How great was the play Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado made?
Buck Showalter — Buck Showalter — described it best: “Oh my gosh.,” he said (via the Baltimore Sun). “When you can shake hands with the beer man in the front row after you get through with a play, you know it’s pretty challenging.”
The play didn’t end up figuring significantly in the Orioles’ 2-1 victory, which came on a two-out, two-run home run by Adam Jones against the New York Yankees’ Mariano Rivera.
In the sixth inning, Yankees third baseman Luis Cruz hit a ball that was tailing down the third base line. Manny Machado tried to backhand it, got his glove on it, but the ball started to bounce away. Machado bobbled and then grabbed the ball with his right hand and as momentum was carrying him toward the stands – maybe six, eight, 10 feet into foul territory – he turned and rifled a throw off his back foot to get Cruz at first base.
It was a positively Brooks Robinson-like play and SB Nation has the GIF to prove that that’s no exaggeration.