If you've ever spent any time fooling around a diamond, you've probably knelt along the third base line and tried to do your best Lenny Randle impression by blowing a baseball from fair to foul territory.
On Thursday, Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Jerry Hairston did it again at the big-league level — albeit in a spring training game — when Kansas City's Irving Falu bunted a dribbler up the third base line in the fifth inning.
Watch it here:
As the announcers noted, Hairston's unsuccessful attempt immediately summoned memories of Randle's lungs guaranteeing themselves a spot on every sports bloopers reel until the end of time — and causing an in-game controversy at the time.
Here's what the Associated Press wrote about Randle on May 28, 1981:
Lenny Randle blows a ball foul in 1981. (Owen Blauman)In the sixth inning, Amos Otis topped a ball down the third-base line. Lenny Randle, the Seattle third baseman, charged the ball, fell on his stomach and appeared to blow the ball into foul territory. Larry McCoy, the home plate umpire, ruled the ball foul, but manager Jim Frey protested. After a discussion, the umpires awarded Otis first base, ruling Randle had illegally altered the course of the ball.
So even if Hairston had been successful in huffing and puffing Falu's bunt foul — or in a similar situation last year — it still wouldn't have mattered. Baseball's best loophole was closed decades ago.
As for Randle, it looks like he's maintaining a presence on Facebook these days as he coaches young players and organizes sports tours and baseball camps. (The best part of the page is his highlighted quote: "Don't blow it! Stay in school!")
At any rate, we have to give Hairston credit for continuing to be like Lenny in a real baseball game. We've always wanted to try that.
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