How in the world did this not work? Alex Torres of the Tampa Bay Rays, one of the top rookie pitchers in the majors this season, obviously has been working on a super-secret pickoff move. The Mother of Super-Secret Pickoff Moves, to be accurate.
Torres' attempt, which came against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night at Fenway Park, was a masterpiece of fake sweat-wiping, cap-flicking, glove-dropping and sudden-throwing. The baserunner at first, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, had broken down his lead, but kept paying attention to the pitcher and was close enough to the bag to dive back in time. But phew! Also: Does Torres have a third hand somewhere?
Even though Torres stepped off the rubber before making his move to first, it still seems like a balk because his glove goes flying and his cap comes off as he throws the ball. While there is a rule about deceiving the baserunner being illegal, apparently pitchers can do anything they like on the mound, short of throwing a pitch home, once they've disengaged the rubber. So it's kosher. Or, if it's not, nobody on the Red Sox complained.
The Rays broadcasters speculate that teammate Joel Peralta, that bastion of gamesmanship, has been mentoring young Torres on the art of the pickoff.
Whomever is responsible, bravo! Now watch it over and over again through the magic of GIF technology!
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