There Akil Baddoo was, minding his own business and with his plums in full bloom, when he attempted to steal second base in the second inning of Monday's Tigers-Guardians tilt. He surely had no intentions of putting his goolies in the line of fire. But Cleveland catcher Mike Zunino had other ideas about Baddoo's chicken tenders.
Zunino's throw was slightly off—if the target was Andres Giménez's glove. If the target, instead, was Baddoo's coin purse, it was a laser-guided strike.
The details of the play were confusing at first: Gimenez holding onto the baseball, yet Baddoo somehow also holding onto his baseballs. How'd they turn the unassisted triple play? Replay soon answered. Zunino's rock hammer of a throw had cracked Baddoo's stones, and bounced off said dangly bits directly into Gimenez's glove.
"I felt like I needed air,” Baddoo said of getting drilled in the whirligigs. “It hit me in an uncomfortable spot. [Ed. note: He means the twig and berries.] Just needed to catch my breath a little bit."
If you're wondering why Baddoo's bouillon cubes were exposed to the open air, the vast majority of non-catchers at the major-league level no longer wear a cup to protect their whim-whams, either out of comfort or machismo. Most days, the clappers are safe. Most days. But you can't make baseball without breaking a few huevos.