The Tampa Bay Rays got the Dodgers with the hidden ball trick more than a week ago. Evan Longoria put the tag on Juan Uribe who took a small lead from third base.
So how did it work? How was the baseball able to be thrown from first base to third base without anyone on the Dodgers seeing it?
The first reason it worked was because when a batter gets out, the catcher throws to the third baseman who throws to another position player and so on. It’s a pattern that people can follow. After seeing the same thing happening so many times, that pattern was expected to always happen. We are creatures of habit.
When the first baseman got the baseball, he threw it to the shortstop which was different. Loney, the first baseman, usually throws the ball to the pitcher. Then, the shortstop throws to Longoria, the third baseman.
Another reason the trick was executed perfectly was because it wasn’t obvious. The Rays players threw the baseball casually.
Throwing the baseball casually prevented the Rays from rushing the play. If Loney threw the baseball as hard as he could at the shortstop, Uribe would have seen it. Also, if Loney decided to throw the baseball right to Longoria, Uribe would have definitely noticed that something was going on. The Rays were patient throughout the entire play.
Finally, the umpire is the person who calls a person safe or out. Before Longoria applies the tag to Uribe, he makes sure the third base umpire sees the baseball in his glove. Then, he tags out Uribe who is called out by the umpire.
The Dodgers ended up winning that game 5-0, but the Rays pulled off quite the trick. Uribe and the Dodgers were able to laugh about it at the end of the game.