The last time we saw two hidden ball tricks in a season was … well, who really knows? Evreth Cabrera tried it against the Giants in July, but was stymied by a lack of execution from his teammates and an ill-placed timeout call.
On Saturday, Tampa Bay was far less subtle in its efforts against the Dodgers—and far more effective.
Shortstop Yunel Escobar, noting that Juan Uribe—who had just pulled up at third following a sacrifice fly—wasn’t paying attention, called for first baseman James Loney to throw him the ball. He then tossed it to third baseman Evan Longoria, who was standing behind the bag.
Longoria watched Uribe quietly, and waited, ball in hand. Despite warnings hollered from Zack Greinke in the on-deck circle, the moment Uribe pulled his foot off the base, Longoria pounced. Third-base ump Angel Hernandez was right on it, and a disbelieving Uribe was out. (Watch it here.)
Thanks to a 5-0 victory, the Dodgers were able to have fun with it, Adrian Gonzalez presenting Uribe with third base—complete with a taped-on cleat—after the game. (See image below, courtesty of @yasielpuig.)
Escobar told reporters that he’d already tried the play four or five times this season, but that this was the first time in his seven-year career it’s actually worked.
No wonder we don’t see it more frequently.
Update (8-14): Even Los Angeles-area youth are getting in on the action.