Catching a fly ball is a difficult thing to do, no matter the circumstances. Catching a fly ball while looking into thick fog? Well that’s just about impossible, as Washington Nationals outfielder Denard Span found out Thursday night.
Fog wreaked havoc during the Nationals’ game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, and that came to a head in the sixth inning, when Luis Valbuena hit a high fly ball to center field. The fog had been rolling through the North Side for much of the evening, and it finally made a difference on this one fly ball.
As soon as the ball left Valbuena’s bat, Span was lost. The outfielder could be seen putting his hands up as both Washington pitcher Doug Fister and shortstop Ian Desmond fruitlessly attempted to point Span in the right direction. The ball fell in, and Valbuena raced around the bases before sliding into third base with an unconventional triple.
GIF via SB Nation
“There’s nothing you can do to prepare for that,” Span said, according to MLB.com. “I don’t think I’ve ever played in a game with that much fog. You just try to concentrate and try to keep your eye on the ball as long as possible and hope that you can kind of gauge where the guy is gonna be once it’s hit.
“You know what, the ball that I didn’t see, I didn’t know it was even coming at me, to be honest with you. I didn’t know where it was. I finally figured that the ball was coming toward me because everyone was looking at me and pointing in my direction … but it is scary.”
The fog rolled in during batting practice and lingered for much of the game, but according to MLB.com, there were no talks about a delay. The Cubs eventually went on to win 5-3.