I have said it before and I’ll say it again: Javier Baez is quite possibly the Cubs’ best baseball player. That’s a really amorphous term, so feel free to discuss amongst yourselves as to what it means. But no one else on this team possesses the same “Oh sh!*” potential. Not Rizzo, not Bryant. No one. Javy’s a freaking drive-in theater of baseball awesomeness, just pop the popcorn and watch what happens.
On Thursday night in Miami, it was the play that was a replay review away from being the best ever. It’s impossible to something that spectacular again, let alone on the very next night, but Baez sure did his damndest. Leading off the 4th, Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto fouled a high change even higher into the air toward the seats down the third base line and stepped across the plate in exasperation at the missed opportunity.
Baez gave chase and tracked the ball until he encountered the thigh-high wall separating fans from the field. He checked his position with his right hand, timing his leap percectly to steal the ball from a spectator while tumbling into the seats below.
Lawd have mercy. You ain’t overturning that one, New York.
This is just insanity, and not just because it was the kind of thing only unicorns do. First, this isn’t even the best play Baez made in the last two days. Second, the catch you saw above came off the bat the same guy who hit the ball that prompted Thursday’s magic act. What are the chances?
I can’t answer that definitively, but I can tell you they’re lower than the Cubs’ 99.5% playoff odds. Javy Baez is a riddle stuffed inside a question wrapped in a burrito and deep-fried. He came up as a monster swing, then looked like a bust who couldn’t make contact with anything, and has now become a Gold Glove defender with athletic ability to burn. He’s got plenty of room to grow as a hitter, but the rest of his tools make him absolutely indispensable.
As I did with the first play, I’m going to watch this Vine until MLB Advanced Media discovers it and shuts my account down. I suggest you do the same.