The Jadeite Jewel: Ranging Far

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: Out of His Way vs. On the World Stage
Note: Both of these videos contain multiple plays; the competing plays are the first ones that you see in both clips.

Out of His Way

Editor’s Pitch: Shortstops are really never supposed to be in the area that Simmons caught this ball in, but he doesn’t play by the same rules a typical shortstop competes under, so, of course, he gets to foul territory in enough time to slide and make the play. He then popped right back up, ready to throw the ball to keep the runner on second. His instincts are incredible.

On the World Stage

Editor’s Pitch: Simmons’s skills are not confined to the regular season. He was in mid-season form in March, during the World Baseball Classic. Seeing a 6-3 double play is not rare, but seeing a 6-3 double play from centerfield is very rare. He was once again in an area most shortstops never see, and he once again made an incredible play and was ready to throw immediately. In this case, he was able to get a second out. I know I just said it, but it bears repeating: his instincts are incredible.

36 thoughts on “The Jadeite Jewel: Ranging Far”

  1. I think this might be one of the toughest ones to choose yet. It’s a good thing the poll isn’t up yet so I can have more time to think about it. And just to be clear, on both of those clips, the play being considered is the first play on the clip, not the subsequent stuff, right?

  2. @2—Yes, that’s right. Just the first play that you see on both. I couldn’t find them by themselves anywhere.

    @1—Ha! Now there’s an idea! I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

  3. Both of those catches are unbelievable; I’m going with the latter since he doubled up the runner. But my, oh my, the man is superhuman.

  4. #6
    Rex Ryan’s bluster gets old quick, but the Falcons’ main issue is lack of defense and, like his dad, Rex Ryan is actually a terrific defensive coach.

    Problem is, like his dad, he never really grasped the other side of the football. Never seemed terribly interested. Wouldn’t have been such an issue with the Falcons. Their offense is fine. But he’d never take a defensive coordinator role, so enjoy, Buffalo.

    Karma’s a bitch, Dallas, but thanks for covering the 6.5.

  5. @7

    Yeah, according to the rules, it’s not. That is an absolutely perfect illustration of the “going to ground” rule. Like the rule or not, that’s not a catch according to current rules, and there really isn’t even an argument to be made. As far as the rule itself, I could go either way. If you say it should be a catch because he took three steps before hitting the ground, that’s fine. If you say it shouldn’t be because he was falling as he caught it, that’s fine, too, but I don’t really see anything wrong with the rule, per se.

  6. Braves signed 4 Minor Leaguers this past week. One of the signees takes up an int’l bonus slot. I think that leaves the Braves with only 1 more slot (don’t quote me on that as I’m still learning this stuff). Joe Benson is an interesting sign. He was well on his way to elite prospect status then just stopped hitting. He rebounded a bit last season but still hasn’t proven to be able to hit AAA pitching. He is a CFer and was ranked the Twins #2 prospect in ’12. Quoted as having “obnoxious tools”. If BJ falters enough for the Braves to cut him and Benson is making noise at AAA, he could get a shot.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/minor-league-transactions-dec-24-jan-8/

  7. Alternate reality machine:

    Phase One: Braves trade J. Upton at the beginning of the offseason for the same return we actually got for him.
    Phase Two: Braves flip the Petersons for Zobrist
    Phase Three:……
    Phase Four: Profit!

  8. I hate Dallas, but it was a catch. He made three steps and a football move, diving for the end zone, before losing control. If a running back does the same thing, then the ground cant cause a fumble. Guarantee you the rule gets changed before next season, esp. with Jerry Jones on that committee.

  9. @15

    They don’t count as steps and a football move if he’s falling as a result of his effort to make the catch. The running back comparison is apples and oranges because, under the rules, Bryant never had possession of the ball, whereas the running back obviously would have beforehand.

    I do understand why people think it’s a catch, but to illustrate why that’s problematic, here’s an example:

    Let’s assume it was first down and not fourth down on that play, and let’s assume Bryant wasn’t touched by the GB defender on his way to the ground (I honestly don’t know if he was or not…wasn’t really looking since it didn’t matter.) If you guys are right and that’s a catch, then it’s also a fumble, because he possesses the ball (under the definition we’re using here) and he’s not down by contact. What if he never regains possession and the ball goes out the side of the end zone? Should that be a touchback or an incomplete pass? If the rule is as you guys want it, then it has to be a touchback. Or what if a Green Bay defender hits him when he’s almost all the way to the ground and the ball comes loose? Fumble or incomplete? If the rule is as you guys want it, it has to be a fumble, even though he never really had a chance to gather himself and possess the ball because he was falling the whole time.

    It’s actually less complicated and more straightforward, especially in a league where you have to be touched to be down, to say that if you’re going to the ground as a result of making the catch, you have to possess the ball all the way through or it’s not a catch. The other way works OK in college most of the time because if you’re down, you’re down. But it would be problematic in the NFL.

  10. I guess my argument comes in where we talk about possession. Dez clearly had possession of the ball, IMO, until he made a football move which was stretching his arm out and diving for the end zone. Id agree with the catch and fumble rule but the ground can’t cause a fumble.

  11. @18,19

    The ground can cause a fumble in the NFL, though. If a player with possession (let’s just assume it’s a running back for these purposes to make it easier) goes down without being touched and drops the ball after or as he hits the ground, it’s a fumble even though the “ground caused the fumble.” He has to be tackled by a defender (or at least touched as he goes to the ground) for the “ground can’t cause a fumble” rule to be enacted. That’s another forgotten rule that a lot of people (especially fans who mainly watch college football, I would guess) would flip out over if it ever decided a playoff game, I’d imagine.

  12. @6, Hard to say. Obviously I had mixed feelings about Ryan, but I have had mixed feelings about every possibility so far. Adam Gase, Dan Quinn, or Todd Bowles are intriguing, but it’s hard to know whether what makes them good coordinators translates to head coaching. After suffering through uber-conservative Smitty-ball costing the Falcons leads, I’m leaning more toward an offensive guy who lets the DC run the defense.

  13. Nah. If the choice is either calling Ohio champions or mocking the entire system you clearly go with the latter. No league with an Ohio based “champion” is any good.

  14. Going to see Inherent Vice was a way better decision than watching Urban Meyer hold a trophy over his head.

  15. Ah come on guys. It was a good game.
    Of course I don’t have a hangover from Meyer’s years at Florida so there’s that.

    Ohio isn’t a bad place to live. Columbus isn’t, at least, although right now I’m freezing my ass off. You can take a boy out of the south but you can’t take the south out of the boy.

    Sam, its THE Ohio State University. Ohio is a lesser school in Athens, OH.

    edit: @32 OSU also had better players. Simple as that.

  16. Ezekiel won that game hands down. Cardale isn’t bad either. Kind of crazy that he’s a redshirt sophomore that’s only played 3 games and beaten 3 top 15 teams. He’s probably going to enter the draft now. That’s better than returning and sitting behind two other QB’s

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