A steal of home, a catwalk, a double punt, and more in wild sports night

american football, american football plays, bill summers, geno smith, jackie robinson, julio franco, kevin cash, michael dickson, nelson cruz, NFL, punt, randy arozarena, ron popeil, sports, team sports, the 1955 world series, tropicana field, yogi berra

‘Scuse me... coming thru...

‘Scuse me… coming thru…
Image: Getty Images

There were just a handful of games going on last night, but enough fodder produced from both to last as long as that box of Graham Crackers in your pantry.

Let’s go through them one by one, shall we?

First you had one of the rarest plays in sports, a straight steal of home by the Rays’ Randy Arozarena in Tampa Bay’s 5-0 blanking of the Red Sox in Game 1 of the ALDS. It’s not often you get one of these — is there any play more rare? — and pulled off so cleanly.


“I noticed the pitcher kind of wasn’t keeping attention to me. I was able to take a big enough lead and take that base,” Arozarena told reporters after the game. “That’s the first time I’ve ever stolen home.”

“He’s asked me all season long, ‘Verde, verde, verde’ — green light,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “We finally gave it to him.”

It was the first straight steal of home in a postseason game since Jackie Robinson’s theft of the dish back in the 1955 World Series. Yogi Berra is likely still complaining about that call to home plate umpire Bill Summers somewhere in The Balcony.

Arozarena made history in last night’s ALDS by homering as well, becoming the first player ever to steal home and go yard in the same game.

Oh, what a night.

As the late-great Ron Popeil would say….. “But wait, there’s more!” Before Arozarena’s unprecedented Double Dip, Nelson Cruz homered as well, but with some Tropicana Field quirkiness.

Yep, Cruz’s blast to center hit one of those Trop catwalks (either the C or D ring) and even though the ball landed in shallow center was ruled a Grounds Rule Home Run.

Here’s the rule:

Batted ball that strikes either of the lower two catwalks (known as the ‘C-Ring’ and the ‘D-Ring’), including any lights or suspended objects attached to either of those catwalks as well as any angled support rods that connect the ‘C-Ring’ to the masts that support the ‘D-Ring’ in fair territory: Home Run.

And at 41, Cruz became the second-oldest player to homer in the postseason. Only Julio Franco was older at 105. Okay fine, Franco was 43.

Crossing over to the other side of the country, the catty corner if you will, to Seattle where this bit of craziness occurred in Thursday Night Football (look away from those neon unis, by the way).

Now, that tweet from NFL Officiating says it is legal to double punt if the kick is behind the line of scrimmage, but was this one? The line of scrimmage was the Seattle 21. It looks pretty clear, to me at least, that Seahawks punter Michael Dickson was past the 21 when he booted the ball to the Rams 11. So I say, will all due disrespect to @NFLOfficiating, that this was not a legal punt.

But what’s truly great about this is Dickson is Aussie Rules Football guy, and wasn’t aware what he’d just done was legal (though it shouldn’t have been).

“I didn’t know the rules about double-kicking,” Dickson said after the game. “I just had always thought if it even gets blocked behind the line of scrimmage and I can’t advance it, I was going to do some Aussie Rules stuff and try to hit it, punt it down the field and do whatever I can.

“That was always in the back of my mind. And then I had the opportunity. And I just did it.”

Cue Popeil… But wait, there’s even more!

Also in this game, you had this bit of hideousness.


Wilson was unable to return to the game, which provided one of the rarest things in all of sports: A Geno Smith sighting. And if you haven’t had the chance to see how Smith performed, you should. He looked good. And if you didn’t know he was still in the league, you’re not alone.

All in all, it was a night to remember, the seventh night of October.

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