Best Social Distancing Plays – Week 3

The good, the bad, and the downright strange (whilst staying safe).

Another week of this extraordinary game being played in the most extraordinary of circumstances brought the joy, the tears, and the weirds once again. After the uproar caused by Ramón Laureano charging the Astros bench, which resulted in a mass brawl of sorts and suspensions handed down on both sides, things quieted down and we were treated to some power hitting and finesse pitching on a daily basis. Most teams are now one-third of the way through the season, except the Cardinals…the poor Cardinals…and the race to the postseason is already here.

As we remain socially distant from the game, let us celebrate those who did it best, followed the rules, and played “safe” baseball. Let’s also look at those who fell short.


Chris Paddack’s Mask


The importance of wearing a mask to prevent the spread of the coronavirus has been stressed across the world in the past weeks – down here in Melbourne, where I am, you must wear a mask at any time when going out of your front door. The first episode of HBO’s Hard Knocks (focusing on the two teams from Los Angeles, the Chargers and the Rams) covered much of what a professional sports team needs to do to limit the exposure. Masks off the field are not too much of a problem but on the field is a different matter altogether. No problem for Chris Paddack, though. Improvision is the highest form of intelligence, right?


Unfortunately, the many players who have chosen the “gaiter” or “snood” that covers both the neck and mouth area may be running the risk of being exposed more than the non-mask wearer, according to the The Washington Post.


It certainly did not stop New York Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier from sending the baseball yard in the game against the Atlanta Braves during the week. He looked pretty mean turning the bases afterward, too. I would love to see a pitcher don a mask with a specific message. Zack Greinke would probably have the name of his next pitch!





Lindor Avoids the Tag


Outside of my own team, Francisco Lindor has to be the guy I love to watch play baseball more than any other. The Cleveland Indians shortstop has always got a smile on his face, and plays the game with so much heart it is inspiring. He has also taken the “try to avoid contact with other people” mantra very seriously and has applied it to his baserunning. Here he has no right to sneak into second base ahead of the tag – but he does.




Here is the perfect “socially distant” slide to beat the tag from Nick Madrigal in slow motion!




The Wildest of Wild Pitches


There are wild pitches and then there are “socially distant” wild pitches. Here is the textbook example from Detroit Tigers reliever, Richard Rodríguez.




The Invisible…Ramon


We are glad Major League Baseball decided to take its time in handing down a suspension to ace A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano.  It gave him just enough time to completely disappear, then reappear momentarily to take away a home run.


To be fair, this play was sensational and deserves a look in full view.




The Phillies Infield


Oh dear, oh dear. The Phillies have not had a great start to the season. Last week I talked about how bad the Houston Astros outfield was at avoiding balls in play. Well, the Phillies infield gave it the old “Hold My Beer” and produced this socially distant botch up of a routine pop-up.



At least all-star of our hearts, Andrew McCutchen, did his utmost to please the despondant Phillies fans in the crowd this week.



Socially Distant Marlins Fish Celebration


The lengths to which teams have created safe ways of social distant celebrations is astounding. Hats off to the Marlins, who whipped up this for their home opener, which came a mere 23 days into the season!




“Peg, don’t tag…it’s safer”


We knew teams would throw at the Houston Astros players this year after the sign stealing fiasco brought a dark cloud over the organization’s reputation in the off season, but I don’t think this is what we had in mind. Here, Giants infielder Donovan Solano plunks Alex Bregman instead of throwing him out at the plate.



A comment of the play on Reddit: “Pegging the runner is more socially distant then tagging them out.” Good shout!


Socially Distant Pitcher Ejected…Again


We are flipping the switch this week after highlighting pitchers chilling out in the stands on their days off the past few weeks. Derek Holland was famously tossed last week for heckling from the stands. Well, Stephen Strasburg just couldn’t help himself and wanted in on that action.



Be sure to join me next week for more of the best socially distanced baseball from week four.


Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@FreshMeatComm on Twitter)

Benjamin Haller

A Yorkshireman living in Australia, loving Major League Baseball from afar. As I wait for my A's to build their new stadium, I spend my time coaching soccer, writing for sportbc.blog, and over-analyzing relief pitcher scoring in fantasy baseball. Follow me @benjaminhaller1 for thousands of retweets

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