Bryce Harper was at second base, or a few steps off it, actually, after his one-out double off San Francisco Giants' right-hander Yusmeiro Petit in the seventh inning of Saturday afternoon's game in Nationals Park.
Washington's 22-year-old slugger was casually chatting with San Francisco shortstop Brandon Crawford when Giants' center fielder Gregor Blanco began running, then sprinting in behind him from center field.
Wilson Ramos, who'd just stepped into the batter's box yelled Harper's name and motioned towards center. One of the Nationals' two coaches (from first or third) began yelling as well, "Harp, Harp, Harp!"
Realizing something was up, Harper hustled back to second as Petit threw to Blanco just as the outfielder arrived at the bag and tried to apply the tag, but their elaborate ruse failed to catch the runner, though it was a unique attempt, in what was then a 6-1 game in the Nationals' favor.
"I don't know if I've seen that one," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said after the game.
"Hey, if you catch somebody napping, it's a play that you can run and fortunately [Harper] was on it and got back in time."
Williams was asked about the fact that Crawford, a teammate of Harper's from the Arizona Fall League, was distracting the Nationals' outfielder, and asked for his thoughts on using a play while trailing by five runs.
"Again, I've never used it, so I don't know," he said. "I can't speak to it. But if you can catch somebody napping out there then it's a good play to use."
"We'd have had him if Petit had recognized it a little sooner," Giants' skipper Bruce Bochy said after his team dropped their second straight in D.C. and fourth straight overall.
"But you give Gregor credit, he's still going all out, I know it's a baserunning mistake, but you want the guys who play hard for nine, you don't care what the score is. That's a credit on his part that he saw that. I thought that we had him, we just took a little long to get rid of it."
"I saw him and thought, ‘Why not take my chance?’" Blanco told reporters including San Francisco Gate writer Henry Schulman. "'I think a good throw might have gotten him."
As Schulman noted, however, the effort and ingenuity was all for naught in the end. Even if they had caught Harper sleeping, the play was dead since Petit had called for a new ball between batters and time was called.
Fun to watch anyway though...