The PTERODACTYL Awards: Week 2

Triple plays, diving catches, and *another* no-no?

We are back with another installment of the PTERODACTYL awards, recognizing the most exciting players and plays of the last week of baseball. For those of you that are in need of a refresher, PTERODACTYL is an overly complex acronym standing for Players That Embrace Riling Onlookers, Demanding Attention, & Causing Them to Yell Louder. It’s a Pitcher List award to be bestowed upon the players that command our attention week to week with their performance and personality, both on and off the field. And boy, did Week Two live up to the billing. Not only did we have our second no-hitter in as many weeks (more on that later), but it was just as packed with off-the-field antics as well. Let’s dig in.


Jaw-Dropper of the Week



4/17/2021 — Mookie Betts


Mookie BettsMookieBetts. Mookie Freakin’ Betts. If you’re anything like me, those words were likely the only ones your brain was able to process for the five to ten minutes following Betts’ game-saving grab to end Saturday night’s contest between the titans of the west, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. In one remarkable play, Mookie Betts reminded the baseball world why he was worth every penny of his $365,000,000 contract (even with the $65 million bonus!).

The series up to that point had already been intense, playoff atmosphere baseball in the early days of April. The Dodgers and Padres had fought tooth and nail all game, and the boys in blue were clinging onto a razor-thin two-run lead following six innings of vintage shutout ball from the left arm of Clayton Kershaw. The Padres were once again threatening with the tying run in scoring position and two outs against Victor González, when the slumping Tommy Pham lined an 0-1 fastball out to short right-center field.

To most at home and in the ballpark, the sinking line drive looked certain to tie the game, and possibly put the Padres in striking distance of winning it. But not to Mookie Betts. Without hesitation, the right fielder (playing center) charged in and achieved full extension as he barely kept the ball from hitting the ground. He then had the presence of mind to secure it with his other hand, thereby securing the Dodgers’ victory in the process, and sending San Diego into a stunned silence.


King of the Hill



4/14/2021 — Carlos Rodón

9 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 7 Ks, 0 BB, 35.1% CSW%

Picking out the best pitching performance of the week has been a fairly straightforward task to start the season. For the second consecutive week, a pitcher prevented their opponents from getting into the hit column, as Carlos Rodón smothered the Cleveland bats in a nearly-perfect performance. In a masterpiece since dubbed the “Toe-Hitter,” Rodón’s lone mistake came in the ninth when an errant slider tagged Roberto Pérez in the foot.

Rodón’s no-hitter was a long time coming. The 28-year-old veteran had to overcome a series of hurdles on his way back to the majors after undergoing multiple arm surgeries, including being non-tendered by the White Sox prior to the season. Rodón’s night was made all the more impressive with the context that he had only thrown 47.1 innings dating back to 2018 as well. It’s another reminder that pretty much anything can happen on a given night at the ballpark, and that baseball magic is alive and well on Chicago’s South Side.


Heart of the Game


4/17/2021 – Sean Kazmar Jr.

Honoring the most heartfelt baseball moment of the week, the week two Heart of the Game PTERODACTYL is awarded to Sean Kazmar Jr., who made history when he was called back up to MLB last Saturday. Kazmar had spent the previous twelve seasons toiling away in the minor leagues for the chance to once again don a big-league uniform, after last having played 19 games for the San Diego Padres back in 2008 when he was 23. Now 36, Kazmar has been called up to fill in with Ozzie Albies nursing a sore calf resulting from a hit-by-pitch.

Kazmar only received a single at-bat in Saturday’s contest, entering as a pinch hitter in the fifth inning. He promptly bounced into a double play on just the fourth pitch of the at-bat but received a round of applause from the crowd nonetheless. It remains to be seen if Kazmar will receive additional opportunities as Albies nears a return in the coming week, but even if his story ends here, Kazmar will have completed a remarkable achievement.


