Baez play was once-in-a-lifetime, but Pirates manager Shelton accepts blame

  • Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton took the blame for his team messing up the Javy Baez baserunning escapade Thursday.

    Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton took the blame for his team messing up the Javy Baez baserunning escapade Thursday. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 5/28/2021 5:02 PM

Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton has a tough job to begin with. The Gurnee native and Warren High School graduate is leading a team that's enduring a deep rebuild.

Not only that, the Pirates are without their top prospect. Ke'Bryan Hayes homered on opening day at Wrigley Field, injured his wrist the next day and hasn't played since.

 

Needless to say, being on the other side of Javy Baez' crazy baserunning play Thursday wasn't much fun.

"That's on me," Shelton said after the game, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "We have to know how to execute that. The bag hasn't moved in 140 years. So, again, our guys have got to know the rules. That's my fault."

Of course, it's not always possible to prepare for something no one has ever seen before.

"It's more of a once-in-a-lifetime thing," Shelton said. "We've got a ton of years of experience in our dugout. I asked (third base coach) Joey (Cora) and (coach Glenn Sherlock) if they've ever seen that before, and they said no.

"As much as it stinks, it's a talking point. It's a teaching point. We can't chase the guy. We've got to go touch the bag."

That's certainly true. Pirates first baseman Will Craig, who was playing in his 15th major league game, chased Baez back toward home plate, when simply touching first base would have ended the inning, since there were two outs.

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"There should have been eight of us on the field yelling to just go step on first," pitcher Tyler Anderson said. "Or anything, you know? That's a whole team thing right there."

At least Pirates radio announcer Joe Block had a memorable description. When the play ended, he said, "The calliopes can be heard from here to Sewickley."

That's Sewickley, Pa., a suburb situated on the Ohio River.

• Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls

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