The Chicago Cubs could seemingly do no wrong during Wednesday’s 17-3 thrashing of the Pirates. Even when pitcher Jose Quintana botched a squeeze bunt, Javier Baez managed to turn it into a steal of home plate.
It was that kind of night for Chicago, as they compiled a season-high 20 hits. It was that kind of night for rookie Ian Happ too, at least to start the game. The slugging second baseman contributed with a single in the first inning, his 20th home run of the season in the third, and then a double in the fifth. That left him a triple shy of the cycle, and that’s when things finally went haywire for a brief moment.
When Happ stepped up again in the seventh, he hit a fly ball to the left field corner that at first seemed like possible extra bases.
Unfortunately for Happ, Pirates left fielder Starling Marte was able to glide over and make a relatively routine catch. Happ was out, but when the camera panned back to him he wasn’t jogging back to the dugout. Instead, he was busting it to third base where he pulled up like he’d just hit the triple he needed to complete the cycle.
It was an odd scene that left people wondering if Happ wasn’t aware of the catch, or if he was just goofing around.
So here's the plan:
1. Run to third.
2. Act natural.
— MLB (@MLB) August 31, 2017
We wanted to believe he was joking, but based on the reactions to his postgame interview we were led to believe that being the funny guy might not be his thing.
I feel like I just saw big foot but it was Ian Happ joking and smiling in a post game interview
— Kristin Tara (@Hoodmancy) August 31, 2017
Has @ihapp_1 ever smiled? I've seen him get close but I need photo proof of it happening
— Griff (@CGriff149) August 31, 2017
Ian Happ is quite funny. Who knew?
— cowsarecool220 (@cowsarecool220) August 31, 2017
Either Happ is loosening up a bit before our very eyes, or maybe he just put his head down and planned on running until someone told him to stop.
According to Happ himself, it was the latter.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) August 31, 2017
Well, hey, no one can fault hustle. Especially when there’s a chance to do something unique like hitting for the cycle.
Happ would actually get one more chance to do just that in the eighth inning. That time he grounded out to shortstop and immediately accepted his fate by jogging to the dugout.
There would be no cycle on this night. Ian Happ will just have to settle for being the fastest Cub ever to reach 20 homers.
— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) August 31, 2017
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