The Los Angeles Dodgers are three games into a four-game series against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver, and this start of the season has been anything but ordinary.
After a rocky (no pun intended) Opening Day loss followed by two wins, the Boys in Blue will, at best, take the series after Sunday’s game or, at worst, leave the Mile High City with a series split.
In Game-1, there was a ‘home run that wasn’t,’ when 2019 NL MVP outfielder Cody Bellinger hit a home run that was downgraded to an RBI single. Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was on first-base when Bellinger hit a ball at the fence that appeared, for all intents and purposes, to have been caught by Rockie’s left fielder Raimel Tapia at the wall. While Turner was hightailing it back to first base to tag up, the ball popped out of Tapia’s glove over the fence. Unfortunately, Bellinger could not get Turner’s attention in time before Bellinger was called out for passing Turner (per MLB Rule 7.08(h)). Turner eventually had to go back out and run the bases, which he later said was embarrassing. In his defense, the ball initially appeared to have been caught at the wall.
A rogue grey cat on the field halted play in Game-2. It sprinted around the outfield before stopping to catch its breath and then retrace its way back to the outfield wall, where guards caught it and escorted it off the field. It is now being deemed the “#rallycat” across social media, even garnering many comments and tags featuring known cat-lover Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin.
Not to be outdone, Game-3 took approximately four hours before the Dodgers pulled out a win and was no less bizarre than the two previous games of the series. With Dodgers second baseman Gavin Lux at the plate, play was halted due to the scenic centerfield water fountains gushing in full view from the batter’s box. The plumes of water are normally only on between innings; however, when this particular break was over, the fountains continued to stream water. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts immediately called timeout to have the fountains turned off so Lux could focus on the ball without the distraction of the fountains flowing beneath the batter’s eye.
And the biggest surprise of the game was an in-the-park home run by utility player Zach McKinstry. As of the start of the season, the Dodgers had yet to hit a single home run, despite being loaded with power hitters. All of that changed in Game-3 when McKinstry hit a fly ball to left field off of Rockies right-handerMychal Givens.
In a situation similar to Bellinger’s home run single on Thursday, the ball McKinstry hit was about to go out when Rockies’ left-fielder Raimel Tapia snatched it from over the wall. This time, however, the ball ricocheted back onto the playing field. Since he did not receive a home run signal, from umpires, McKinstry sprinted around the bases to not only collect the Dodgers first home run of the season but his first career home run to boot. Even wackier, it was an in-the-park home run. The last time the Dodgers recorded an inside-the-park home run was on September 18, 2017, by current Dodgers utility player Chris Taylor, and that last rookie whose first career home run was an inside-the-parker was Dodgers Hall of Famer Duke Snider on May 2, 1948.
It has been a bizarre start to the season so far, with only three games under the team’s belt. It begs the question of whether these odd occurrences are related to Coors Field or if this is somehow foreshadowing how the 2021 season will play out? Either way, fans are just relieved to have baseball back, so they will take what they can get, even if that means invoking a rogue Rally Cat in necessary situations.
* * *
Note: In a message on Twitter posted by the Colorado Rockies, the Rally Cat was fine and was being escorted (carried) outside of the park when it jumped out of the guard’s arms, escaping to the service level. It remains to be seen if the cat will make its way back onto the field in future games.
* * * *
Long live the Rally Cat!
* * * * * *