The PTERODACTYL Awards: Week 5

The Good, the Bad, and the highly questionable.

Welcome back for week five of the PTERODACTYL awards! If you’ve been here before, welcome back! If not, you’re probably here to find out what the big acronym is all about. Well, wonder no longer. The PTERODACTYL awards are an overly complex acronym recognizing 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 the spotlight week to week with their performances and personalities, both on and off the field. It’s all about celebrating the moments that make baseball fun. And if it’s fun you’re looking for, the first week of May didn’t disappoint. With not one, but two more no-hitters, it was more packed with action than ever. Here are a few of the best moments and performances from around the league last week.


Jaw-Dropper of the Week



5/7/2021 — Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

At first glance, this is a great play. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. fields the sacrifice fly attempt, uncorks a good throw home, and — wait, did he just do that flat-footed? Gurriel actually jumps up to snag Brantley’s line drive out of the air, and throws home off of his heels, somehow mustering enough zip to nail Myles Straw at the plate. It’s an absurdly athletic play, and one you would typically expect to see from a shortstop going deep in the hole rather than a left fielder. Gurriel Jr. gets his first PTERODACTYL for making a superhuman play look borderline routine here, when it is anything but.


King(s) of the Hill



John Means & Wade Miley

Last week we were treated to not one, but two no-hitters, bringing our season total to four (or five, if you include Bumgarner’s seven-inning bid). Rather than split hairs to pick a favorite, I decided to turn the spotlight to both pitchers for their dominant performances on the mound last week.

John Means tossed the first no-no of the week when he pitched nine sparkling innings against the Seattle Mariners last Wednesday. The only blemish keeping the game from perfection came in the form of a dropped third strike in the third inning. While it was the first no-hitter of its kind to be spoiled by a dropped third strike, Means still finished with 12 strikeouts and a 35.4% CSW, making it one of the best-pitched games in Baltimore franchise history.


Wade Miley’s no-hitter came just two nights later on Friday, when he struck out eight en route to blanking Cleveland’s offense. Just two runners reached first base against Miley, on a walk and an error. The Cincinnati starter credited his career performance to a temporary Hulk tattoo he got from his son.


Shoulda Walked Him



5/6/2021 — Yordan Álvarez

3-for-4, 2 HRs, 2 R, 2 RBI

Yordan Álvarez had Gerrit Cole’s number last Thursday, as he torched the Yankees ace for 853 feet worth of home runs in a three-hit shelling of New York’s pitching. The 2019 AL Rookie of the Year has rewarded his believers so far in 2021, and is now slashing a cool .345/.378/.609  with a 176 wRC+. Maybe Álvarez figured there’d be less wear-and-tear on his surgically-repaired knees if he took more home run trots. Either way, he’s an at-bat you don’t want to miss.


Weird Pitcher Stuff



5/6/2021 — Tyler Matzek

Pitchers are just… weird. While they’re all lifelong athletes, more often than not they can look a little uncoordinated when making plays off of a mound, and can turn even the most routine ball into an adventure. That’s why when pitchers do showcase their inherent athleticism, it can be a welcome and entertaining surprise for fans who may have been holding their breath. Case in point: Tyler Matzek’s unbelievable double play in the seventh inning of Sunday’s matchup between Atlanta and Philadelphia. On a play where many pitchers would rather let the ball through than risk clanking it off their gloves and redirecting it away from a fielder, Matzek reached out and even went behind the back to glove it. After improbably snagging the ball out of the air, Matzek had the poise to send a controlled throw to second to start the double play, which was as about as good as you can ask for from a pitcher.


You Hate to See It



5/8/2021 — Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts takes home his second PTERODACTYL award in a much more dubious manner than his first, after falling victim to an unfortunate tag from Angels third baseman José Rojas last weekend. It’s one of those plays where, while slapstick, you have to make sure the player is relatively okay before cracking a smile, as both Max Muncy and Dylan Bundy both do. It’s so clear that their teammates are trying to suppress their laughter at Mookie’s misfortune, and it breaks the tension of what was a focused moment on the field. After Mookie took one for the team, the Dodgers broke the game open with eight runs, including an RBI single from Betts after the team batted around. But it all started with this moment of levity right here.


Gear Watch


5/9/2021 — Will Smith

Mother’s Day gear has become one of baseball’s most beloved traditions in recent years. What started with pink bats has now blossomed to include socks, wristbands, and cleats, as players all compete to show who loves their mom the most through the use of branded gear and corporate sponsorship. Dodgers catcher Will Smith took his game to the next level, by cosplaying a bottle of Pepto Bismol when he settled in to catch Sunday’s Freeway Series matchup between the Dodgers and Angels.

What’s interesting to me is that while he went with the aggressively pink chestguard and leg pieces, Smith kept his standard blue mask on for the game. Did his pink mask not arrive in time with the rest of his gear, or did he want to keep his broken-in catcher’s mask? Can you even break in a mask? Is it a superstitious thing? Either way, it’s all glorious, and Smith receives the runway PTERODACTYL for his bold style.



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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