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Livan Hernandez's adventurous out

The Nationals' 3-2 loss to the Mets today included one of the more bizarre outs of their season - one in which Livan Hernandez nearly threw a live ball into the stands and recorded the final out an inning while arguing with an umpire.

The play began with R.A. Dickey - who had singled - on first with two outs in the fifth inning. Luis Hernandez dribbled a ball down the first base line, and Livan Hernandez scurried over, scooped the ball and tagged Luis Hernandez. "I think I hit him really good," Hernandez said. Believing the inning was over, he walked toward the dugout.

"I almost threw the ball in the stands," Hernandez said. "The I see everybody screaming and booing the umpire."

First base umpire Mike DiMuro had called Luis Hernandez safe. Livan Hernandez looked at DiMuro, his arms extended and palms up, and yelled, "Safe?!" He began to plead his case, still only a few steps away from the dugout. Dickey thought he could sneak to third base, and with Hernandez talking to DiMuro, Dickey bolted.

Hernandez looked over saw him. Without even stopping his verbal protest of DiMuro, Hernandez casually whipped the ball across the diamond. For some reason, he had been holding the ball with his sinker grip - "I'm lucky I didn't throw the ball into the stands," Hernandez said.

But the ball zipped right to Ryan Zimmerman, who tagged Dickey with plenty of time to spare. In an instant, Hernandez had turned a blown call into the third out. And And then Hernandez went back to arguing, arms out again in disbelief that they didn't think he had tagged Luis Hernandez to begin with.

In his typically nonchalant way, Hernandez looked as if he had practiced that play - tag, walk to the dugout, argue with the umpire, don't stop arguing as you throw it, get the out - hundreds of times. Maybe other pitchers could have made the play. None of them could have made it quite like Livo.

"It came out perfect," he said.

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 8, 2010; 4:55 PM ET
 
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Next: More hard luck for Livan Hernandez

Comments

Good point, Adam. Livo is a remarkable athlete. Now, if big Adam re-signs with Washington, Livo should play racquetball with him in the offseason to sharpen Big Country's reflexes.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | September 8, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Yep, saw that play. Classic Livo. Unfortunately, the game result was classic Nats.

And on another subject, will somebody tell Ray Knight to cut his blathering by about half, please I would like to hear the game called once in awhile, but Ray keeps talking over Carpenter, often while belaboring a point he has been pontificating about for 3 minutes already. He has some interesting things to say, but he need not say them ten times over. Make a point, move on. We are not stupid. We get it. Well, sometimes anyway...

Posted by: NatsFly | September 8, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I'll have to check BBTN or SC for the video.

Posted by: PattyinSJ | September 8, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Was an enjoyable play. And thank goodness Zimm had his head in the game to make the catch and tag.

Posted by: markfromark | September 8, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

The video is on the Nats website. You can't tell from the video whether Livo tagged the batter or not, but if he did, the ump blew the play TWICE, because the batter NEVER touched first. In fact, as he goes past Livo, as Livo swipes at him, he eases up and you can see from the way he stops hustling that he believes he's been tagged. But again, THE BATTER NEVER TOUCHED FIRST BASE!

Posted by: gilbertbp | September 8, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Mark. Zim looked terrific. Between he and Livo, it really did look like something they practiced regularly. If it had been me at 3B I would have made the dumbest highlights reel by watching a bug and getting hit in the noggin with the ball. Sadly, I shall never make millions playing MLB. Or doing anything else, either.

Posted by: NatsFly | September 8, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Two things.

Thing One: Livan tagged him. In one of the replay angles shown during the game, you can see the back of the runner's jersey "deform" when Livo applies the tag with his glove.

Thing Two: I think it was Ray Knight who pointed out that the runner ran out of the baseline to avoid the tag, at which point he should have been called out anyway.

Thing Three: Would have been fun to see the Livo/Umpire confrontation escalate, if only to watch a hustling Pat Listach enter from stage left and dive on the umpire.

Posted by: Ted_Striker | September 8, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Good call NatsFly. I like Ray, I agree with most of his takes on how to play the game and he knows everything there is to know about the game. And he's very likable. I'd love to have 5 or 6 beers w/ him and hear all his stories. But, he just doesn't know how much to say or not say on the air. I think he's a great talk show guest but not a great color guy.

Posted by: Avar | September 8, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Mark. Zim looked terrific. Between he and Livo, it really did look like something they practiced regularly. If it had been me at 3B I would have made the dumbest highlights reel by watching a bug and getting hit in the noggin with the ball. Sadly, I shall never make millions playing MLB. Or doing anything else, either.

Posted by: NatsFly | September 8, 2010 7:22 PM
__________________________

@NatsFly: there's always the lottery...

Posted by: TimDz | September 8, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Zimm's head is the game in his sleep. He knows where all runners in baseball are in every game are at every moment ever.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | September 8, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Just terrible umpiring on that call. The runner surrendered - he didn't even try to tag the base. On top of that, he left the lane, which makes it useless if you can run out of it by that much while avoiding a tag and still be safe. Awful umpiring. Even considering that Livo tagged him.

Posted by: comish4lif | September 8, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Livo is awesome.

Posted by: samantha7 | September 8, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who has been watching Livo for years is not surprised. The man defies description.

Posted by: paulkp | September 9, 2010 1:24 AM | Report abuse

This was a nice play, but I remain partial to the play Livo's brother once made where he threw his entire glove to first base, with the ball stuck inside, to get the out on a ground ball.

In other news, Boswell's column today makes me sick. Boz better be wrong. The last thing this organization should be doing is creating more holes to fill and turning off their dwindling fanbase even more.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | September 9, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

You occasionally see a fielder make two errors on one play. But the ump made three on Livo's:

1) Livo tagged the runner, but the ump missed it;
2) The runner ran outside the baseline and the ump didn't call him out;
3) The runner never touched first, and the ump called him safe.

Good thing they don't have box scores for the umpires.

Posted by: gilbertbp | September 9, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Funny point, Gilbertbp:

Three errors in a play is quite a dubious distinction (Tommy John is one of a few players to have done it). Every day in baseball, you get a chance to see something new.

One minor point (which I recently learned from a local umpire):

The 1st-base umpire called the runner safe only on the TAG PLAY. That was proper -- although mistaken -- umpiring, because the tag play itself required a call. He was silent on the matter of whether the runner was safe at the base itself, which is also proper (if the fielders and manager aren't astute enough to notice a runner has missed a base, it's not the umpire's job to point that out to them).

However, from the video on the Nats' website, it appears as if the 1st-base umpire NEVER EVEN LOOKED to see whether the runner touched first base (which he didn't, as many commenters have pointed out).

Posted by: daveraff | September 9, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Isn't the proper call when a tag is missed but the runner has not touched the base to make no call at all -- i.e., the play is still ongoing? Safe means safe, I thought.

Posted by: Section222 | September 9, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

The correct mechanic on any play is to make no call until there's a call to be made. No runner is safe until he beats the tag to the bag. And no runner is out until tagged.

So, I don't think the ump made the right in signaling safe on the tag.

Nevertheless, a bad call on multiple accounts by the ump.

Posted by: comish4lif | September 9, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

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