Pop-ups may seem like a relatively simple defensive play, but they can be deceptively difficult to catch. At certain times during the day or night, they can get lost in the sun or lights. The wind can push them in a totally different direction. And sometimes there are two or three fielders all running toward the same falling ball.
Pop-ups aren’t always easy, and Corey Seager knows that. The Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop nearly had a bad run-in with a falling pop-up on Sunday, but somehow came out of it with one of the coolest, most casual catches you’ll ever see.
Let’s set the scene: it was the bottom of the first inning of the Dodgers’ game against the San Diego Padres. Padres third baseman Cory Spangenberg was batting. And on the 2-0 pitch from Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda, Spangenberg got under it and popped it up to shallow left field.
And that’s when the action began. Seager and third baseman Justin Turner both ran for it. Seager had a much longer way to the ball than Turner, but he was at an all-out sprint to get there. Turner was almost to the ball when Seager ran by, but there was a problem: Seager had run so fast that the ball was now falling behind him.
Usually, this is how errors are born. But not for Corey Seager. As he ran, he kept his arm down and stuck his glove out behind him. The ball literally fell right into it.
.@coreyseager_5 makes this look too easy.
— Cut4 (@Cut4) July 2, 2017
No one could believe it, least of all Spangenberg. He had hit a pop-up that looked like it was going to be caught, and then he had a millisecond of hope that the ball was going to drop. And then that millisecond of hope was taken away with Seager’s ridiculous catch.
If anyone needs another reason why Seager is headed to his second straight All-Star Game, there it is. He turned a potentially messy moment into a fantastic backhanded catch, and looked cool doing it.
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