Unfortunately for the Cincinnati Reds and their fans, the team has by far the highest staff ERA in the majors at 5.24, a whole 0.28 runs higher than the next-worst team. Fortunately for those who love watching Billy Hamilton play center field—which should be just about anyone with eyes and a rudimentary knowledge of baseball—that means lots of opportunities to watch the speedster do his thing.
Two such opportunities during the Reds’ Tuesday-night matchup with the San Diego Padres yielded some amazing Hamilton catches.
The first was the most impressive. In the third, Padres second baseman Carlos Asuaje bashed a drive to the center field fence. Showing off his blinding speed, Hamilton recovered from a bad beat then catapulted himself into the wall and extended his left arm to make the catch with his back to the infield.
— MLB (@MLB) August 9, 2017
Hamilton said his collision wit the fence would have hurt a lot more had he not caught the batted ball. Instead, he had a laugh with right fielder Jesse Winker.
“It’s a different story if I miss it. If I missed it, I would still be laying down there hurting and everything,” Hamilton said. “When you catch it, that feeling goes away. … It’s one of those plays you don’t expect to make every night. I actually thought it was gone at first. That’s why I had to kind of react to it and come back to the left side. … I thought it was going to be way further than what is was. So I had to make an adjustment and make a play. It was fun.”
Asuaje was sure he had an extra-base hit in the bag.
“I hit it, and I see him turn his back right away. He’s running back and I see him slow down a bit,” Asuaje said. “I’m like ‘OK, either it’s over the fence or he’s going to rob this.’ I just kept going just in case. I saw him hit the wall. I didn’t see him come down with it. When I saw the replay, I was like, ‘That’s unbelievable, an unbelievable catch.'”
Three innings later, Billy Hamilton robbed Asuaje again.
“I saw him chasing it, he laid out and the ball goes right in his glove,” Asuaje said after his team’s 7-3 victory. “I was just like, ‘Eh, it’s not my day, I guess.'”