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The unwritten rules of breaking up a double play with a tender embrace

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Javier Baez appreciates Nolan Arenado, who appreciates Javier Baez. We can all relate.

In the bottom of the, uh, 34th inning or so, the Cubs had the winning run on second and one out. Willson Contreras was up, and Javier Baez was on second, ready to walk it off. There was a chopper to third, and that’s when the magic happened.

It’s a reminder that it’s just a game, but it’s also a reminder that everyone is nervous, here. It’s a reminder that we have to appreciate the little things about this silly game, and it’s a reminder that making an out is more palatable if you can soak up some vibes on you way back to to the dugout.

It’s mostly a reminder that hugging the fielder is a great way to avoid an interference call. Nobody is expecting it, and no umpire wants to be the curmudgeon who declares this to be anything less than beautiful. I’m not sure if Arenado could have picked up a second out with the runner having a lead off first, but I’m also not not sure. There was at least a chance.

But then there was magic.

This is a positive development, and more teams should employ the huggerference strategy in the future. The Cubs didn’t walk off because of it, but they could have. Other teams should take note.