Hot GIF: Yunel Escobar Utilizes “Punch Throw”

A number of people in the sabermetric community have questioned the wisdom of the Braves’ decision last summer to send away a young and talented shortstop in Yunel Escobar for an old and less-talented shortstop in Alex “Sea Bass” Gonzalez.

Though we oughtn’t draw unnecessarily strong conclusions from one isolated incident, the footage you see thoroughly GIF’d and embedded above might, at the very least, point to some issues within the brain part of the Blue Jay shortstop.

Specifically what you’re seeing is an incident from last Thursday’s Pittsburgh-Toronto game in which Escobar mimicked a throw to first but then — kinda blatantly, really — opted to go ahead and punch former teammate Matt Diaz, instead.

As this YouTube footage shows, it’s likely that Escobar was exacting some sort of revenge for a takeout-type slide executed by Diaz the night before; however, there appears to be nothing particularly out of the ordinary about Diaz’s actions.

Friendly punch throw to Alex Remington for heads-up on this.

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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.

19 Responses to “Hot GIF: Yunel Escobar Utilizes “Punch Throw””

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  1. juan pierre's mustache says:

    to be fair, yunel often does look like he has some sort of sidearm/underhand delivery on his throws to first. perhaps he developed it for just this sort of occasion, like pedro’s superupandinside fastball that just “got away” all the time.

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  2. Ryan says:

    What an Asshole.

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  3. Telo says:

    This is awesome.

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  4. danny woytek says:

    I’m surprised we haven’t seen something like this earlier. I consider Yunel a pioneer in the “Shortstops fighting back” for their rights to their legs!
    Viva Yunel!

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  5. OKGOJAYS says:

    Well if you are going to try a take out slide what is to stop a shortstop from intentionally staying in longer and delivering a knee to your head. There is no real reason to slide with your feet up in the air like that except you are trying to make contact with the player to break up the play, maybe it is time for shortstops to break up some heads.
    Viva Yunel!!

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    • Samuel says:

      If you notice, his feet were not really “up” – his knees and shins caught Yunel, but his spikes were carefully away. It was a hard slide, but not a vicious one.

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      • Chris says:

        You’ll notice that Yunel and at his chest and kept himself from punching him in the face. It was a hard punch, but not a vicious one.

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  6. David says:

    what a bitch slide

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  7. Garrett says:

    This guy was a world class arse in Atlanta, that’s why he was shipped. This sort of thing doesn’t surprise anyone who watched him play for the Braves. He’s a poor man’s Hanley Ramirez at best, in the too much of an arsehole to ever amount to anything category.

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    • danny woytek says:

      in the too much of an arsehole to ever amount to 15.2 WAR in just over 4 seasons worth of play.


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      • Temo says:

        Meh, keep him. Not missing him in Atlanta.

        /this is dangerously close to being the Fangraphs side rather than NotGraphs side.

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        • George says:

          Yunel’s got swag, the Braves just couldn’t deal with that aspect of him.

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        • JT Grace says:

          You don’t miss him in Atlanta even though his replacement is one of the worst hitting players in major league baseball??? All a pitcher needs to do is throw an away off speed pitch and he can’t lay off of it. He will swing every time. Alex Gonzalez is pathetic. I would take Yunel’s .290 BA and .380 OBP back in a heartbeat, and send this scrub packing.

          My only problem with Yunel was every time he got a little bruise he would be out of the lineup for 4 – 5 days. He is a wimp, but I would take his flaws over what the Braves now have at shortstop any time.

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  8. Wade8813 says:

    It looks like Diaz is sliding in almost sideways?

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  9. Resolution says:

    As per the Rulebook, Stipulation 401C: If the shortstop can punch the incoming runner back to first base on a fly, and the [punched] runner arrives at first base before the batter reaches first base, the play is to conclude with both players being called out, resulting in a double play.

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  10. phoenix2042 says:

    “Escobar mimicked a throw to first but then — kinda blatantly, really — opted to go ahead and punch former teammate Matt Diaz, instead.”

    this sentence, for some reason, makes me crack up.

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  11. ddriver80 says:

    My guess is he was looking to draw Base runner interference or something

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  12. ddriver80 says:

    Yeah, Matt Diaz was the asshole in this, trying to kick him in the stomach it looks like

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