Nate Schierholtz got fans all aflutter when he picked a one-hop-off-the-wall hit by Gerardo Parra and then gunned Parra out at second base for a pretty important out.
It seemed like a play that was partially luck and partially Schierholtz just straight-up gas-canning Parra. But it definitely got the respect it deserved.
Bruce Bochy called it "as good as I've seen." Catcher Eli Whiteside claimed to have watched the play "three times" on TV.
Schierholtz was a little more humble.
"Off the bat, I knew I didn't have a play on it," Schierholtz said. "Luckily, it bounced right into my glove."
But was it luck that caused Schierholtz to get the bounce off the right-field wall?
Or is there some secret method he uses to keep that rifle correctly sighted? Well, based on what Buster Olney dug up recently, it sure seems like the latter, and -- frankly -- it's pretty fascinating.
Apparently, Schierholtz and Aaron Rowand (see, he's good for something!) get loose and then "pretend to throw out runners with one-hop throws." The pair plays a game in which they take turns whipping the ball 150 feet away from second base, where a "perfect throw" counts as an out and anything less equates to a runner being safe.
For those wondering, "perfect throws" are constituted by a throw that involves a one-hop throw or the other player not having to move off the bag. Any movement off the bag means the player was safe.
That's not all that Schierholtz does, though. The outfielder also uses batting practice as a way of practicing his reads off the wall. Rather than using the time with a coach who's got a fungo bat to practice those reads, Schierholtz is out there hustling while his teammates are raking off the weird walls of AT&T Park.
It's an incredible amount of preparation for a play that doesn't really occur that often, at least in terms of getting a hop and getting a runner who wants a look at second base on a hustle play.
But when it does, it works pretty well. Which is probably why Parra turned to Schierholtz after the play and simply mouthed "Wow."
Which is more or less the same thing we all said, too.