"The Worst Baserunning in the History of the Game"

Year later and thousands of miles away, Ruben Rivera finally reacquainted himself with second base. (AP)

Every Monday at a fine blog called Getting Blanked, Sam Miller puts together an Annotated Box Score, an extensive series of observations and digressions related to a single ballgame. This week's game in question was Sunday night's Yankees-Rangers contest, and Miller's topics included Mike Napoli, Robinson Cano, Mariano Rivera, Elvis Andrus, Alexi Ogando, Yorvit Torrealba and Derek Jeter.

It's worth a look for all that he has to say on those subjects, but perhaps even more entertaining is the tangent to the tangent. In the Rivera item, Miller mentions the great closer signing with the Yankees for a $3,000 bonus in 1990 and putting their scouts onto his 17-year-old cousin, outfielder Ruben Rivera. The younger Rivera, who also signed for $3,000, wound up hitting a disappointing .216/.307/.393 during his nine-season major league career. He wasn't exactly the sharpest spork in the drawer, either, as his 2002 release by the Yankees due to alleged equipment theft from Derek Jeter's locker showed (Rivera's name came up via a second route on Monday in context of Mike Leake's shoplifting arrest).

Most notably, the outfielder will live on in infamy for a straight-outta-Little-League play that Giants announcer Jon Miller termed "the worst baserunning in the history of the game," one in which a hopelessly confused Rivera ran around second base like a headless chicken and was ultimately thrown out at the plate to end the game. The Annotated Box Score has the YouTube clip of the sequence, which is bust-a-gut funny thanks to Miller's call. Meanwhile, an enterprising graphic designer named Justin Bopp has created a 16" x 20" illustration of the play, a print suitable for framing. The diagram of Rivera's path is chuckleworthy in and of itself; it's one of several baseball-themed prints available from Bopp's Etsy store, which is worth a look.

The play in question happened on May 27, 2003; Rivera played just one more inning in the majors the following day before being released by the Giants. He has since continued to float around the game, passing through three other major league organizations (including the Yankees again) without reaching the Show, playing for Panama's 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic teams, and, since 2007, tearing up the Mexican League for the Piratas de Campeche. At the moment, the 37-year-old is hitting .357/.438/765, and probably wondering where the hell he took a wrong turn. It was at second base, Ruben.

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