Ryan Goins is under 30 years old, but he’s apparently a student of the classics.
Sometimes the best trick plays are the time-honored ones. New York Yankees infielder Todd Frazier found this out the hard way on Friday night.
Frazier was on second base in the top of the third against the Toronto Blue Jays and retreated to the bag after Jose Bautista made a nice play to snag a well-hit ball by Jacoby Ellsbury.
Even the TV announcers weren’t sure why Frazier was called out once the ball was thrown into Ryan Goins covering the bag.
That is a perfectly executed hidden ball trick by Goins, apparent only when you watch the slow-mo video toward the end of that clip. He fakes like he’s throwing the ball back to the pitcher, transferring it to his glove in the process. Then he waits for Frazier to lift his foot off the bag — which only happens for about a second — and puts his glove on his opponent’s hip.
While the hidden ball trick is arguably the most famous gimmick play in baseball, you also don’t see it that often. Wikipedia cites an article from 2013 suggesting it had been successfully executed less than 300 times in more than a century of baseball, meaning a couple times a year across MLB, tops.
It’s human nature to blame the runner for not being attentive enough when the play works, but that’s hard to do in Frazier’s case simply because Goins was so slick pulling it off. Kudos to him for being a student of one of the most iconic trick plays in all of sports, something you have to see — and in slow motion, no less — to truly believe and appreciate.