Baseball is a magical game sometimes, one where the best athletes in the world can perform awe-inspiring feats of skill and ability.
Then there's this two-error "Yakety Sax" routine from Monday's Yankees-Orioles game that makes you question you just how good these guys are at their jobs.
The scene: Runners on first and third, one out, Martin Prado at the plate for the Yankees, Bud Norris on the hill for the Orioles. On a 1-1 pitch, the Yankees put on a hit-and-run, only that message apparently never got to Prado, who never even tries to make contact with the inside pitch. Catcher Caleb Joseph fires to second, where Baltimore catches Chase Headley in a rundown between first and second. So far, so good for the O's, right?
As Headley dithers between bases, Carlos Beltran at third makes a break for home. Steve Pearce alertly fires the ball over to Manny Machado at third base, and this is when things take a turn for the bloopers reel. Machado turns toward home, winds up and fires an absolute missile ... that pings straight off Beltran's back for error number one.
Remember Headley, last seen caught between first and second, as sure an out as could be? He's now on his way to third base, as the ball rolls past a sliding Beltran at home plate. Norris gets to it, then flips to Joseph ... or at least, somewhere in Joseph's general direction, as the ball once again goes skipping away.
As all this happens, Headley is now on his way home. Again, it's worth noting he started this whole endeavor in a rundown between first and second, a dead duck in the eyes of the game. As Headley comes home, Machado races in and picks up the loose ball, then throws a strike to Norris covering at home ... who promptly drops the ball as he tries to apply the tag. That's error No. 2.
That put the Orioles out of their self-induced misery but not before the damage, and embarrassment, was done.
The final aftermath: Two runs, two errors and a shot of Buck Showalter sitting in the Orioles' dugout, quiet yet probably consumed by rage. As to how you score that play: You scrawl "I give up" on your scorecard.
The Orioles did get the last laugh, however, as they ultimately won 11-3.