3. Javier Baez’s walkoff hit on Opening Day
Do you remember when we had hope? Hope that the Detroit Tigers would actually be competitive? Those were the days, huh?
It was a disappoiting first year in a Tigers uniform for Javier Baez. There was simply too much bad Javy and not enough good Javy. But good Javy managed to show up on Opening Day.
The Tigers were down 4-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth against the Chicago White Sox. Their closer, Liam Hendriks, had just entered the game. Eric Haase came up to bat with one out, worked a 3-2 count, and crushed a 98 mph fastball coming in on his hands into the seats in left field to tie the game.
Later in the inning, with two outs, Austin Meadows tripled into the gap in right-center. Javy came up to the plate next, and on an 0-1 pitch, drove the ball to right field. In a strange turn of events, the ball bounced off the wall, into the glove of White Sox outfielder A.J. Pollock, out of his glove, then back into it once again for what was orginally ruled as the third out of the inning.
A.J. Hinch challenged the play, and replay showed that the ball did indeed hit the wall before landing in Pollock’s glove, giving the Tigers the 5-4 victory. This led to one of, if not the most memorable postgame interviews of the season.
Baez’s comments here obviously didn’t age well. It definitely wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t fun either…like at all. What was fun was this game, and that ending. Ah, good times…good times.