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You have to see this wild play from Cubs-Pirates to believe it originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Last week, baseball celebrated its 20,000th player to reach the major leagues. It's hard to imagine any of them have been involved in a play like this before.
On Thursday afternoon in Pittsburgh, the Cubs' Javy Baez hit a hard but routine grounder to third base. There was a runner on second, but more importantly, two outs in the inning. So third baseman Erik Gonzalez threw across the diamond to first base, hoping to end the inning.
That, uh, didn't happen.
The throw takes first baseman Will Craig off the bag by a step or two, and Baez instinctively starts retreating back toward home. But instead of taking a step backward to touch first base and end the inning (it shouldn't need to be said, but a play at first is always a force out), Craig gives a casual chase down the line to try to tag Baez.
Things escalated quickly from there.
Baez takes his time down the line, allowing the runner to come around from second to create a play at the plate - and this one was not a force out.
Even though Baez had nowhere else to run, Craig tried to flip the ball to the catcher, who - instead of tagging Baez who was standing next to the plate and making no effort to get out of the way - tries to place a tag on the diving runner. The umpire and Baez both give the safe sign, at which point Baez seems to realize he still needs to get to first for the run to count. Only now, the Pirates had nobody covering the bag.
In the frantic race to first, catcher Michael Perez gives an errant throw, and Baez ends up making it all the way to second base safely.
Calling this a Little League Double would be disrespectful to little leaguers everywhere. This is one of the most ridiculous plays in MLB history, mostly because of how avoidable it is. There's a reason you never see runners caught in a pickle between home and first.
It's not clear if the Pirates forgot how many outs there were, or that there was a force at first, or that Baez had literally nowhere else to run. Whatever the reason, their teamwide brain fart immediately becomes one of the highlights of the season.