Javier Baez should consider the Olympics after this outrageous steal of third base in the World Baseball Classic.
Javier Baez, playing for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, pulled off a slide that should make Olympian swimmers jealous. In an absolute thriller against the Netherlands last night, Baez had himself a solid outing with two hits and a walk, but the most impressive thing he did was stay safe on a slide into third while stealing.
With only one out, having Baez on third would have given Puerto Rico a great chance at scoring in the current at bat. A sac fly, or even a simple pop into shallow right field would have been enough to get him home.
However, stealing third is extremely difficult with the catcher having a good look at the runner the entire way down the line. It’s also a pretty simple throw for any pro player to make. Even in this instance, Baez was beat by the catcher quite easily, but thanks to some creativity on the base paths he ended ups safe.
Now that’s some fancy swimming on Baez part. What should have been an easy routine out turned into one of the highlight plays of the entire Classic so far. He just barely turned his body around enough to avoid the tag using, as the announcer called it, the “old swim move” in an incredible moment of body control.
This highlight is only made better when considering the dramatic ending of the game itself. This was considered one of the best, most exciting, games so far and it was thanks to plays like this that baseball fans had something to go nuts about in March.
Sadly, Baez was stranded at third following his amazing effort and wasn’t rewarded with the run he so truly deserved. On the plus side, Puerto Rico won in the end so it wasn’t all bad for Baez.