The Minnesota Twins committed one of the silliest errors you'll ever see in a Major League Baseball game on Wednesday, and visual evidence suggests it was caused by an infielder who wasn't even involved in the play.
It happened in the third inning of Minnesota's 8-7 win against the Los Angeles Angels. Shohei Ohtani hit a sharp comebacker that Twins starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi did well to field cleanly. But that's precisely where the good defense on this play ended.
As Odorizzi gathered and flipped to first base, everyone in the ballpark was stunned when C.J. Cron whiffed on making the catch.
How could that happen?
Well, it actually appeared Cron had no idea where the baseball was at that moment, or that it was soon coming his direction.
A closer look at the video and a highlighted still shot might help explain why Cron’s attention was diverted.
Jonathan Schoop may have tricked his own team
When you watch the video, pay close attention to Twins second baseman Jonathan Schoop.
It turns out that while Odorizzi was fielding the ball, Schoop went through the motions behind him as if the baseball was coming to him. Schoop acted as though he fielded the baseball on a hop, and even went through the usual throwing motion.
The screencap below is from MLB Network. It shows a highlighted Schoop winding up to “throw” right as Odorizzi is flipping the baseball.
It was Schoop’s actions, not Odorizzi’s, that seemed to catch the attention of Cron at first base. Cron was zeroed in on Schoop, expecting a throw from second base and never saw Odorizzi's toss until it was too late.
What was Schoop thinking?
We’re not entirely sure. Neither Schoop nor the Twins commented on the play following the game.
It’s not unusual to see infielders go through these motions when not involved in a play. Typically though, those efforts are an attempt to fool a baserunner into thinking he has the baseball.
In this instance, there was no baserunner to trick. For whatever reason, Schoop played it out and we firmly believe he fooled his own teammates as a result.
Fortunately for the Twins, it wasn’t a costly mistake. Odorizzi escaped the jam and ended up earning the victory, improving to 6-2 on the season.
The Twins have MLB’s second best record at 27-15.
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