A little more than 25 years ago, a baseball was launched off the bat of Carlos Martinez all the way out to the warning track in right field. When it was clear the ball would fall short of the wall, Texas Rangers outfielder Jose Canseco camped under it only to stand there helpless as the ball bounced off his head and landed in the seats for a home run. The baseball world hasn’t stopped laughing about it since.
Now, in 2018, athletes are expected to be better than they ever have been. Today’s players are faster, more coordinated and have so many tools at their disposal to put themselves in positions to succeed that it’s almost shocking when they fail — even in a sport designed for it.
Which is exactly why anything that even resembles the Canseco gaffe is worth stopping and admiring.
It’s also precisely what takes us out to Oakland today, where the Athletics faced the Kansas City Royals under a blinding California sun. There’s added emphasis on the “blinding” part, too, since it made it impossible for Oakland’s outfield to track fly balls. Unfortunately, as Stephen Piscotty found out, that’s exactly how you end up in a Canseco situation.
This is not what they mean when they want you to keep your head in the game. pic.twitter.com/kpwwstrrPY
— Cut4 (@Cut4) June 10, 2018
That one will leave a mark. If not on the noggin, then definitely on the soul. Baseball is a silly game that can toy with even the most self-deprecating players, but when a fly ball bounces off your head there’s just nothing you can do but laugh at yourself.
Unless, of course, you are Jose Canseco, who long ago tired of being mentioned every time a ball bounces off another player’s head.
A ball bounced on my head a million years ago.Find something else to make fun of me about .Time for new material guys. Plenty to pick from
— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) March 24, 2015
He’s not wrong about their being plenty to choose from, but there’s also no way any baseball fan can see a player take a pop fly off his cap and not think about Canseco. It’s his blessing and his curse. And long after Piscotty has shrugged off his error on Sunday, we’ll still remember Canseco for his.
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