Zack Greinke can recall diving exactly once on a baseball field. All he remembered Tuesday was that it was on a bunt attempt by Gerald Laird, maybe in 2009, and it didn’t end well for him or the Kansas City Royals.
After some digging, we believe the play occurred in the second inning of a game between the Royals and Detroit Tigers on July 8, 2009. Josh Anderson was on second base, having hit a ground-rule double. Laird attempted to bunt Anderson to third base but popped the ball up toward the pitcher’s mound.
Greinke dove for the ball and missed. He tried throwing to first base to retire Laird, but Laird wound up with a single. Since there’s no video on YouTube or MLB.com, we’ll rely on this descriptive quote from Greinke, courtesy of that night’s Associated Press game story: “That was a stupid play, because it was a terrible bunt. If I catch that, it is a double play, and even then, I made a five-hop throw to first.”
On Tuesday, Greinke said that he could have caught the ball, and turned the double play, if he didn’t dive.
“I feel at least 90 percent of all dives are unneeded,” he added.
Why is all this relevant? Well, Greinke is under strict orders not to dive tonight when he returns from a fractured clavicle to start against the Washington Nationals. The pitcher assured Dodgers manager Don Mattingly that this wouldn’t be a problem, and the play from four years ago is a large reason why.
Also, it was satisfying to uncover the dive Greinke was referring to, like the guy who figured out what day Ice Cube was rapping about in the song “It Was a Good Day.”
Some Hump Day bullet points: