Javier Báez is known as El Mago — The Magician — for some of his spectacular plays in the field.
On Monday night in Milwaukee, the Cubs’ shortstop performed a new trick that was more Penn & Teller than Criss Angel.
The Brewers’ Billy McKinney hit a slow-bouncing ball into the hole between third and short leading off the bottom of the seventh with the Crew leading, 6-1. Báez calmly gloved the ball but had to hurry his throw with the speedy McKinney hustling down the line.
He must not have had a good grip on the baseball, because his throw sailed a good 30 (40??) feet over first baseman Anthony Rizzo and bounced off the netting protecting the fans. McKinney was credited with an infield single and given second base on the throwing error.
The throw was so wild, so out of character for the Gold Glove-winning shortstop, that he and Rizzo couldn’t hide their laughter. And it didn’t hurt the Cubs, either — they got out of the inning without allowing any runs.