Highlight plays and Gold Gloves
To me, one of the factors that adds to the impact of Curtis Granderson’s incredible catch Friday night was the player it came against. Grady Sizemore has probably had more highlight catches over the course of his career, certainly more memorable catches at the fence or near the track. In fact, one of his highlight catches last year or two years ago was a diving catch going back in the gap that robbed Granderson in Cleveland.
So when somebody mentioned Sizemore to Granderson, his thoughts went to that catch pretty quickly.
“He’s robbed me of a few, too, here in this ballpark,” Granderson said after the game. “That’s the only place we seem to do it. Our ballpark’s so big, you can’t play deep enough, and if we do, we can’t hit it to center field. He’s definitely taken away a lot of balls against our team, and against me in particular. I get the chance to even it out, sure enough. He’s probably going to be trying to get me tomorrow.”
When you think about the ballpark comments, it’s a great point. Most of Granderson’s highlight catches in his career have been sliding or diving grabs in front of him. The one memorable grab at the fence from him in my mind is the catch he made to rob then-Red Sox player Wily Mo Pena on July 8, 2007. You can watch the replay here under the top play link and realize how far he had to run to get to the fence.
It raises an intriguing question that has come up before: How big of a role do highlight plays factor in Gold Glove awards? These are the plays coaches around the league see and hear about the next day in their respective clubhouses, and coaches make the vote. Granderson was arguably been underrated as an outfielder, though his stats took a little bit of a dip last year.
Well, already this season you have the incredible throw to the plate Granderson made on the fly last month, and now this. If Granderson can put up the stats — he put a LOT of emphasis on his defense this spring — will highlight plays become a factor that gets him serious Gold Glove consideration?