Before the Oakland A’s final game of the regular season on Sunday, new third baseman Jake Lamb talked about how he hadn’t yet been tested in the Coliseum’s notoriously expansive foul territory. Per John Hickey of Sports Illustrated:
“I know how this works; I’m going to say I haven’t been tested about territory,” Lamb said Sunday morning in a video conference call. “And in the first inning today I’m going to get a popup in foul territory. ... Obviously I’ve noticed all this space, but I haven’t had a ball that I really had to bust for in foul territory. But that being said. I’ll probably get one today.”
Amazingly, Lamb’s prediction came true. In the 1st inning, Kyle Seager lofted a popup over foul ground, far from the hot corner but still barely within play. In any other park it would have been several rows into the stands, but not in the vast no-man’s land in Oakland.
Lamb came through. He raced over, leaned over the tarp, and snatched the ball for an out. It was the latest in a long tradition of Tarp Catches by A’s third basemen, even if it didn’t involve the drama of falling over and completely behind the tarp like some past editions have.
I haven’t seen a video posted of the play yet, so here’s the old-timey version: Several still frames put together in rapid succession! Feel free to print them out and construct a flipbook if you so desire.
A more close-up angle:
The most famous Tarp Catch in recent memory came from Josh Donaldson, and it even inspired a bobblehead giveaway at the time. This one won’t be quite as iconic, but at least for Lamb it signifies the test he was hoping to receive and pass at his new digs, in just his 14th game for his new club and the 12th in which he’s played third base (DH’d twice).
Welcome, officially, to the hot corner at the Oakland Coliseum, Jake! He’s certainly already been acquainted with the bleachers on the offensive side of the ball.