The New Britain Rock Cats hosted the Binghamton Mets on Thursday afternoon, and within this otherwise ordinary Double-A contest was a play that has to be seen to be believed (fortunately, we've got the video).
In the top of the fourth inning, Allan Dykstra walked, Eric Campbell singled, and Raul Reyes laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third with one out. Jose Coronado then hit a sharp grounder to first baseman Chris Parmelee -- chapter one in what turned out to be a multi-volume epic of a double play.
"It was strange, real strange to watch," said Rock Cats broadcaster Jeff Dooley, who was also tasked with describing what unfolded to a listening audience. "Parmelee came home, and they were going to cut the lead runner down at the plate. Parmelee was in a rundown, and all of a sudden, you've got two guys at third. There was such a delay, one guy breaks back for second, the other guy breaks for home."
The guy breaking for home was Dykstra, caught in a rundown between pitcher Brett Jacobsen and shortstop Deibinson Romero. Romero applied the tag for the first out of the inning -- a 3-2-6-1-5 putout, but an out just the same.
But much more was yet to come. Coronado was then caught in a rundown between first and second, with Romero throwing across the diamond to Parmelee at first in an attempt to get him.
"I've never seen anything like that, especially the guy who hits the ball getting in a run-down. Usually the guy who hits the ball is out of the equation," said Dooley.
Coronado, in fact, was soon out of the equation. Campbell broke for third, and the Rock Cats' defenders then turned their attention to him. Second baseman Steve Singleton threw to shortstop Chris Cates covering third, who ran Campbell back toward second before tossing to center fielder Joe Benson. Mercifully for all involved, the moonlighting outfielder then applied the tag to complete the double play.
"I think [official Scorer Ed Smith] went over it a couple times," said Dooley. "I wanted to make sure I had it correct, as it was all so strange. I came back the next inning and recapped what happened. 'If you are scoring at home, this is how it goes, you'll never see something like this again.'"
And what had been seen was this: a 3-2-6-1-5-3-4-6-8 double play. Good luck fitting that one in your scorebook.
"It was a circus play, but it worked to perfection," said Dooley.