Not all dingers are created equal. Some rocket out of the park at 118 miles an hour and are never seen again; some are routine fly balls that get pushed a few inches beyond the wall by a helpful wind. Some stay in the yard, like cowards. This one, from Austin Hedges of the San Diego Padres, had no business leaving the yard, except that Mariners outfielder Mallex Smith reached up and punched it over the wall in a moment of pure slapstick gold:
As glove-deflected dingers go, this one packs more than the usual comedic punch. The ball doesn’t just squirt away from Smith’s glove; it careens wildly away, like Smith has a metal plate hidden in his glove, or a spring of some sort. And there’s something cruel and poetic and hilarious about Smith finishing the play face down in the dirt, utterly defeated. It’s a moment of soaring athletic grace that collapses all at once into disaster, and I am still laughing about it. Frankly baseball should have more of these.