Wednesday, August 24, 2011
John McDonald's Top 10 Defensive Gems
By Ian Hunter
During his time in Toronto, he was known as the human highlight reel. Every time John McDonald took the field, you knew you were in for one heck of a show.
It was always a treat to watch John McDonald in action, whether it was at third base, shortstop, or even second base. No matter what position he played on the infield, his defense was always impeccable.
So it seems only fitting to honour John McDonald by looking back as his Top 10 Defensive Gems. Unfortunately, the MLB footage only goes back as far as 2008, as there were a few other plays that stand out in my mind (namely his diving catch into foul ground from 2007).
Despite that, there were ample highlight reel plays to choose from. And as difficult as it was, I think I've compiled the 10 best defensive plays from John McDonald's career with the Blue Jays.
10.) June 29, 2008 vs. Atlanta Braves
In 2008, you'd be hard pressed to find a better defensive duo of the left infield than John McDonald and Scott Rolen. As the video demonstrates, even if one ever got past Rolen, Johnny Mac was there to pick up the slack.
9.) September 9, 2009 vs. Minnesota Twins
John McDonald is the definition of a "pitcher's best friend", and nobody can vouch for that more than Roy Halladay. In this play, McDonald demonstrates his range and throws from his knees to get the out at first base.
8.) August 28, 2008 vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Not every play that John McDonald was involved in was a thing of beauty, but he got the job done. Although he didn't have time to grab this one, Johnny Mac's glove did the work of fielding and throwing to get the force out.
7.) August 2, 2009 vs. Oakland A's
Again, we have another quintessential John McDonald flip play to the bag, but this one was even more impressive. The quickness in which he's able to get to the ball allows Aaron Hill to turn the double play. Bonus points!
6.) September 21, 2010 vs. Seattle Mariners
When a baseball comes screaming down the line, you better be ready to grab it. Johnny Mac reacts quickly and snags this liner down the third base line and robs a base hit and a run away from the Mariners.
5.) September 6, 2009 vs. Kansas City Royals
With Marco Scutaro and Aaron Hill handling most of the middle infield duties, John McDonald only played 73 games in 2009. But what time Johnny Mac did get there, he always made the most of his opportunities on the diamond.
4.) April 10, 2011 vs. Boston Red Sox
This one should still be fresh in everyone's mind; it was the ball in foul territory that John McDonald nearly overran, but at the least second made an adjustment and leapt to grab it in foul ground.
3.) April 21, 2010 vs. Kansas City Royals
With so many Johnny Mac patented scoops in the Top 10, I'm beginning to think John McDonald really enjoyed playing with those tiny plastic shovels in the sandbox as a child. Another timeless defensive gem here that we'll see on Blue Jays highlight reels for years.
2.) July 11, 2008 vs. New York Yankees
This one could just as easily been number one, but it was more of a team effort between Marco Scutaro and John McDonald. And you know it's a defensive gem when even Roy Halladay shows his admiration in the way of a subtle smile.
1.) August 26, 2009 vs. Tampa Bay Rays
The funny thing about this play is had John McDonald caught the line drive outright, it would not been as impressive. The fact he knocked the ball down mid-air, found it, and threw across the diamond from his knees in time makes it all that more dramatic and exciting to watch.