Shoulda Walked Him



4/13/2021 — Adam Duvall

MIA @ ATL: 4-5, 7 RBI, 4 R, 2 HR, 2B

Adam Duvall put on an RBI clinic last Tuesday when he drove in half of the Marlins’ runs in a 14-8 blowout win against Atlanta. After a first at-bat where he was caught looking to end the inning, Duvall racked up four straight hits, including a pair of long home runs and a double which put the Marlins in front for good in the fourth. It was Duvall’s best game of the new campaign, as well as the best in the league to date by ESPN’s game performance metric.

I heard you liked cherrypicked stats…

Entering Tuesday’s game, Duvall was slashing a meager .160/.250/.440. Following his offensive onslaught, Duvall brought his line up to a much more robust .267/.333/.733, raising his average by more than 100 points in just a day’s work. Aren’t small sample sizes fun?


“That’s Baseball”


4/17/2021 — Joey Votto

How can you not love Joey Votto? The future Hall of Famer (yeah, I said it) penned another chapter of his legend Saturday afternoon when he turned an unassisted triple play to bail Amir Garrett out of a jam with runners at the corners and none out in the eighth. The ever-attentive first baseman made a spectacular catch to spear a liner to first, before diving to tag Franmil Reyes as he scampered back to the bag. Votto then jumped to his feet before whipping the ball back across the field to finish the play, erasing Eddie Rosario who failed to tag up at third on the catch.

It was an impressive display of both athleticism and heads-up awareness, and one of the rare occurrences where “that’s baseball” can be said without a hint of sarcasm or irony. It was a truly excellent play from start to finish, from a player that embodies the best elements of our sport.


Rockin’ Role Player



Josh Harrison

10-for-22, 1 HR, .455/.500/.636, 208 wRC+

Shining a light on some of the more underappreciated players in the sport is always one of my favorite parts of each week. So, it is my honor to bestow the PTERODACTYL for the Rockin’ Role Player (we’re officially committed to the pun) of the week to utilityman Josh Harrison, who stepped up following the demotion of Carter Kieboom to put together a scorching start to the season to help keep the floundering last-place Nationals afloat. The 33-year-old infielder has been knocking the cover off of the ball to the tune of a 1.136 OPS and .492 wOBA over the last week and even left the yard against Merrill Kelly and the Diamondbacks during Thursday’s contest. It was an all-around great start to the year for the veteran, though he may soon play himself out of PTERODACTYL contention if he nabs the full-time role at third base, which is a good problem to have.


Bleacher Creatures


Closing out this week’s highlights (and lowlights) are a couple of the most memorable fan interactions of the last few days. It was really hard to pick just one moment this week, as we were treated to two unforgettable exchanges between players and the newly-returned fans, both of which strangely involved ballpark food:

The first food-related incident involved an exploding plate of nachos, as Justin Turner sent a deep drive into Dodger Stadium’s newly renovated and aptly named “home run seats.” The ball touched down in a fan’s lap, where its fall was cushioned by layers of soggy chips and nacho cheese. And while the victim’s jacket was obliterated by queso, he was later treated to a replacement plate as well as a complimentary Dodgers hoodie for his troubles on behalf of Turner. Not a bad deal, all told, especially when you factor in that the fan will undoubtedly be the posterchild for advertising the Dodgers’ new seating in their marketing all season.

The second moment that stole the spotlight came on behalf of young phenom Ronald Acuña Jr., who flexed his accuracy in an incredible beer pong toss you’ll have to see to believe:


Wow. What was that, 50 feet out? At least? Regardless, it’s an incredible snipe from the Atlanta center fielder, and an equally impressive catch on the receiving end. The fan may have lost 90% of his beer in the process, but I’m sure it was worth it to come away with both a ball and an entertaining story to bring home from the ballpark. Let the kids play, indeed.


That just about does it for a jam-packed week of baseball action. Be sure to check back in again next week to see who takes home the next edition of the silliest award in sports. Until next time!


Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)

Noah Scott

Noah Scott is a long-suffering baseball writer and knuckleball connoisseur. If you want to talk old timey baseball names, traffic on the 405, or lukewarm hip-hop opinions you can find him on Twitter @noahascott6

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