Once in a while, something will happen on the field that just simply amazes everyone in the ballpark. One of those moments came this afternoon in the third inning, when White Sox third baseman Josh Fields drilled the first pitch from Jays starter Scott Richmond down the third-base line.
It was an incredibly well-struck grounder that was destined for the left-field corner. The only problem for Fields was that Scott Rolen — one of the top third baseman this game has seen — was positioned perfectly. Well, positioned perfectly enough to deliver a play that stunned just about everyone inside Rogers Centre.
Rolen dove to his right and snared the grounder with an unbelievable lunging grab. With little time to spare, the Jays third baseman shifted swiftly to his knees and fired the ball across the diamond to first baseman Kevin Millar. The throw beat Fields in plenty of time, while Rolen watched from the ground.
“Unreal. He’s unreal over there,” Richmond said. “He’s made a few great plays like that when I’ve been starting. Fields — I played with him at Oklahoma State — he tattooed that fastball in and, Scotty, I just quickly did a quick look and all I saw was him sprawled out down the line. He’s got that arm to go with it.”
Even Fields acknowledged the incredible effort, not that Richmond noticed that.
“I was too busy looking at Scotty like, ‘Wow,'” Richmond marvelled. “It was just a great play.”
The fans inside the stadium, after being hushed in awe foe a few seconds, began cheering loudly and the crowd moved to its feet. Rolen, the old-school player that he is, stood stone-faced and moved back into position for the next batter. He wasn’t about to let the reaction inside the Dome break his concentration.
“A standing O from the crowd — that doesn’t happen too often for just a single play in the game,” Richmond said. “He’s unbelievable and it’s a pleasure having him out there. … His defense, as you guys know, is second to none. As a young staff, if somebody hits the ball to the hot corner, we know he’s over there and he’s doing his best to help us out, too.”
Jays manager Cito Gaston routinely refers to Rolen as the best third baseman he’s ever seen. Bench coach Brian Butterfield, who oversees the D, says the same. So did former Jays manager John Gibbons. I never saw Brooks Robinson man third, but I can say it is a pleasure to watch Rolen work in the field on a daily basis.
Catch you all in Boston tomorrow.