Two of the best center fielders in MLB were on hand Wednesday night as the Oakland A's battled the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, and it seemed at least early on that they may be engaging in a game of "can you top this" at the expense of the other team's offense.
Within the first two innings of play, both Coco Crisp and Mike Trout had already scaled the wall to make spectacular, possibly home run saving catches. Both efforts were joyous to watch. However, it's Crisp's robbery that takes top billing because of the circumstances surrounding it.
In the bottom of the second inning, Crisp leaped to rob Josh Hamilton of what we'll say would have been a home run. The laser beam never got too far off the ground even at its highest point, but based on replays looked like it was headed over the fence. Maybe it even hits the top of the wall. We'll never know for sure, so in case of a tie or unknown result, the deciding vote goes to the stadium's fireworks operator.
In this case, home run.
Wanted: New fireworks guy for major SoCal baseball park. Must ensure HRs are actually that before pulling the trigger.— AngelsWin.com (@AngelsWin) June 12, 2014
Crisp's reaction, by the way, was priceless according to those in the ballpark.
Coco Crisp took away a home run from Josh Hamilton, watched some fireworks mistakenly go off, turned around, and gave the Mutumbo fingerwag.— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) June 12, 2014
Unfortunately, the finger wag not shown on camera. However, one head's up reporter for Comcast SportsNet got a good photo.
Of course, it was former NBA center Dikembe Mutumbo who made the finger wave famous. After every blocked shot, he'd let the opposition know not to venture down his lane again with his most pleasant one-finger gesture.
A little different context in Crisp's case, but a similarly awesome response. If you're going to homer in his domain, you better hit it where the real men hit'em, and then five feet farther.
As for Trout, it had to feel especially good to time his leap just right and take away at least extra bases from A's slugger Yoenis Cespedes in the very first inning. In this series alone, Trout has been on the wrong side of multiple defensive gems himself, including a leaping catch at the wall by Crisp on Monday. That same night, an Angels fan reached over the wall and interfered with a potential Trout home run. After review, he was rewarded with a double.
On Tuesday, Trout hit the ball into the left field corner that Cespedes initially misplayed, but recovered in time to launch one of the most amazing throws we've seen since Bo Jackson wowed us with his cannon over 20 years ago. It was at least 310 on the fly to nail Howie Kendrick at the plate, and although an error certainly would have been charged to Cespedes for the bobble and boot, Trout still would have been the hero there. Instead, he was a mere footnote attached to an all-time highlight, so Wednesday gave him at least some measure of revenge against Cespedes.
Unfortunately for Trout, it was Cespedes who got the last laugh overall. His two RBI singles helped Oakland avoid a three-game sweep with a 7-1 victory.
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