Melky Cabrera is the left fielder for the Chicago White Sox, and not an actor. But he deserves an Oscar for this incredible performance Thursday night, when he fooled everyone into thinking that Aaron Judge had hit a home run.
Actually, to say that Melky just fooled everyone is to dramatically undersell what he did. So let’s start at the beginning. On Thursday night, the White Sox were facing the New York Yankees in Chicago. And in the fifth inning, Aaron Judge did what he does so, so well: he took a mighty swing and sent the ball screaming toward the outfield seats.
It wasn’t a no-doubter, but it definitely had home run distance. And like we’ve seen thousands of times, an outfielder ran to the wall and made a valiant effort to stop it from happening. And on Thursday night, that outfielder was Melky Cabrera. He ran to the wall and jumped straight up, his glove extended to the sky.
And that’s when Melky saw his chance to pull off the most incredible troll job.
As a 13-year MLB veteran, he knows that catches at the wall are tough to see. It can be hard to tell if the ball lands in the glove, or if it lands just beyond it. So when he landed back on the ground, he turned around and looked back at the seats, acting like the ball had just eluded his glove.
But it hadn’t. The ball landed right in Cabrera’s glove, robbing Judge of his 28th home run. And after a few seconds, Melky finally turned back toward the diamond and raised the ball high. Judge had no idea Melky had made that catch, and was still running the bases.
The fans around Melky weren’t fooled. They knew right away that he’d made the catch. But the Yankees’ announcers on WFAN had absolutely no idea. They assumed that the ball had reached the seats (Aaron Judge leads MLB with 27 home runs, so it’s not a bad assumption) and just kept right on announcing yet another Judge home run. They were totally fooled by Melky’s performance, right up until the moment he revealed the baseball.
That fake-out is one for the ages, and MLB should start giving out a special on-field acting award every season. And the trophy? It should obviously be a small statue of Melky Cabrera holding up that baseball.
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