Every week since the beginning of May, SB Nation's Jon Bois has been beavering away on the thankless task of curating the best sporting animated GIFs. His remit covers all sports, but for the last entry in this series of posts, I have gone through each edition of his 'This Week In GIFs" column, and pulled out the finest baseball-themed ones for your delight. Plus one from ice hockey. And a gymnastics one. Just because...
Mark Reynolds Leaves Buck Showalter Hanging
Mark Reynolds did something good. Not sure what: normally, I'd suggest it was a home-run, but the absence of anyone else to greet him. and Special K's apparent self-disdain suggests it probably wasn't. Something like a productive out, advancing a runner from second to third maybe. That would explain why the old-school Buck Showalter was impressed, but Mark 'K's don't matter' Reynolds wasn't. The finest part is the little "air fist-bump" Buck gives, after he has been left hanging.
Carlos Ruiz Is Magic
I've watched this GIF, literally, a hundred times, and I can't see how it's done. One second, Ruiz is holding the bat, the next second, he's walking back to the dugout. I haven't seen such a great disappearing trick since Mitt Romney made five million Republicans disappear. Normally, when you get such a wild swing that the bat is released, there's usually some degree of contact to distract the viewer, but this was a clean strike three. On the other hand, no-one can accuse Ruiz of carrying his bat back to the dugout.
I Love LA
One of the great things about hockey, is you can get right up close to things, with only a sheet of perspex between you and the players or coaches - I remember being just behind the penalty box for some Phoenix Mustangs games, and that was fun. This was somewhat higher-level, however: Game Four of the Stanley Cup Finals in LA, and New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer found himself...somewhat distracted, shall we say. I can imagined his reaction: "Oh, you said to keep your eye on the puck... My mistake..."
Joel Peralta is hardcore. You can tell that from the way he is pounding his ball. If any man can watch this for 60 seconds straight without wincing... Well, they're clearly wearing a cup. That whimpering sound you hear in the distance is Chris Snyder,
C.C. Sabathia Lets Rip With An Enormous Spidey
Remember the much-loathed advertising plan for the second Spider-man movie, which was going to involve plastering the film's logo all over the bases for actual games? I mean, not little league games - Major League.ones? The idea was eventually scrapped, but there still seems to be a perception on Madison Avenue that baseball fans love them some wall-climbing superhero. Maybe they misunderstood the concept of "web gems." The only way this masterpiece of comic timing could be more childishly amusing, would have been if the pitcher was Bartolo Colon.
Grace, Elegance and...
The purpose of a spotter in gymnastics is to be there to catch the athlete and break their fall if they slip up. I mention this, because the dude here is apparently entirely unclear on the concept, to the point that I did wonder if he was just some guy who wandered in off the street, for nefarious purposes. The best thing about this GIF is, I think, the little leg-kick at the end. The worst? That'd be that the spotter is actually gymnast Nastia Liukin's father. Way to go, Dad!
Rookie of the Year! Rookie of the Year!
Is that Wade Miley sniggering in the distance?
Admit It: You Ducked
Y'know, I'm surprised this kind of thing doesn't happen more often - especially in the majors, where it seems there are cameras popping out of every opening, short of C.C. Sabathia's butt. Given the number of high-velocity missiles flying around during a game, I'd expect sports networks to have a standing contract with one of those windshield replacement companies (who gets the free steaks, I wonder?).
Ok, we've all seen fielders lose bits of equipment before - heck, Joe Saunders efforts in this area made our D-backs year in review, a couple of weeks back. We've even seen them have equipment knocked off with the sheer force of impact - catcher's masks, especially. But have you ever seen a player lose his glove to a line-drive, but still make the out? You have now. Thank you, Chad Jenkins, for introducing us to a genuinely new experience. And for being cool about it. I'd immediately have been running around with my shirt over my head, making "Woooo!" sounds.
Best. Mascot. Ever.
In his wildest dreams, D.Baxter would never be as cool, surreal and...well, so damn mascoty as the Phillie Phanatic. This is one of those GIFs where you feel there must be a story behind it, and can have hours of fun coming up with scenarios that led to the Phanatic doing a cross-body block on three running hot-dogs.
I can only tip my hat to Mr. Bois for the work that went into writing about these all year. If you want more GIF fun, I strongly recommend that you check out his series of posts - even though there are way more NFL and NBA-oriented entries than I'd have included. Still, you can scroll past anything with fat/tall guys bumping into each other to get to the good stuff....
This post is sponsored by Jack in the Box.