Jonathan Lucroy’s Big Game Not Something You See Every Day


When narrow thinkers say that baseball is boring I counter by noting that any time you go to a game something you have never seen may break out. You never know.

I was in the building at Great American Ball Park when Cincinnati Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman did his forward-roll Olympic gymnastics move off the mound in celebration of closing out a game. Maybe that’s not being present at the writing of baseball history, but it’s also not something you see every day.

I was also in the building at Great American Ball Park this season when Reds starter Bronson Arroyo threw 7 1/3 innings of no-hit ball. I have said more than once that I have never witnessed a Major League no-hitter in person and that’s the No. 1 thing I’d like to see. I’m not greedy, so I don’t ask for a perfect game. That would be too much to wish for–except maybe this season.

You know what I’d love to see that I haven’t seen in a long time is someone stealing home plate. A small number of players in baseball history have turned the theft of home into an art form, especially Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Jackie Robinson and Rod Carew. Let’s just say if you see a guy steal home these days it definitely becomes the buzz on your way home.

Mostly it’s the little stuff that stands out as an oddity that I love. For that reason I had a grand time reading the Milwaukee Brewers-Chicago Cubs box score and game summary from Thursday night. Was history written? No. Will anyone besides those who sat through the event remember it on their life list of best games ever played? No. It was just one of those games that break out that features quirks.

For starters, the Brewers scored 11 runs on 17 hits, but didn’t win. You don’t see that every day. The Cubs scored 12 runs on 14 hits. Chicago won the one-run decision with three runs in the bottom of the ninth. You don’t see that every day, either. Certainly not from the Cubs, who danced around on the field as if they had just captured the World Series, not that they would know.

At least two guys on the Brewers probably had the game of their lives and they couldn’t celebrate (except inwardly, of course) because Milwaukee lost. Second baseman Rickie Weeks (who was hitting .222 after his explosion), went five-for-five. He scored four runs, too. Yet rather amazingly, despite rapping out five hits in a game where his team scored 11 runs, he had zero RBIs. You don’t see that every day.

Meanwhile, catcher Jonathan Lucroy thought it was Halloween and showed up at Wrigley Field dressed as Joe Mauer. Lucroy managed to drive in seven runs (for a total of 49 all season), with just one extra-base hit. It didn’t hurt that the extra-base hit was a grand-slam, but Lucroy’s two other hits were singles. More amazingly, Lucroy became the first catcher in Major League history (or since the sport started keeping track in 1920) to twice drive in seven runs in a game in one season.

Lucroy is batting .332, so he might yet become the next Mauer, but he has only appeared in 70 games so far in 2012. One reason for that is the broken hand he suffered in May about a week after the first 7-RBI game when a suitcase fell on it. Lucroy was searching for a sock. His wife shifted the luggage and boom! That is not your typical catcher injury. Breaking a hand by mishandling a breaking ball, maybe. Breaking a hand clunked by a foul ball, perhaps. Having your own suitcase attack you? Not so common.

With all of the highlight shows out there one would think there would have been an instant replay available of the suitcase run amok, but I can’t find one.

I’d still most like to see a no-hitter in person, but I would be impressed by any 7-RBI game I saw, too. Or any hyperactive suitcase. It’s just not something you see every day.