During today’s Boston Red Sox — Tampa Bay Rays game, Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach pulled off a truly bizarre, deranged slide. It sort of comes in three acts, each with its own narrative arc; remarkably ends with Shoppach safe on base; and is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
Deadspin has video of the “slide,” but we’ve broken down the tape frame-by-frame to analyze the critical moments.
2. Act I: Preparing For War
“Hey! Hey guys! I’m trying to steal a base!
Shit… there it is. It’s coming up really fast. What do I do?”
Here’s the first hint of Shoppach’s attempt at a slide; right leg forward, he leans back and looks ready to go. But as you can see, there’s no base in sight, and Shoppach seems to realize this.
So, instead of sliding like a normal person — one leg out, the other tucked close to the body — he just collapses like a sack of bagels.
5. Act II: The “Slide”
THEN decides to stick his leg out. Because of the way he started collapsing, though, his right leg is in a kneeling position, meaning that he looks readier to genuflect than slide.
And he’s still far as hell away from the base. Except now he’s kneeling.
Shoppach appears to realize how terrible of an idea this is at about the same moment he comes to a dead stop.
With his legs coiled under him, he bounces back up to his feet. The “slide” has come to an end.
9. Act III: The Flop
Shoppach never quite stands up straight. Hunched and idle, he ponders his next move.
Which, for some mysterious reason, he decides will be throwing himself at the base head first; not sliding, mind you, but flopping down like a tranquilized bear.
Conveniently, he also collides with Rays shortstop Reid Brignac, who is as confused by this whole mess as anyone else.
After Brignac flounders out of the way, Shoppach furthers his dying lunge for base, bracing for impact at the same time.
Contact with the base comes when Shoppach is face-first lying on the dirt, leg in the air, helmet beginning to tumble off. There is nothing graceful about any of this.
“HEY GUYS I STOLE THIS BASE
LOOK, I HAVE IT RIGHT HERE
GUYS WHERE’S MY HELMET GOING”
Well done, Kelly Shoppach. Well done.