When a runner is staring down a tag play, most will do whatever they can to avoid it. That’s how the rundown was born: a player runs around while trying not to be tagged. But how can a player avoid being tagged if they’re running to home plate? Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen had a great idea: why not just jump over the catcher?
Cutch’s big leap happened Sunday when the Pirates were playing the Miami Marlins. It was the sixth inning, and McCutchen was on third with the bases loaded and just one out. John Jaso was at the plate, and on the 1-0 pitch, he knocked the ball right to the first baseman. Jaso was definitely out, but McCutchen’s wheels were already turning.
Cutch was headed for home plate and there was no stopping him. The ball had been tossed right back to Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, and he was ready for the tag. But he probably wasn’t ready for what Andrew McCutchen tried to do as he approached home plate. Instead of barreling directly into the catcher, McCutchen took flight. He attempted to leap right over Realmuto and tag home plate.
It didn’t work. McCutchen got as much air under him as he possibly could, but Realmuto is over six feet tall. He got the glove above his head and tagged McCutchen as he passed over. It was an admirable (and awesome looking) attempt, but ultimately unsuccessful.
McCutchen definitely isn’t the first player to try this. In fact, back in April we saw Chris Coghlan successfully leap over the catcher to tag home plate, and he was safe. Knowing the type of player Cutch is, he’ll probably keep leaping until he gets it right. And we should definitely look forward to seeing the amazing photos when it happens.
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