Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon made an incredible catch in last night’s game against the Detroit Tigers. That’s not news, of course, at least not to Royals’ fans or those who pay attention to things like which players win Gold Gloves. But it is getting some love in the national press today, which is good and proper. However, Gordon’s efforts were not the only remarkable thing about that little slice of the contest, won by KC 4-0. The reaction of Detroit Tiger superstar and almost certain future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera should also be noted.
It was the eighth inning. Gordon had just slammed the door on Detroit in the seventh when he gunned down Jose Iglesias at third for the final out of the inning. (The Tiger shortstop was trying to advance on a fly out. Ah, foolish youth and inexperience!) Detroit’s Justin Upton smacked an Edinson Volquez offering deep into the Kansas City night, far, far into the left-centerfield gap. Gordon turned to his left and ran. Kansas City centerfielder Lorenzo Cain had moved slightly to right field, anticipating that Upton would pull the ball and so was farther away than he might have been. It didn’t matter. Gordon bounded like a deer over the vast greensward of Kaufmann Stadium, the largest pasture in major league baseball. On and on he ran, over and back and back and over until he finally gained the warning track in deep left center. He then twisted, gloved left hand extended fully, out and back towards the wall, and caught the ball that had left Upton’s bat maybe 12 minutes before.
Gordon belly flopped onto the track, hard. Cain was on the scene immediately and signaled to all that his teammate had caught the ball. Upton was pulling into second by this time and stopped. Volquez had his hands on his head, mouth agape, in a pure “You-gotta-be-kidding-me” pose. Then he tipped his cap to Gordon, as did many other Royals. The crowd leapt to its feet and roared its approval for their adopted son of Nebraska. Gordon, characteristically, got up without demonstration or celebration, spat out a little mouthful of warning track material, and trotted back to his position.
Then came the other newsworthy event. Miguel Cabrera was the next batter. With the home crowd still roaring for Gordon’s prowess, Cabrera stood outside the batter’s box, nodding and smiling, letting the crowd cheer the fantastic play, simply acknowledging a superb display of baseball skill. And while Gordon certainly should be cheered for the play, Miguel Cabrera should also be noted for his display of professionalism. Hat tip to you as well, Senor Cabrera!