Each team plays 162 baseball games every year. That’s 2,430 different contests, which means there are roughly 7,290 hours of baseball in a season. If you wanted to watch every one of those hours in 12-hour shifts, it would take you more than 607 days to catch up. So I get it. You have to be picky about which games you watch. It’s a part-time job just to watch your favorite team every night.
When an Angels/White Sox series in May arrives, you’re right not to care, then. I had to call the league office to verify that the rules allowed for an Angels/White Sox series in May. It ticks off all the boxes of skip-it baseball:
- Teams coming off uninteresting seasons
- Not division rivals
- West Coast night game
- Lack of postseason implications
- The chances that, even if you listen to the Angels’ broadcast, Hawk Harrelson will rappel into the booth and call the game for five seconds before you can find the remote
Let’s shift gears for a second. What’s the most boring positive baseball outcome? A walk, usually. Coming up close behind is the single, though. They’re nice. They can win championships in the right circumstances. But they’re typically not a barrel of rally monkeys. You’ll forget way more singles than you’ll remember.
That’s why we’re here, though. We’re here to talk about singles in an Angels/White Sox game in May. On Tuesday night, these two teams combined for 24 hits. Nineteen of them were singles. And yet, somehow, several of those singles were interesting enough to discuss the next afternoon.
You should have watched this Angels/White Sox game in May just for the singles.
A quick-and-dirty ranking of the best ones:
4. The one where Albert Pujols gets thrown out (video)
Because I’m a sucker for throws from the outfield that reach home plate on a single bounce or in the air, but also because this one tells a sad short story. It’s the story of a formerly great baseball man whose bones hurt from so much baseball, which makes him stick out when attempting baseball activities.
There were two outs, so Pujols got a good jump. The ball was hit hard, but based on this ...
... and using some guesstimations, it would appear that Pujols was at or past third when Leury Garcia got to the ball. He even played back on it a little, and when he was ready to throw, he wasn’t in a great position:
Garcia had to spin around and plant to get enough on the throw, which was going to take extra time and give the runner extra steps. With anyone else running, the ball gets cut off.
With Pujols running, it ends in quiet resignation and shame.
It’s almost hard to watch Pujols these days.
3. The one where you remember how much of a baseball demigod Pujols has been (video)
With this single, Pujols passed Carl Yastrzemski to move into 11th on the all-time RBI leaderboard. Now, I don’t know who is 10th, and I don’t know who is 13th, and I’m going to have a hard time convincing you that I’m all that curious. As a smug, enlightened post-Abstract baseball fan, you know that I’m not a fan of runs batted in as a statistic. If Pujols were constantly surrounded by teammates of oppressive failure, he would not have passed Yaz on that list.
At the same time, I’m a fan of runs batted in as an event. When it happens, people somewhere cheer. While a lot of those people at the time happened to be Cardinals fans, which limits your ability to consider these RBI positive outcomes, there was cheering. There was gaiety. There was merriment. And in the history of baseball, spanning more than a century, only 10 baseball players were responsible for more of those moments.
That’s kind of rad.
Just don’t think about what kind of single it was.
Which is to say, the kind of single that should “double” single. For 99.999999 percent of baseball, including the pitchers. Just focus on the history, which is outstanding.
2. The one where Pujols wins the game (video)
As much as I’d like to pretend that this walk-off single is proof that Pujols still has it, I’m including it for two reasons:
The first reason is that it’s a walk-off single. Doesn’t matter how it happened. There have been 580 games this season and 54 walk-offs. Last year, there were 173. So between five to 10 percent of the time, the home team gets to jump around like idiots on home plate. That’s fun.
The second reason is lolololol:
More like a fall-off single.
No, more like an walk-off-head single.
No, wait ...
Anyway, I’ve watched that 47 times, and I’m a gonna scroll up and watch it some more.
Bonus coverage: The double that was almost a single (video)
The play started with Melky Cabrera nearly falling down in left field ...
... and it concluded with this, which is funny with or without context:
That happened in a baseball game, and it’s probably better if you don’t click on the video, to be honest. Let that screenshot exist in its own timeline.
1. The single that gave hope to the White Sox, humanity (video)
It’s ... it’s beautiful.
It would have been a lot cleaner for my narrative to have this be about The Singles of Albert Pujols, but this is the best single of the year. It starts like this:
Classic Ted Williams technique. Put this swing in a video, get Fred McGriff in a blue hat to vouch for it, and make a million dollars.
After that swing, the ball was rolling in the infield. It looked like this:
That’s a first baseman charging, a pitcher falling off to the first base side and completely capable of covering first, and a second baseman behind them both, just in case.
It ends like this:
It might be a fun jape to all of us, but David Hernandez is a minor-league free agent trying to prove his worth. Now he has extra earned runs on his ledger because he made a hitter swing so poorly it bent space and time.
Mostly, though, it’s a fun jape.
That tied a game the home team was supposed to win, which just set up an exciting walk-off. We get to watch this play over and over again, and the home crowd still got to celebrate at the end. Everybody wins!
Except for the White Sox.
You’re forgiven if you never watch an Angels/White Sox game in your life. I’m not sure if I’ve watched a Marlins/Brewers game or Rays/Rockies game, and it’s my job to watch baseball. There are some pairings that don’t make intuitive sense.
But if you find yourself watching one of those games, hope for some singles like this. They’re proof that every baseball game is a potential classic, and all it will take are a few singles of different shapes and sizes.
Bless these singles. For they are baseball.