One of the reasons I love baseball is because it is the ultimate everyman sport. You can take as little care of yourself as David Wells, and still make millions of dollars a year as an “athlete” because all you have to do is hurl a ball 95 mph or hit it 410 feet. That’s why I absolutely adore 350-pound pitcher Jose “Jumbo” Diaz for stealing third base for his Indianapolis Indians, the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Now, there is a three-fold amazingness to this clip. It isn’t just the fact that Diaz, a pitcher roughly the size of Vince Wilfork, stole a base. It was the nutty things that had to happen for him to get there.
A) There was absolutely no conceivable reason Jose Diaz should have been batting in the first place. He is a minor-league relief pitcher making his second ever professional at-bat. He was in the lineup as a second baseman though, and when your number is called, you’ve just gotta suck it up and answer.
B) By the grace of God, Diaz made contact. Of course, it wasn’t great contact and a first baseman had to make an error to allow Diaz to reach safely, which is more commonplace in the minors, but it was no ordinary minor-league first baseman playing for the Louisville Bats – it was a rehabbing 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto. Votto bobbled the ball trying to field it, and overthrew the pitcher covering first, allowing Diaz to advance to second.
C) Not only did he attempt to steal third — he did so cleanly, without a throw from the defense. That wound up being costly as Diaz was driven in by the very next batter.
So he’s not exactly Rickey Henderson, I get it. He didn’t do much to really produce the stolen base, but look how excited he is, and look how in-stitches all of his teammates are. It’s a moment the big fella will always have.
[h/t Sportress of Blogitude]