Is a walk off Triple a bad play? The coming out party of Rajai Davis with a rare statistical anomaly

Why go?


After watching Rajai Davis win the game with his walk off triple Monday night with 2 strikes and 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth with runners on first and second,  I started asking myself the last time I have ever seen a walk off triple. I haven't.  It's always a walk off double. I think I should have at least herd of one happening before in the last 20 years of Sportscenter, but it's so obscure and random it's not something I would casually remember if another team did it.

Now I confess that I do not know if Davis touched third before Ellis scored, but i don't think he was that close or that  he tagged 3rd before Ellis touched Home. I thought that the game is over the second Ellis touches home and Davis would olny get credit for the last base touched before the end of the game. But the official rules must give the official scorer some leeway and that scorer choose otherwise.

But its possible for a fast runner to get the 270 feet home to 3rd faster than the first-base runner could get 260 feet, 1st to Home with a ten feet lead. If it's possible then walk-off triples must happen on a small but semi-frequent basis. Not that I can find any data on it.  They must be very rare.. So rare that walk off doubles's may happen up to 50 times more offen than triples.  Now take all the walk-off triples ever scored, now put in that it was 2 strikes and 2 outs and see how many of those  have ever happened. We may never see that again in our lifetime on Sportscenter.

I would like to know how often other rare end of game consequences happen and see which one is the rarest.  A walk-off balk. A walk-off steal of home. But there is one other reason why I think a walk-off triple is super-rare. Because it is not a good play. Therefore most players would not try it. And even if they did, the official scorer may not give them the triple so what is the point.  What possible positive outcome was there for Davis to keep running after getting to 2nd? All he can do is get thrown out at 3rd before the run at home scores. Not that that was going to happen in this case but still why go?

To answer my own question,  I can think of few possible outcomes that could be beneficial however unlikely . 

1) If the runner at first was slower, and the ball coming back to the infield was quicker, Davis, thinking that the runner would be thrown out at home, went for third and successfully deaked the first baseman into throwing it to 3rd, too late.

2) The runner from first could also have changed his mind halfway down the third base line on trying to score, and thinking that runner was going to get caught in a pickle,  Davis goes to 3rd, leading to a botched rundown and the player getting home.  I think alot of these scenarios, including the one tonight could be classified more  than one way.  How long does the official scorer have to change his ruling before it becomes, officially, a super rare, walk-off triple?

Ok, now one last illogicall question for you to mull over on this strange play.  Can we agree that the official scorer can make rulings where he can interpret the rulebook in different ways? K, with me so far? Now what if Powell had been on first and Davis had gone for an inside the park HR, touching home plate a split second after Powell, how could it be scored and has something like it ever happened before?

I would like to thank Rajai for winning the game tonight, and doing it in a obscure and exciting way. He has been playing really well as of late and has helped  make the team fun to watch in a down year.  I also think this is the night he has officially got my vote in his bid to be a starting outfielder for the A's moving forward the next year or two.  I have always liked him on the team and saw good value in him being a 4th outfeilder- Defensive replacment- pinch-runner.  But now, dare I say, he is the first one of our young outfeilders to officially break out over the last few years and I don't know if I ever epected that. Nor did I expect to be happy with a breakout not tied to being a HR hitter.

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