Pirates utility man Josh Harrison is having himself quite the season. Not only can he fill in almost anywhere the Pirates ask him to on defense, but he's putting up All-Star caliber numbers on offense. After another great game Friday (we'll get to that), he's now hitting .303/.344/.465 with 11 doubles, three triples, five homers, 24 RBI, 27 runs and seven stolen bases.
He's become a bit of a folk hero in Pittsburgh because he does it all. He'll break out the power on occasion, has great speed, makes incredible catches in the outfield, handles the infield fine and just plain makes things more exciting.
Take Friday night. Harrison was able to get to third base with no outs in the bottom of the 10th inning in a tie game with these moves in a rundown:
Now, one might wonder why he wasn't called out for being out of his baseline. To wit, here's the official MLB rule:
Any runner is out when --
(a) (1) He runs more than three feet away from his baseline to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner's baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely;
Harrison clearly was avoiding being tagged twice there and it wasn't to avoid interference. So the question is, was he three feet outside his established baseline on either of those slick maneuvers? I think I'd say yes, but that's beside the point. If it was a bad call, that's the umpire's fault -- not Harrison's. Harrison was electrifying there.
Fortunately for everyone, Harrison never scored that inning, as the Mets recorded three straight outs. I think nearly anyone could agree the game ending with Harrison scoring to end the game in that inning would have at least left a bad taste in the mouths of many.
Instead, the game went to 11 and Harrison did this, with no controversy whatsoever:
As I said in the headline, the legend of Josh Harrison just continues to grow. It might even land him in Minnesota for the All-Star Game.