Darn it, Padres … you were so close! It feels like ages since we’ve seen the old hidden ball trick successfully pulled off in the Majors. Are players less fun these days? These were a “This Week in Baseball” staple once upon a time. (Maybe it’s that the hidden ball trick seemed more popular when grocery stores and gas stations sold VHS baseball blooper reel compilations.)
Friday night the Padres almost caught Pablo Sandoval drifting off second base with the sneaky maneuver in the fifth inning with Everth Cabrera and Sean O’Sullivan. The problem? O’Sullivan stepped off the rubber and out of the pitching mound circle and went back into it before Cabrera could tag Sandoval. Once O’Sullivan went back into the mound dirt, time was called by second base umpire Laz Diaz.
My personal favorite instance of the hidden play trick came on April 8, 1988 when Mets catcher Gary Carter fell victim to it. Somehow I remember this because it was Carter’s birthday and he shared the day with one of my childhood friends. Video of that play doesn’t seem to exist on YouTube, so let’s settle for Ozzie Guillen falling for the trick back in the 80s.