#1, Little League Division:
Occasionally in non-professional games, a pitch will be thrown above or behind the batter, and the ball will incidentally hit the bat and land in foul territory. This is seen as a lucky break for the pitcher, as the pitch was destined to be called a ball, but instead goes as a strike, without the batter swinging at the pitch. However, at a recent little league game in Ohio, a pitch was thrown behind the batter that hit the bat and landed in fair territory. Most everyone at the field believed it was a foul ball. Fortunately, that population did not include the umpire who, after several seconds of silence, informed the 9-11 year old players that the ball was in play. The batter reached first, completely unintentionally obtaining a single.
#1, MLB Division:
Felix Hernandez is a 22 year old pitcher for the Seattle Mariners. He made his debut at age 19 and is expected to be one of the best pitchers of this generation. However, playing in the American League, he has few opportunities to take a turn at bat. In fact, he only has two hits in his career. (It’s also likely that he had no hits in the minor leagues.) The first came on June 10, 2007, when he reached first safely on a bunt that was presumably meant to sacrifice a runner to second base. The second hit came on Monday night, facing Johan Santana, the best pitcher in baseball over the last 5+ years, at Shea Stadium, a park that supressed home runs by 10% in the 2007 season. In the second inning, Hernandez came to the plate, with two outs and the bases loaded; there was no chance he would be bunting. Instead, the budding superstar hit a fastball, later described by Santana as out of the strike zone, over the right-center fence for a grand slam.
And that, my friends, is what happened on my last visit to Shea Stadium.