Walking and chewing bubblegum at the same time isn't nearly as difficult as it's made out to be. Blowing bubbles and tracking down big league fly balls, on the other hand, that would seem to be a different story, but apparently there are some major league outfielders who are not only comfortable attempting it, but are capable of pulling it off.
Washington Nationals center fielder Denard Span certainly falls under that category. On the very first batter of their 2-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night, Span was seen blowing a perfect bubble while casually tracking down Dexter Fowler's fly ball in rightcenter field.
Granted, the level of difficulty here was minimal. It was about as routine a chance as you'll get in the big leagues. Still, watching him glide back on that replay, I couldn't help but be a little impressed, while also flashing back to the 2012 postseason and a play where a bubble overshadowed a pivotal moment.
As you might recall, it was Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones who was spotted blowing a bubble during his team's 3-2 loss to the New York Yankees in Game 3 of the ALDS last season. It happened as Derek Jeter skied an RBI double over Jones' head to plate their first run of the game, and left many wondering if Jones lost his focus momentarily while blowing his bubble since it seemed like a play an outfielder with his speed should make.
However, as our own Kevin Kaduk reported at the time, Jones has developed an involuntary bubble-blowing habit over the years, so it was second nature to him. The fact he didn't run the ball down would more likely be attributed to his history of bad jumps and bad reads on deep flyballs to center field.
Yes, there are people who study such matters. A player's history of reading the ball off the bat that is, not which outfielders like to blow bubbles.
Anyway, it is somewhat fascinating to me that blowing a bubble can become such a big part of a players' routine that it becomes second nature. Yes, I willingly admit it's a strange thing to be fascinated by, but I'm almost certain it's something I'd never be able to do without slowing down or face-planting on a baseball field.