Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Ryan Beil: What's more exciting than a walk-off?

There isn’t anything more exciting in a baseball game than a walk-off win, right?
Is a walk-off the most exciting play in baseball? Vancouver Canadians columnist says it could be...but does have a few other kinds of exciting game moments to consider.

This past Tuesday evening, fans at the Nat were treated to a walk-off win (in extra innings no less) when Estiven Machado hit a double in the bottom of the 10th inning. It was a glorious end to a tight game that had more pitching highlights than offense. 

Anecdotally, I feel like we’ve been gifted a large helping of walk-offs from the C’s this season. I have no hard evidence to back this up other than my cloudy and questionable memory, but it feels like there’s been more than last year. 

Just so we’re all on the same page, the Major League Baseball Glossary defines a walk-off thusly: It occurs when the home team takes the lead in the bottom of the ninth or extra innings. Because the visiting team will not get another turn at bat, the game ends immediately, with the home team victorious.

Fun sidenote: The term walk-off is credited to Hall Of Fame pitcher and moustache god Dennis Eckersley. He used it to describe game-ending home runs that were hit so hard and deep you needn’t even give them a second look as a pitcher. All you had to do was walk off the field. 

Whether it comes by way of a hit, error, walk, balk, sacrifice fly, wild pitch, or a passed ball, there isn’t anything more exciting in a baseball game than a walk-off win. Or is there? I racked my brain and came up with a few ideas that may infuse my veins with more adrenaline if I were to see them happen at the Nat. 

Inside the park home run

A rare and fun play where a batter rounds all four bases for a home run without the ball ever leaving the field of play. This actually happened this year! Dasan Brown made it all the way home when the Dust Devils' outfielder, D’Shawn Knowles, lost a pop fly in the twilight back on August 9. An inside the park home run combines speed, chance, and defensive folly into a perfect little exciting happenstance. 

Home run-robbing catch

Hits and runs are great but I’m a sucker for impeccable defense. When a ball that is destined for the seats is snatched out of the air by an outfielder showing off incredible athletic prowess it always elicits an involuntary and shrill cry of delight from me. And it always will. 

Unassisted triple play

 A unicorn or white whale of a play. An unassisted triple play occurs when one player makes all three outs in one play with no assists from their teammates. In all of Major League history, only 15 players have made this happen. That makes it more rare than a perfect game. Seeing this happen in the wild, live and in person, would surely allow me to shuffle off this mortal coil a happy and fulfilled human being. Here’s hoping.

That’s my little list. What’s your little list? Are there plays I didn’t mention that get your mojo pumping? Let me know. As always, you can find me at the Nat.