Special guest author Matt from House of the Bluebird
With each and every season of baseball comes new moments for us to cherish and remember. There's the no-hitters, the cycles, the ridiculously difficult defensive plays, and of course the walk off home runs. Those moments in baseball are exciting, they're wondrous and some might even say they are magical. However baseball is more than historically significant events, there's a whole other side to the game.
That other side being baseball's extensive quirkiness and general wealth of oddities. This other side produces such moments as Giancarlo Stanton's breaking of a panel on the scoreboard at Marlins Park or the Praying Mantis delay that occurred at Nationals Park earlier this year. The moments aren't always memorable nor are they necessarily historical, but they added to my enjoyment of baseball in 2012. Of all the interesting oddities that occurred during the 2012 MLB season, the one moment that particularly piqued my interest was the "The Pantomime Home Run".
Pantomime is defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as "[the] conveyance of a story by bodily or facial movements especially in drama or dance". You might be wondering how exactly this ties into a game of baseball, and you probably aren't alone in that regard. The specific moment that I'm referring to is one that occurred during a game between the Cardinals and Nationals at Busch Stadium on September 29th. In this instance Michael Morse hit a ball off of Kyle Lohse that went just over the wall at Busch Stadium. The ball bounced off the Energizer sign, then bounced back on the wall before coming onto the field of play and into Carlos Beltran's possession. Beltran then threw the ball to the infield where Michael Morse was thrown out.
The initial call by the umpires was a single, which would have resulted in an out and just one run for the Nationals. However one of the umpires disagreed with the call that was made and being that the ball was hit to a spot where it could be considered a borderline home run it was able to be reviewed through use of instant replay. Up until that point everything that had occurred was relatively procedural, but that would soon change
After the umpires reviewed the play and made a decision, they explained the situation to Davey Johnson and then to all the players on the base paths, including Michael Morse. They then went on to instruct Morse to not only rerun the base paths, but go back into the batter's box and redo/mime his home run swing as seen in the .GIF below.Morse didn't complain, he didn't question the umpire, he just went to the batter's box and swung as he would at any other pitch...it was wonderful. The "Phantom Grand Slam" swing was full of finesse and and Morse's strides were impeccable as he ran around the base paths while being both booed and cheered on by the Cardinals fans at Busch Stadium. An event, as simple as this, at times seems trivial, but it's another contributor to the variety of beloved oddities that are present and prevalent among the online baseball community today (See Graphs, Not). It isn't flashy, it isn't mind-blowing, but it's funny, it's quirky and it's part of what sets baseball apart from the rest of the world of sports.
Sometimes it's the simple things in life that make us smile.
The video of the play in it's entirety is embedded below, if that does not work here's a link that can be used instead.