Josh Thole is not going to hear the end of this blunder for a long time. The Mets catcher was on first base with one out and pitcher R.A. Dickey at the plate when he got tricked by Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins Friday night. Dickey laid down a sacrifice bunt and Thole advanced to second. As Thole was approaching second base, Rollins was using his hands to signify that Thole should go easy into the bag. He also appeared to mouth “foul ball” to Thole.
Thole began running back to first base even though he had safely advance to second on the sac bunt. Pitcher Cliff Lee then threw to Rollins at second, who relayed to first to get out Thole, who finally realized it was a live ball and dived back into the base.
Thole acknowledged the huge gaffe after the game, but he didn’t blame Rollins. From the Star-Ledger:
“I don’t know,” Thole said. “I was coming in to second. And Jimmy put his hands up, like ‘Come in easy. You can come in easy.’ I knew the ball was fair. I even looked down. You can go watch the video. I checked in. The ball was on the floor. I just took off running back to first. I’ve got no other explanation.”
When did he realize his gaffe?
“I realized when I was jogging back to first,” Thole said. “After I looked at the umpire, and got a weird stare from him, and then I looked back and the ball was on (its) way to first. I didn’t know what else to do. I just kept running.”
The Mets won 5-2 so luckily Thole’s mistake didn’t cost the team, but it sure gets him remembered for one of the dumbest plays we’ve seen. He probably left out that Jimmy Rollins caught him with the “foul ball” trick to avoid looking worse than he already does.
That’s a trick you can only use once, and you’re lucky if it works. I’m surprised Rollins wasted it then. I once used it when I was about 11 or 12 and the kid ran off the field crying. I felt pretty badly about it and it does seem kind of dirty. But nobody probably feels as badly about it as Thole. How does a big leaguer fall for that trick?
Thanks to Big League Stew for the videoGoogle+