reds in rain soaked Chicago on Friday afternoon. The play itself started out innocently enough, with Barney pursuing a foul ball from his second base position as right fielder Nate Schierholtz and first baseman Anthony Rizzo converged from their respective spots. It then took a scary turn as the 2012 gold glove winner awkwardly lunged at the very last second and was unable to brace himself as his left side hit the bench full force.
To make matters worse from Barney's perspective, he didn't come up with the baseball. But at least he was able to stay in one piece and remain in the game. He even had a chance to play hero in the ninth inning with the bases loaded. Unfortunately, he struck out against J.J. Hoover to end the game and wrap up Cincinnati's 6-5 win.
Getting back to the collision though, those "Bermuda Triangle" plays where three fielders converge on one spot are always a recipe for disaster. When you add in less than ideal field conditions and obstacles such as bullpens, tarps, and those even present Wrigley seagulls, it becomes even more dangerous. I think Schierholtz actually had the best idea, sliding in safely to avoid any contact at all. As we saw on Thursday, Rizzo knows his way around the area, too, and knew when to play it safe.
Barney is a different animal though. He's fearless on the field and often takes chances other defenders wouldn't dare to. That was reflected in his effort here and makes his 142 game errorless streak last season all the more impressive.
Keep doing what you do, Darwin. But do take note of the warning track next time. It's there for a reason.