Here’s a play that requires a little luck and a whole lot of concentration.
We'll call it baseball's version of a tip drill, which is a term you might be familiar with from football relating to wide receivers and defensive backs practicing the art of tipping a pass to either make a catch themselves or make it easier for a teammate to make a play.
It's coordinated effort on the gridiron. In baseball, well, it's stick your glove out and hope for the best. But sometimes it does work, which brings us back to the original topic.
The baseball tip drill was executed by the left side of the Boston Red Sox infield — third baseman Will Middlebrooks and shortstop Stephen Drew — on the first play of their 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday. Desmond Jennings was at the plate when he scalded a line drive down towards Middlebrooks that he lunged for and deflected. Amazingly, his attempt didn't do much to slow the ball down, but it did change directions, which makes the second part of the play even more impressive.
With his momentum taking his towards left field as he reacted and attempted to back Middlebrooks up, Stephen Drew ended up running right into the path of the ball and was able to react quick enough to snatch it cleanly out of the air.
Thats the old 5-6 line out if you're scoring at home.
As Tom Verducci noted on the Fox broadcast, you don't often see a ball redirected by one infielder's glove end up in another's glove without ever touching the ground. It actually takes more than luck and concentration for that to happen. It also takes good timing and even a little help from the batter as the ball has to be hit just hard enough to not die on first contact with a mitt. This play had everything covered, and though it may not go down as one of the fancier defensive plays we'll see this season, it was still pretty darn sweet.
I know Ed Reed would be impressed. Or am not allowed to mention Ed Reed in conjunction with New England sports?