Andrelton Simmons standing on a baseball field with a glove on his hand is a web gem waiting to happen, and this winter Braves Journal is going to determine which of his gems is the best of his best—his Jadeite. For the full rules check out the introduction.
Round 1: The Blind Basket Catch vs. The Video Game
Narrowing down Simmons’s top plays to 32 is hard, so I’m throwing you voters straight into the fire. Voting will stay open through Wednesday night since I’m posting on a weekend before a holiday. Feel free to include an explanation of why you are voting the way you are to try to persuade others to vote your way!
The Blind Basket Catch
Editor’s pitch: The runner was going with the pitch, which creates a distraction for the defenders before the batter even swings. To make the play, Simmons is running with his back to the infield straight toward two outfielders barreling in. It’s nearly impossible to track a ball in that situation, much less make a basket catch over top of Emilio Bonifacio‘s glove. Then Simmons not only avoids a collision and holds the ball, but spins around and throws to try to double off the runner. The blend of athleticism and mental awareness is beautiful.
The Video Game
Editor’s pitch: The video is worth a thousand words of commentary, so just watch it again. Okay, now watch it one more time. Can a mere mortal even bend like that? He’s covering the bag, bends against his momentum to catch the ball, and then flips back to tag the base. The baserunner was already running and was nearly on top of him…and he got the out. This play defies the laws of physics and it made his pitcher laugh in disbelief. The cherry on top is he tried to turn the double play and was disgusted with himself that he couldn’t. Unbelievable.