Rick Ankiel’s strike from center field

This throw home from Rick Ankiel Tuesday Monday night was one of the more ridiculous exhibitions of arm strength you will ever see in Major League Baseball. There’s a runner on third here, and Ankiel absolutely freezes him with a rifle shot that literally was closer to being a strike than some Henry Rodriguez pitches.

Then he got a standing ovation. For a throw home during the sixth inning of a two-run game. Via Kilgore:

Jordan Schafer, the Astros’ fastest base runner, stood on third.

The writer Raymond Chandler once said, “When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand.” The baseball equivalent may be those few seconds between realizing Ankiel is about to unleash his left arm, that gift from the baseball gods, and the moment he releases the ball.

Schafer and Astros third base coach Dave Clark would not cooperate for a full payoff. With Ankiel about 300 feet from home plate, Clark held Schafer anyway. Ankiel, though, did not disappoint. He rifled a throw straight to home, no need for a cutoff man.

“It came out clean,” Ankiel said. “And it was right on the money.”

It was also bananas.

And for the record, some fans thought F.P. Santangelo was moved to curse by Ankiel’s display; I’ve listened to the audio about 500 times, and it’s just not so. Santangelo was saying “are you kidding” just as Bob Carpenter was saying “that’s,” and the sounds got mashed up for a second, so it sounded like F.P. said “are you [hitting],”but there was definitely no swearing.

At least on the MASN broadcast. Fans at home likely swore in awe.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.

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