One of the cooler moments televised baseball has to offer is a liner to left with a reasonably quick runner on second base. The camera cuts to the standard view of a ball in play, and you get a good look at everything happening all at once: the ball cruising through the left side and into the outfield; the outfielder charging in or over to field it; the runner tearing ass on a wide angle toward third; and, if everything is just right, the third base coach wildly waving his arm. By the time the outfielder has the ball in his glove, you’ve got a good sense of whether or not we’re about to see a dramatic play at the plate.
This clip, of Phillies infielder César Hernández slicing a liner to left with Maikel Franco on second base, has almost everything—you’ll have to imagine third base coach Dusty Wathan enthusiastically sending Franco, just as you’ll have to imagine what in all of tarnation he was thinking:
That seems like a very strong throw from Jeff McNeil, but it also seems like even Juan Pierre or Ben Revere could’ve gunned down Franco, there. Franco could’ve been on a damn bicycle and he would’ve been out by a couple steps. A particularly enjoyable way to make sense of this has Wathan sending Franco as a vicious, ruthless prank, setting him up for the humiliation of having to shame-walk his way into an out at home plate. Owned.