Juan Soto forgot two important rules on Sunday: baseball is an extremely weird sport and you should always assume the other team is going to mess it up. The Washington Nationals outfielder was at bat in the fourth inning against the Baltimore Orioles and turned a routine play into a disaster because the other team messed it all up.
It’s a weird play all around, but it starts with Soto popping it up high in front of the catcher. With two outs and a runner on third, the play is likely the end of the inning. But no one on Baltimore can make a play on the ball, and it falls to the infield grass as the runner on third scores.
Except, well, he didn’t. Because Soto wasn’t running to first.
Juan Soto, blunder of the year pic.twitter.com/C8Wh1VRI8m
— The Baseball Newsletter (@bbletter) May 23, 2021
Instead of reaching on an error, Soto was actually thrown out at first for the third out of the inning and taking the run off the board. It’s a huge blunder, one that immediately erased another blunder from the Orioles that made it possible. It’s a lot of bad baseball, all at once. In a way, it’s glorious.
Soto made a mistake here, sure, but you have to feel kind of bad for him here because he’s clearly being tough on himself.
#Nats’ hitting coach Kevin Long was just caught on MASN’s cameras trying to get Juan Soto to stop beating himself up over not running out the infield pop that ended the 4th: pic.twitter.com/uWYPaRndvx
— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) May 23, 2021
He’s certain to be a bit more aggressive on the base paths in the coming weeks and months, but the lesson here is that you should always expect weird baseball to strike. And it’s important to make sure that, when it does, you don’t get caught making a mistake that costs your team.