Sunday night’s 18-inning marathon game between the New York Yankees and the Chicago Cubs was, to put it lightly, pretty crazy. So for a moment from that game to stand out above all the others, it has to be pretty impressive. And this catch from Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber is incredibly impressive.
It was the top of the 12th, six innings before the game would eventually end. Cubs reliever Koji Uehara was pitching to Yankees third baseman Chase Headley. And just like in every extra-innings game, with every pitch thrown beyond the ninth inning you get the feeling: could this be it? Is this the pitch that ends it? Will something, anything happen here? Uehara reared back and threw one pitch to Headley, and Headley hit a fly ball to shallow left field.
Everyone held their breath. Would the ball drop for a bloop hit? Would it go into the crowd? If Kyle Schwarber had anything to say about it, neither of those would happen. He tracked the ball immediately and started running after it. The ball kept slicing more and more toward foul territory, and Schwarber kept on running, even as he got closer and closer to the stands.
And suddenly, the ball was coming down and the stands were right there, and Schwarber had no choice but to go for it. He leaned over the barrier to catch the ball, and as he did, his momentum tipped him over into the stands and he completely disappeared. Well, almost completely. You can see a shot of his foot and ankle poking out, sort of like he’d been eaten by a Venus flytrap of fans.
He didn’t stay disappeared forever, though. The crowd at Schwarber’s entry point, which went absolutely insane at his effort, helped him up immediately. They lifted him up under his arms until he was upright again, cheering and patting him on the back the whole time. He didn’t just catch the ball, he held onto it as he fell, and so the second out of the inning was in the bag.
Anthony Rizzo, who as a first baseman is familiar with foul-ground catches like that, raised his arm to salute Schwarber and his truly incredible catch. And rightly so. The catch had an amazing ending, but Schwarber had to cover a lot of ground to even get to that point.
Wow… Schwarber just covered 116ft to make an amazing catch in foul territory.
— Daren Willman (@darenw) May 8, 2017
That catch from Schwarber was in foul ground, so if it had fallen it wouldn’t have been a hit. But Headley’s at-bat would have gone on, and it could have changed the outcome of the game. (It could have ended the game a lot earlier, but that’s not the point.) The Cubs did eventually lose to the Yankees six innings later, but it says a lot about Schwarber’s catch that in a game with 18 innings (essentially two whole games in a row), it stands out above every other play.
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