Baseball is a game of anticipation. It’s not just the pitch, the hit, or the catch, but the subtle movements and coordination of players before the action that make the game enjoyable. Sometimes the chemistry between fielders is supernatural, like when a shortstop and 2nd basemen turn a double play with impossible speed and precision. But other times, even the most talented and graceful of athletes have a bit of breakdown. Sometimes that breakdown manifests itself in one of the rarest, yet most spectacular plays in baseball: the outfield collision.
The funny thing about collisions is that they almost always make the highlight reel. Watching world-class athletes look like drunk four-year olds elicits loads of schadenfreude in us all. But there’s nothing quite like watching two players collide live. No matter how many inches in your screen or H’s in your D, watching it from your couch just isn’t the same.
Close your eyes and imagine the following. You went out and got yourself MLB tickets, you’re sitting in left field seats. You’ve got an ice cold beer in your hand, and you’ve just polished off a footlong hot dog piled so high with toppings that you couldn’t even see the bun. Just then you hear the crack of the bat and see a fly ball headed for the gap. The left and center fielders take off like sprinters after the starter’s pistol as the crowd erupts with excitement. As the ball carries and the outfielders keep on charging toward each other at full speed, you realize what’s about to happen. You think to yourself, “They’re not slowing down…they’re not slowing down…oh $@%#! they’re not slowing down.” And just as the center fielder is about to make a nifty running catch, his teammate drills him in the chest like a line backer. The ball hits the grass, and the groan from the crowd is beyond loud. Had you been watching from home, you would have only seen the impact, but not all that led up to it. You would have only gotten half the picture.
To honor the start of the Dog Days of Summer, here are the top outfield collisions in baseball history.
9. They call me Mookie
An oldie but a goodie. This collision didn’t go well for anybody in a New York Mets uniform. Mookie Wilson got the worst of this hit. Lenny Dykstra became a bankrupt car thief. And sometime between 1987 and now, the Marlboro man officially became the devil.
8. “Sweep the Leg!”
Drew Stubbs goes all Cobra Kai on his teammate Brandon Phillips in shallow right field. Luckily for the Cincinnati Reds, Phillips was able to wax off under his own power.
7. A Really Expensive Collision
We bet Los Angeles Angels GM Jerry DiPoto had a minor heart attack when his high-priced left field Josh Hamilton collided with the best young player in baseball Mike Trout. The outcome could have been much worse, but I still can’t help but think this GIF would be better with a picture-in-picture of DiPoto’s face during the collision.
6. Meet me at the track
There are those who get a perverse joy out of watching bad things happen to the New York Yankees. This clip is for them. I can’t tell if Swisher’s lip is full of chewing tobacco or his own teeth.
5. That’s definitely a yellow card
If this play had happened in the World Cup, Andrus would have jumped up and immediately tried to look innocent while Beltre would probably roll around exactly like he does, albeit for at least 20 minutes. On a separate note, the Texas Rangers would be an absolutely terrifying soccer team.
4. A Walk Off
This isn’t that stellar of a collision. But, look at the score and inning. A collision in shallow left with two outs and bases loaded in the 9th. Only with the Houston Astros.
3. Brother-on-Brother violence
When the Atlanta Braves signed Justin Upton and inspired the greatest meme in history, I doubt this is kind of play they had envisioned.
2. Spring Pain-ing
More B.J. Upton! Sometimes the best way to kick of the season is with a bone-jarring collision with your teammate.
1. Face Smack
It should be blatantly obvious why this clip is #1. It’s the most brutal thing I’ve ever seen on a baseball field, and that includes Buster Posey’s broken leg and Mike Moustakas in the batter’s box.
From perfect plays to perfect collisions, nothing beats going to a game and seeing it live. So if you’re looking for a deal on MLB tickets, don’t forget to check out ScoreBig, where you save on every ticket, every day.