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2021 Play of the Year: Josh Rojas robs Tatis

The first award of the season goes to Rojas’s grand larceny.

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Firstly, an adjustment to the previously mentioned time-table for the awards. While we’ll still be doing them weekly, the schedule going forward will be Wednesday = nominations thread; Friday = ballot; Monday = winner announced. This is to fit in with regularly scheduled SnakePit stuff like the Round Table.

Anyway, the first award goes, as noted, to Josh Rojas taking away a home-run from Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres. It was quite a tight race, with opinions spread across all six of the candidates. Rojas only needed one-third of the ballots to be victorious, just edging out the combination relay throw against the Rockies, which was named by 28% of the voters. It may not have been the most game-changing of plays - it took place in the eighth inning, with the Padres already 8-3 up - but, in some ways, that just makes Rojas’s effort all the more laudable. It would have been easy to put up a token effort, and save the energy for another time. Maybe in September, as the losses passed 100, he would have?

It was good enough to win the award for Play of the Week from MLB, the first time it had been awarded to any Diamondback, since its inception in 2019. The still (above) does make it look a bit as if Rojas caught it with his eyes closed, but the player says that was not the case. “I swear I saw it the whole way, but I guess I closed my eyes when I hit the wall.” After the game he said key factors to take away and in making the catch were “just timing it, not getting too close to the wall, giving yourself some space. And, I guess, close your eyes. I didn’t know that my eyes closed.” Don’t try that at home, folks. The SnakePit accepts no responsibility... Here are some more thought from Rojas on the play.

“I just knew I was close to the wall, and I knew that I could jump and catch it from where I was at, So I didn’t want to get too close to the wall and get hung up. So I just jumped from where I was and then once I caught it and hit the wall, that’s when I realized it was actually going to be a homer. But off the bat and even tracking it down, I didn’t know if it was going to be gone for sure or not.”
Josh Rojas

Though not everyone was entirely pleased with the catch, Barstool Sports sarcastically saying “Who does Josh Rojas think he is? Robbing us of another awesome Tatis Jr. highlight. Josh Rojas is a fun sucker, plain and simple,” before acknowledging it was, in fact, an “awesome” play. [This was clearly back before Tatis got infected with the dickheadius machadoii virus] Indeed, it has now also been immortalized by Topps on a trading card. Complete with Rojas’s eyes closed.

We’ll be back on Wednesday with nominations for single-game performance of the year. Wonder what might win that? :)