When you hear the phrase "he tore the cover off the ball," you think about a blistering line drive or a towering home run. In the sixth inning of Milwaukee's 5-3 win over the Pirates, Brewers backup catcher Martín Maldonado literally tore the cover off the ball and it never made it out of the infield.
It's one of those baseball oddities that left everyone involved in the play with the same what the...? expression on their faces. None more so than Pedro Alvarez, who had the honor of not only fielding—
—but throwing this baseball with a comet's tail.
That glance down kills me. It looks like about mid-throw he realized what he just saw seconds before and it borked up his whole rhythm. The cover probably added some extra drag and slowed the ball down, too. It obviously never made it to first and Maldonado was safely on base. After the game, he discussed his brush with hyperbole.
"I feel like I hit it on the barrel, not on the end of the bat," Maldonado said. "But when I looked down, I see that something was spinning. I never thought it was the ball uncovered. I thought he threw it to second base. Then I looked back and saw the ball and I was like, 'That's kind of weird.'
Yes, beating out a flying squirrel for a base hit is definitely kind of weird.